The real revolutionary legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Civil Rights leader has become an icon. But many of us only know bits and pieces of his true legacy.

Tonight FOX 2 takes a closer  look and delves into what Dr. King stood for.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most revered figures in American history and perhaps the most misremembered.

Many know him best for his "I have a dream" speech and chances are we may even have that wrong.

"The original name of the speech was 'Canceled check' it wasn't even 'I have a dream,'" said Michael Imhotep.

Michael Imhotep, founder of the African-American History Network dished on the origin of one of America's most famous speeches.

King initially railed on racism, poverty, police brutality and voter suppression issues as relevant today as they were some 50 years ago.

"The main crux of the speech was holding America accountable for a promissory note issued to us about 100 years ago and was marked insufficient funds," Imhotep said.

It's the kind of King that many may be unfamiliar with.

"He talked about economic empowerment supporting African-American owned institutions," Imhotep said. "The real King was someone who was a revolutionary, a man who was fighting for African people."

Far more than a mild campaigner for a color blind society, King was a preacher with a prophetic edge who:

-Condemned  the Vietnam War and aspects of American foreign policy

-Expressed disappointment in the "white moderate" and their aversion to support the Civil Rights movement in his letter from a Birmingham jail.

-He called not just for desegregation but racial justice.

FOX 2: "Was Dr. King for reparations?"

"I don't remember him using the term reparations, but he would be for some type of compensation," Imhotep said. "It doesn't have to be totally monetary, but some type of compensation to help rectify 246 years of slavery, decades of Jim Crow segregation, etc."

In a speech, King said.

"When we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check," he said.

That was King's poor people campaign. An effort at the tail end of his life as public sentiment against him mounted.

According the last Gallup measure of King in 1966, only 32 percent of Americans viewed him favorably and 63 percent did not.

He was assassinated two years later in Memphis, Tennessee.

FOX 2 talked with Detroit News columnist and host of the Redline, Bankole Thompson about how a man so loathed became a man so loved.

"Some people want to be comfortable and the best way to do that is to remove that edge to Dr. King," Thompson said. "Let's remove the principled Dr. King, and replace him with someone that is soft and malleable. The Dr. King that we can put anything in."

The "I Have a Dream" speech was first delivered in Detroit at Cobo Hall after more than 100,000 people marched down Woodward Avenue in the Great Walk to Freedom.
 


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