The Irony of MLK Jr. Day

Justin Patton
4 min readJan 22, 2019

It wasn’t until he died that he became one of the good guys in America’s eyes.

Photo cred: Time Magazine

The Man, The Myth, The Legend…The Irony

To my understanding most people are aware of the impact Martin Luther King Jr. had on the world. As the face of the Civil Right Movement, MLK held up a mirror to the face of America for the world to see it’s hatred for black people. He challenged America to live up to it’s creed that “all men are created equal”. It for this cause in which he dedicated his life. His holiday is well deserved.

On the other hand ironic that the same government that threatened him, spied on him, and tried to silence him which ultimately lead to his assassination, is the same government that granted him a holiday…many years after his death.

Let us not act like the holiday was granted to him because America wanted to repair the damage it had done. Stevie Wonder along with Gil-Scott Heron and others went on tour to campaign for MLK to have a holiday. Even that had to be fought for.

While it is a wonderful thing that we celebrate his life every year, let us not pretend like he was a beloved figure while he was living. The more pertinent question is, how could a man who simply “had a dream”, be so hated?

Just A Dreamer

When we mention MLK, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is the famous “I have a dream” speech. Yes, the speech is compelling. Yes, it is said that he went off script to deliver these visions described in the dream. Yes, we as a people are still striving to fulfill the dream that he set forth. Martin had a dream, but he was not just a dreamer. He showed action, and got results.

Let us not get non-violent confused with being passive.

King was a preacher, so delivering speeches that motivated the masses was second nature to him. Unlike many other religious leaders, King was willing to be on the front lines with the people he was fighting for. He often risked his life confronting policy makers by getting stabbed, water-hosed, hit with bricks and…



Justin Patton

Spoken word artist and writer. Living my life and writing about it along the way, it just might inspire somebody. IG: @iamjustinpatton