It’s a week since Right-wing American fascists stormed the US Capitol bent on disrupting the certifying electoral votes for Joe Biden, and presumably looking into kidnapping and murdering congress members and perhaps the Vice President. There were other goals as well, some purely emotive and disruptive and others still hidden. In the week since, the Republicans have resorted to embarrassingly craven and intellectually and morally bankrupt comparisons to Black Lives Matters protests from the previous summer. The implied threat of all these comparisons of course is that there’s more where that came from.
Among the rhetoric, I’ve some incredibly cynical recasting of Martin Luther King’s discussions of protect and riots. You can imagine how smug they felt making those. So this book became a good reminder that King, like the Black Lives Matters protests, actually stood and actually stand for justice and a reaction to injustice, and the white terrorism of the Capitol is a distorted mirror of the white state-sponsored terrorism that King faced in Alabama in 1963. The content of the cause has shifted (but less so than openly discussed), but the fight is still the same it seems. This book is both a history (told in third person, not memoir) and provides all the context, before and after, for the central piece in this collection, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. The language here is so precise and so deliberate, the stakes so high, and there’s a very very important reminder that King was hated by so much of America, while working to save its soul.