Martin Luther King Jr. Day, still underway, is now the holiest day of the Left’s Liturgical Year (although Jan 6 is coming up fast). Yet the civic religion that canonized King is rooted in myths, half-truths, and outright lies, most notably concerning what Founding Americans such as Thomas Jefferson believed about the race question. King wanted “Civil Rights,” which turn out to mean Quotas, Set-Asides and Reparations a.k.a. Racial Socialism. Jefferson, like most Americans at the time and thereafter, wanted blacks “colonized” a.k.a resettled in another country. And that’s just the beginning of the problems with King and his “legacy.”
In his most famous speech, the plagiarizedI Have A Dream oration at the Lincoln Monument on August 28, 1963, for instance, King advocated equalitarian pieties that he actually opposed, as I’ve explained here before. But he also included ridiculous claims about the American Founding:
So we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
(By the way, I believe one of King’s speechwriters stole the phrase “ I have a dream” from recently departed composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021), who wrote it as a phrase running through the hit 1959 Broadway musical and 1962 film adaptation, Gypsy—” I had a dream, a wonderful dream”, etc. [Some People lyrics, YouTube]).
But as for “all men are created equal,” neither Jefferson nor any of the other Founding Fathers ever meant that to apply to blacks. Otherwise, they would have abolished slavery in the new federal Constitution. Jefferson was writing about equality before the law among whites of different social classes, in contrast to the hereditary privilege that ruled in England and Europe.
Jefferson’s thoughts on race have been either butchered or suppressed, and his remarkable life now reduced to the Sally Hemings Hoax.
Consider the Jefferson Memorial. As the remarkable but needless to say unsung Carleton Putnam pointed out sixty years ago, in a book vainly opposing the integration mania:
The Jefferson Memorial has the following quotation from the third president inscribed on the marble interior: “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people [the Negroes] shall be free.” Jefferson did not end those words with a period, but with a semicolon, after which he wrote: “nor is it less certain that the two races equally free, cannot live under the same government.”
Jefferson continued at greater length in his Notes on the State of Virginia:
To emancipate all slaves born after passing the act. [A 1784 proposal for emancipation of slaves in Virginia]The bill reported by the revisors does not itself contain this proposition; but an amendment containing it was prepared, to be offered to the legislature whenever the bill should be taken up, and further directing, that they should continue with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up, at the public expence[sic], to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniusses[sic],[i.e. according to their native abilities] till the females should be eighteen, and the males twenty-one years of age, when they should be colonized such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of household and of the handicraft arts, feeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, &c. to declare them a free and independent people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they shall have acquired strength; and to send vessels at the same time to other parts of the world for an equal number of white inhabitants; to induce whom to migrate hither, proper encouragements were to be proposed. It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race. — To these objections, which are political, may be added others, which are physical and moral….”
Among the Romans emancipation required but one effort. The slave [because Roman slaves were white] when made free, might mix with, without staining the blood of his master. But with us a second is necessary, unknown to history. When freed, [the slave] is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture. [Emphasis and links added]
[M]ost of whom were working towards the same goal. Except for a few radical egalitarians such as William Lloyd Garrison, abolition was never about racial equality, and abolitionists opposed miscegenation.
Henry Ward Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, expressed the majority view: “Do your duty first to the colored people here; educate them, Christianize them, and then colonize them.”
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
There are those who are asking the devotees of Civil Rights, “When will you be satisfied?”
We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. …
Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. …
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
In the past, I heard and read those words with white ears and eyes, and supposed King to be talking about vicious, racist, white policemen. But now I hear and read with black ears and eyes. For King, “police brutality” meant white policemen enforcing the law against black criminals—including King’s followers.
King always hoped for what he called “police brutality,” and was disappointed when the police did not take his bait.
Usually, the media covered for King, and indeed some members of the press, such as New York Post Editor James Wechsler, were among his financial backers. But in 1965, the New York Times did report that when police ordered King’s followers to cease and desist from their illegal march, the marchers refused to break up and continued. Police and local volunteers beat the marchers back with clubs, and the marchers attacked them with rocks and bottles.
And King never believed in “colorblindness,” despite what the worthies of Conservatism, Inc. tell us every January 17. That was just a pull-quote that his speechwriters (variously identified as Clarence B. Jones, Vincent Harding, or Stanley Levison) had written for his allies in the press.
For years, I had assumed that President Lyndon B. Johnson had perverted President Kennedy’s policies regarding Affirmative Action, welfare (Reparations), and the Vietnam War. I have since concluded that Johnson did exactly as Kennedy would have done had he not been assassinated.
King’s speech at the Lincoln Monument was part of a campaign for the U.S. Civil Rights Act. He had demanded the act from JFK; JFK had promised to deliver it.
If the Senator can find in Title VII … any language which provides that an employer will have to hire on the basis of percentage or quota related to color, race, religion, or national origin, I will start eating the pages one after another, because it is not in there.
Humphrey was right about the lack of quota language in the bill, yet everyone in America’s corrupt Ruling Class elite knew that the bill was a quota bill. King got exactly what he had demanded. With time, political leaders also pickpocketed white taxpayers to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars in what amount to racial reparations.
White “conservatives” and Republicans have for years clung desperately to that “content of their character” pull quote to support their delusion that King believed in race-blind merit. For instance, Christopher Rufo, who has commendably exposed the burgeoning use of Critical Race Theory in public schools and at American corporations to teach anti-white hate (but has pre-emptively blocked VDARE.com on Twitter), believes CRT violates King’s “vision” [Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It, Imprimis, March 2021].
No, it doesn’t. It’s exactly what King would want. Not equality, but supremacy. Black supremacy.
But speaking of equality, a few facts with which VDARE readers are familiar:
Whites have an average IQ of 100; blacks in America have an average IQ of 85. Blacks have a crime rate of seven-to-ten times that of whites, and over thirty times that of Asians.
When you ban the merit principle in hiring, promotions, and contracting; ban telling the truth about reality; and ban justice in enforcing the law—when you install a regime of racial spoils—you get a society of cascading failures.
That was MLK’s “dream.”
My first experience with Martin Luther King was April 3, 1968, the day before his murder when he delivered his famous “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech for the strikers in Memphis. I was just a Jewish kid in Long Island and I knew nothing. But I still remember what the radio announcer said: “After Dr. King gave his speech and rode off in his car, his followers rioted.”
Nicholas Stix [email him] is a New York City-based journalist and researcher, much of whose work focuses on the nexus of race, crime, and education. He spent much of the 1990s teaching college in New York and New Jersey. His work has appeared in Chronicles, The New York Post, Weekly Standard, Daily News, New York Newsday, American Renaissance, Academic Questions, Ideas on Liberty and many other publications. Stix was the project director and principal author of the NPI report, The State of White America-2007. He blogs at Nicholas Stix, Uncensored.