MLK's Family - Once Again, It's All About The Benjamins

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by GotZoom, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    Excellent commentary by Leonard Pitts Jr.

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    I interviewed Coretta Scott King once. It cost $5,000.

    In 1985, I approached the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta seeking both that interview and permission to use old audio of Coretta's husband for a radio documentary. I was told it would cost five grand for the audio rights and it was made clear that unless that money was paid, there would be no interview.

    The ethical constraints of a radio production house are different from those of a news organization; we made the deal. I didn't like it, but I rationalized it by telling myself it was an honor to contribute to the upkeep of a legendary legacy.

    Amazing what you can make yourself believe.

    Coretta Scott King died this week, five months after suffering a heart attack and stroke. She is being widely and lavishly eulogized. ''A remarkable and courageous woman,'' said the president. ''A staunch freedom fighter,'' said the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

    The praise is deserved. There was majesty and grace in Coretta Scott King, a strength of heart that was displayed nowhere more clearly than at her husband's death. Like Jacqueline Kennedy before her, she mourned inconceivable loss with awesome dignity. Since then, she has been a tireless defender of the dream her husband articulated in August of 1963.

    TV COMMERCIALS

    She shielded it against racism, pessimism and defeatism. She was less successful against commercialism.

    And I don't mean the piddling $5,000. That's a small symptom of the larger malady. I refer you to the King family's 1993 lawsuit against USA Today for reprinting the I Have A Dream speech and their subsequent licensing of King's image and voice for use in television commercials, one of which placed him between Homer Simpson and Kermit the Frog. Then there's the attempt to sell his personal papers for $20 million. Perhaps most galling was the family's demand to be paid to allow construction of a King monument on the Washington Mall.

    Yes, it's all legal. But if Dr. King's life taught us nothing else, it taught us that legality and morality are not necessarily the same.

    I don't mind the King family making money. But not at all costs, and certainly, not at the cost of Martin Luther King's dignity. Granted, dignity is subjective and you might draw the line in a different place than I. But I suspect most of us would agree that when a martyr, minister and American hero becomes a TV character hawking cellphones with Homer Simpson, that line has been well and truly crossed.

    Coretta Scott King founded the King Center and it has always been controlled by the family. So it seems plain that she approved this money grubbing or at least tolerated it. And as a result, her kids have lost their minds.

    FEUDING OVER MONEY

    Particularly the sons, Martin III and Dexter, recently seen publicly feuding over which one will have the six-figure job of running the King Center. Meantime, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tells us the facility is in need of over $11 million in repairs and that $4.2 million of Center money has been paid since 2000 to a company Dexter owns. This would be the same Dexter who, in 1995, visited Graceland for tips on how to exploit his father's image as Lisa Marie Presley has exploited hers.

    Martin Luther King, it seems necessary to say, was not Elvis Presley. He was a man who stood for something and died for something. That something was not profit. That something belonged to all of us. One wonders if the loss of their mother will shock his children into understanding this.

    I'd like to think so. But had you visited the King Center website three days after Coretta died looking for a tribute, here's what you'd have found: a press release, a quote from Dr. King, and a request for money. ''Make an online donation in loving memory,'' it said.

    You can do it if you want. Me, I gave at the office.

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    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/leonard_pitts/13779153.htm
     
  2. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    They're all FU..And I want the media to STOP calling her the "First Lady" of the civil rights movement.
     
  3. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    I thought that term was officially reserved for elected official's wives?
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    This to me is just sad. I will admire what MLK Jr. did, regardless of what human foibles he may or may not have had. It's hard to determine at that place in time in US history, thanks to the manic machinations of Hoover. In any case, if guilty of all accusations, he doesn't come close to the whoring or drug use of JFK, a contemporary.
     

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