Martin Luther King III said that had his father not been assassinated, our country would look a lot different today
As protests and riots for racial justice continue to rage across the country, Martin Luther King Jr.’s son has been speaking out about his father’s legacy, and how things might look a lot different today had he lived past 1968.
Martin Luther King III appeared on the Today show Sunday to speak about current events, and he had some powerful messages to deliver.
“My father, I believe, and none of us can speak for him, but certainly through his words, he always had compassion, and so compassion would certainly be in order,” King began. “But … I just believe that had my father lived, we wouldn’t be even dealing with these issues. We would’ve resolved them by now.”
King spoke about what he believes is driving the protests we’re seeing all across the country today, and he said today’s struggles are for the same things his father fought for 50 years ago.
“We’re seeing and feeling the frustration, the humiliation, the insensitivity,” King said. “Fifty years years later, people are asking just for dignity and respect in terms of arresting a human being … We see a variety of people (protesting) … It’s not just black people. It’s black and white, it’s old and young.”
The protests have been in response to a video that shows George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, who was suffocated and died as officers knelt on his neck and back in a parking lot.
“All of the world witnessed a man being killed. We all know this, in front of our eyes, and yet it took three or four days for an initial action … Everyone there was complicit,” King said. And when Floyd’s killers weren’t arrested for four days after his death, King asked, “Why does the system take so long to work? And why is it not working for communities of color, and specifically African Americans? How does it always end up in a fatality? That is unacceptable. We are acting inhumane.”
King said he doesn’t condemn the looting and violence taking place in some cities. But as many have noted throughout the week’s protests, his father was famous for this quote: “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
“Yes, people’s actions are not the approach that I would want us to take,” King said. “Burning down our nation is not the right answer. But when you destroy a building, and that is so tragic and should not happen, yes, a building can be… rebuilt. But how do you rebuild a human life when a life is gone? You can’t.”