We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

Edward Curtin

Atlanta, Georgia, USA — Martin Luther King Jr. listens at a meeting of the SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, at a restaurant in Atlanta. The SCLC is a civil rights organization formed by Martin Luther King after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott. — Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 – people will be encouraged to make the day one of service. Such service does not include King’s commitment to protest a decadent system of racial and economic injustice or non-violently resist the U.S. warfare state that he called “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.”

Government sponsored service is cultural neo-liberalism at its finest, the promotion of individualism at the expense of a mass movement for radical institutional change.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous,” warned Dr. King, “than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

How true those words. For the government that honors Dr. King with a national holiday killed him. This is the suppressed truth behind the highly promoted day of service. It is what you are not supposed to know. It is what Thomas Merton, as quoted by James W. Douglass, called The Unspeakable:

It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and officials declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss. It is the void out of which Eichmann drew the punctilious exactitude of his service.”

The word service is a loaded word; it has become a smiley face and vogue word over the past 35 years. Its use for MLK Day is clear: individuals are encouraged to volunteer for activities such as tutoring children, painting senior centers, or delivering meals to the elderly, activities that are good in themselves but far less good when used to conceal an American prophet’s radical message. After all, Martin Luther King’s work was not volunteering at the local food pantry with Oprah Winfrey cheering him on.

The Assassination

King was not murdered because he had spent his heroic life promoting individual volunteerism. To understand his life and death – to celebrate the man – “it is essential to realize although he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more than that. A non-violent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for a long overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.” Those are the words of William Pepper, the King family lawyer, from his comprehensive and definitive study of the King assassination, The Plot to Kill King, a book that should be read by anyone concerned with truth and justice.

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society. If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off. Fifty one years after King’s assassination, the causes he fought for – civil rights, the end to U.S. wars of aggression, and economic justice for all – remain not only unfulfilled, but have worsened in so many respects. And King’s message has been enervated by the sly trick of giving him a national holiday and then urging Americans to make it “a day of service.” The vast majority of those who innocently participate in these activities have no idea who killed King, or why. If they did, they might pause in their tracks, and combine their “service” activities with a teach-in on the truth of his assassination.

Because MLK repeatedly called the United States the “greatest purveyor of violence on earth,” he was universally condemned by the mass media and government that later – once he was long and safely dead and no longer a threat – praised him to the heavens. This has continued to the present day of historical amnesia.

Educating people about the fact that U.S. government forces conspired to kill Dr. King, and why, and why it matters today, is the greatest service we can render to his memory.

William Pepper’s decades-long investigation not only refutes the flimsy case against the alleged assassin James Earl Ray, but definitively proves that King was killed by a government conspiracy led by J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI, Army Intelligence, and the Memphis Police, assisted by southern Mafia figures.

The Trial

This shocking truth is accentuated when one is reminded (or told for the first time) that in 1999 a Memphis jury, after a thirty day civil trial with over seventy witnesses, found the U.S. government guilty in the killing of MLK. The King family had brought the suit and Pepper represented them. They were grateful that the truth was confirmed, but saddened by the way the findings were buried by the media in cahoots with the government.

Pepper not only demolishes the government’s self-serving case with a plethora of evidence, but shows how the mainstream media, academia, and government flacks have spent years covering up the truth of MLK’s murder through lies and disinformation. Another way they have accomplished this is by convincing a gullible public that “service” is a substitute for truth.

But service without truth is a disservice to the life, legacy, and radical witness of this great American hero. It is propaganda aimed at convincing decent people that they are serving the essence of MLK’s message while they are obeying their masters, the very government that murdered him.

It is time to rebel against the mind manipulation served by the MLK Day of Service. Let us offer service, but let us also learn and speak the truth.

“He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery,” King told us, “Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.”


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Jan 22, 2019 6:43 AM

We don’t need any more of Martin Luther King, we need another Malcolm X only this time more mature and removed from the context of the Nation Of Islam,

Jan 21, 2019 8:58 PM

King and Mandela have been retrospectively canonised by the Deep State and powerful vested interests who rule over us, to serve their own purposes.
King was a politician and very flawed individual whose personal life would not bear too much scrutiny. However unacceptable segregation and inequality were – though de facto segregation and certainly inequality are probably much worse now than then.
Saint Mandela was a terrorist. I know he was, because Thatcher and Cameron and Bercow said he was. So it must be true. I don’t think he was ever taken off the US terrorist list. Mandela was canonised when he made South Africa safe for global corporate interests. And a small black BMW elite benefitted. The rest of the population carried on living in one room cinder block shacks with no water, no electricity and no job.

Doulton Royal
Doulton Royal
Jan 21, 2019 4:56 PM

I had a nightmare!

I had a nightmare that this nation had awakened and lived out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that white men are not our equal.”

I had a nightmare that the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners whipped each other over food and shelter in the hood.

I had a nightmare that America a nation sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, was transformed into an oasis of perverted sexual freedom and racial injustice.

I had a nightmare that little children were preyed upon by church, thug and educators, where they were judged by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character.

I had a nightmare last night!

I had a nightmare that down in D.C.  With its vicious racists, with its DNC and NAACP having their lips dripping with the words of “reparations” and “black lives matter” — that right here in America little black boys and black girls are taught to beat little white boys and white girls as punishment for slavery 150 years ago.

I had a nightmare last night!

I had a nightmare that every city was rioting, and every house and business made low by the burning ashes, while sacred places were destroyed, and thugs and perverts ruled the streets and the horror of Allah was revealed and all infidels were slaughtered together.

In the morning having awakened, I walked out into the streets, heard the cries, smelled the smoke. This was no nightmare, this was real.

Jan 21, 2019 4:53 PM
Jan 21, 2019 1:47 PM

“He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery,”

If we are going to counter the ‘Unspeakable’: and receive the bonus of freedom for knowing the truth …we can neither have a MLK birth or death day. On the MLK day of truth: it would be known that there is no inexistent birth or death …nor is there a substantiated fixed entity – an ‘MLK’ – that passes between the two. At best these are conventional truths and views, or linguistic metaphoric conceptions, part of a set of figurative descriptions we use for convenience. At worst, when the discursive truth becomes literal, substantiated and hypostatised as an actuality – not a complex of abstractions – it takes on the character of the Unspeakable. A linguistic void that sucks the reality out of things. Birth and death then become part of the BIg Lie.

I have read enough of MLK to know that he understood this perfectly, no matter what living metaphors he used to convey the perennial wisdom. There was mutual friendship with Merton and a Vietnamese Forest Monk – Thich Nhat Hanh – who was his co-equal in every way. Passing their understanding into the void of language results in Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama contradicting, without ever understanding, every word they say. Their citation becomes Unspeakable.

To celebrate Dr King’s Day (which is the everyday): overcoming the “Triple Evils” (racism, consumerism, militarism (imperialism)) …we should look beyond the words to see what MLK saw – that which he called the “Promised Land”. Here, birth and death do not apply. Here, Martin, Thomas, (soon to be joined by Thay) are waiting. Here is now. Let us celebrate that.

Edward Curtin
Edward Curtin
Jan 21, 2019 3:28 PM
Reply to  BigB

Since there is no substantial entity known as Big B, who is the “we” in your statement “we use for convenience”? A real man of flesh and blood was shot in the face in Memphis in 1968 – a literal man and left a family.

Jan 22, 2019 12:00 AM
Reply to  Edward Curtin

Yes, what you say is true, but it is not the whole truth, is it? I made it perfectly clear I was not limiting my statement to received linguistic conventions. There is more to life than language: a lot more. Just about everything, in fact.

That language is substantially metaphoric is one of the major findings of neuroscience, and the basis of cognitive linguistics, conceptual metaphor theory and embodied cognition.

All fixed conceptualisations and theorisations were exposed by Nagarjuna as ultimately logically flawed and incomprehensible: if taken literally.


The total set of dualistic propositions – based on birth/death; come/go; live/die; man/woman; etc – constitute a world …the world-as-it-presents (parakalpita). But it is not the world-as-it-is: the world of suchness (tathata). It is a linguistic approximation of it. It is not even a map. It is a discriminatory distortion of reality – a ‘screen of cliches’. The Cartesian/Newtonian/Darwinian architecture of belief does not accurately represent the world at all. If we take this encultured discursive reality as the only reality, we are lost in language. Lost in abstraction. Lost.

It is in language only we find the substantiation and fixation of being – a ‘Big B’, an ‘MLK’, a ‘Thay’. A durational, independent, temporal entity is a linguistic fiction. I’m sure you can relate to Whitehead’s ‘fallacy of misplaced concreteness’? So, no, there is no fixed substantive anything, anywhere, (nihsvabhava), let alone a ‘Big B’. Everything is part of the ‘causal spread’; or causal nexus of interdependent interbeing. Nothing arises independently, or is individuatable, (separable, isolatable): but that it remains nondual – intercaused by, and remaining inter-related to, everything else.

According to process ontology, there may well be an intersubjective, inter-relational entity: an identifiable pattern of interconnections …but it is not fixed, independent, or temporally extended. That is our conceit and illusion: the basis of all oppressions. Why should we remain fixed in such linguistic untruth and unreality?

If language defines reality, if it is literally real, if it definitively describes the world as true (the correspondence theory) – then the world is language, and being in the world is individuated, substantiated, and hypostatised as ‘real’. The limits of being in the world are the limits of the word – to paraphrase Wittgenstein. That’s not what MLK or Thay said to me. That is the continuance of recurrent oppression.

The whole of oppression is the discrimination between self and Other; between ‘me’, ‘mine’ and ‘yours’. And the prehension this entails. All of this requires an individuated, fixed, substantive, essentialised I-concept (atma-drsti). One that is subject to birth and death. This is samvrti satya – the conceptual truth that conceals. It is not paramartha satya – the aconceptual truth that reveals. There are no literal men.


Jan 21, 2019 12:21 PM

My people……When I need inspiration.

harry stotle
harry stotle
Jan 21, 2019 10:43 AM

I hate to say it but those who take out inconvenient individuals or indeed multiple skyscrappers in Manhattan can always rely on two certainties.
[1] a MSM that will immediately start pushing the official narrative while disparaging anyone who dare challenges it.
[2] a general public who have always been shit scared of their political illusions neing threatened – such as US intelligence agencies being a force for good.

Neither the judge nor the Memphis police gave any creedance to the lies told about MLKs execution.

John Ervin
John Ervin
Jan 21, 2019 10:11 AM

Jesus also said that HIS governmental adversaries stoned the prophets, then routinely had children who erected monuments to their prophetic “memory”.

This routine and charade is age-old.

The “laughing gas of the New York Times”, as Gore Vidal called it, was quick to “cover” the result of the ’99 Memphis wrongful death (civil) suit, with an assessment by that epic prostitute Gerald POSNER (“Case Closed”) suggesting that the jury had been “spoon fed” the evidence.

The jury took 59 minutes to find against Lloyd Jowers and the U. S.. Government.

After hearing 40,000 pages of testimony.

Assassination IS Americanisation.

You don’t find it elsewhere the way you do here, though much of it is done by plane crash, Paul Wellstone, Mel Carnahan (running against John Ashcroft) and JFK jr. (And let us not forget his uncle Joe Jr., then aunt Kathleen, who died months apart in 1945.)

And our jackals lick their chops to bomb leaders’ planes offshore too: Jaime Roldos, Omar Torrijos, among others.

Few people know that Francis Gary Powers died in August 1977 in a chopper crash in L. A., as he was covering a brush fire for KNBC news in their helicopter that he was piloting. Seventeen years prior, he had named in a Moscow court, in 1960, the U. S. Marine responsible for his capture.

Lee Harvey Oswald.

Powers died shortly before he was to answer a subpoena to testify to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Like Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, and so many others.

Wikipedia leaves that data out of their whitewashed webpages.


Hunter S. Thompson put it nastily but neatly, “America…. just a nation of 200 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. ”

Well, MLK was kinder in his call.

But Thompson, though a more minor prophet, compared to King’s greatness, was trying to make a point, too:

Comfort ain’t gonna cut it!

Not when the “jury” comes back, with its verdict.

On US.

Jan 21, 2019 1:53 PM
Reply to  John Ervin

First time of hearing of Powers/LHO – got any links?

Jan 21, 2019 5:41 PM
Reply to  DunGroanin

As I recall, the story was, that Alan Dulles set up FGP to fail in an inferior U-2 and he was supposed to commit suicide on the way down but he realized he was being used and parachuted out. It was all about recking the upcoming summit between Eisenhower and Khrushchev… possibly LHO was in Russia to help them shoot down that aircraft.

Hugh O’Neill
Hugh O’Neill
Jan 21, 2019 8:51 PM
Reply to  Norcal

LHO was once based at Atsugi Japan whence U2 flights sortied. He had top secret clearance as a radar operator and had inside knowledge of the technical operation. That much is fact. Also when he apparently defected to Russia, he very loudly proclaimed he had secret info of value. Of course, LHO was a CIA asset, and I suspect that his public defection was so that if any questions were asked as to how could Russia have downed FGP’s U2, then LHO was the intended patsy. Dulles had all bases covered. In the event, that story was not required, and LHO’s Patsy mission was no longer required, hence he was allowed to come home, without any trial, unlike FGP.
The U2 destruction was meant to be total, and there is a suggestion that that the CIA had set a bomb on board, because the altitude was too high for defence missiles. FGP survived and did not commit suicide, hence he was a traitor according to CIA.
How do I reach such bizarre conclusions? When you read the book “Mayday” by some hack CIA historian, you can read easily between the lines and join the dots. There is an also an inexplicable smear of LHO suggesting he had murdered a fellow US marine. I wrote a critique on Amazon which is more detailed.
Most likely, FGP was assassinated because he was becoming a liability and writing books etc.
Oh what a tangled web they weave when first they set out to deceive.

Jan 21, 2019 7:13 AM

An inspiring post on an inspirational man; who died but his spirit lives on. ““He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery,” Martin Luther King told us, “Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.”

“Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth will make ye Free”. — John 8/32

“The truth rarely if ever convinces its opponents; it simply outlives them.” — “Mad” Max Planck, German physicist