Growing up in northeast Mississippi in the 1960s, I knew practically nothing about Martin Luther King Jr. But by the early 1970s, when I was a student at Mississippi College in Jackson, a professor presciently suggested to a class that we should mark his words: Martin Luther King Jr. would soon be known as a saint.
Today, we honor Dr. King’s memory with a holiday, but how can we also honor his legacy?
The White Church: ‘A Devil’s Bargain’
Late in his life, as King led the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Tenn., he started expanding his message from racial justice to include economic justice. When he talked about economic injustice, King talked about it as “structural racism”—the way the economic system was intentionally built to deny African Americans the economic rights enjoyed by white people. Yet, few know the real story of how the white Christian church was involved in creating the structural racism…