The Atlantic: The whitewashing of King’s assassination

The Atlantic, March 8, 2018: The whitewashing of King’s assassination

In the official story told to children, King’s assassination is the transformational tragedy in a victorious struggle to overcome. But in the true accounting, his assassination was one of a host of reactionary assaults by a country against a revolution. And those assaults were astonishingly successful.

For white America, hostility toward the civil-rights movement turned into a cherry-picked celebration of the revolution’s victories over segregation and over easily caricatured, gap-toothed bigots in the South. Embracing King became a way to rejoice in overcoming and to reify white innocence, even while ignoring the cries of those who had certainly not overcome.

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