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King Saw Connections

In reponse to "Remembering King by Erasing Him" (by John F. Sugg, Jan. 12): Like the old saying goes, the dead make such convenient heroes. Many people today (including those in the African/American community who sit on boards, committees and claim to honor him) would not stand with King if he were here today. Just as King became outspoken against the Vietnam War, he would have joined in speaking out against another unjust war that was also based on lies — the war on Iraq.

King was anti-war, but many who claim to remember him are only "dreaming." Last year I helped organize a MLK peace rally in Charlotte, but those that claim to represent King by sitting on boards in this city wanted nothing to do with it, because a great deal of our message was going to be King's message — "anti-war," peace and justice.

The speech at the Riverside Church in New York (against the Vietnam War) was a defining moment and set the agenda as King proceeded to take the struggle to the next level. Civil and human rights, peace and economic justice became all a part of the program, as he understood them to be all interrelated. For those who wish to "Remember King by Erasing Him," while denying his anti-war stance, give credence to the theory that James Earl Ray did not act alone.

— Jibril Hough, Chairman, Islamic Political Party of America

MLK On Tape

Dr. King did something few of our contemporary leaders have been able to accomplish: he provided an authentic voice for revolution, within a context of faith, without the slightest hint of the creepy moralism of the religious right.

For readers of "Remembering King by Erasing Him" who want to get a further glimpse of Dr. King, I suggest the CD set, "A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." I bought this set about a year ago, and I made a habit of listening to the speeches on long Sunday morning drives.

It was a transformative experience to go beyond the "I Have a Dream" speech (which seems to have become the "soundbite" for the civil rights movement) and delve into his other famous (though lately ignored) speeches: the raw, grainy power in his 1955 address at Holt Street Baptist Church; the restrained poignancy of "Eulogy for the Martyred Children" (September, 1963); the uncanny parallels to Iraq in 1967's "Beyond Vietnam"; the moving conclusion to "Our God is Marching On" (Montgomery, Alabama 1965). Transcripts of all of these speeches are easily found on the Internet as well.

— Kathryn Wilcox, Rock Hill

The Winner of Sprawl

I'm tired of hearing all the bickering about whether urban sprawl in Charlotte is good or bad for the city and finally announce a winner to shed some light on a beneficiary. The winner of urban sprawl is not the socialist David Walters or the capitalist Andy Clarkson, but rather the City budget that grows (or sprawls) every time a new piece of the suburbs is annexed into their greedy jurisdiction for the benefit of the inner city and their minions, while the needs of the growing suburbs — such as education and roads — are left to rot and die. That's the name of the game and I don't expect anything to change until the gerrymandered districts that guarantee reelection of the incumbent representatives that make these decisions are eliminated.

— Tom Scott, Huntersville

Great Satire

Obviously, Andy Clarkson's satirical letter ("Sprawl Good, Socialism Bad," Jan. 12) was mocking those people unable to grasp the development planning concepts so succinctly presented by David Walters in your pages. Clarkson uses the right-wing tactics of name-calling and misrepresentation of facts expertly. He understands that when conservatives lack facts to support their baseless assertions, they must personally attack the object of their ire to cover for their indefensible viewpoint. Reality is whatever the conservative wants it to be, regardless of the facts.

Clarkson brilliantly sidesteps whether "growth" may or may not be good, depending on one's long term point of view and the type of growth in question. By accusing Walters of lying about his alleged socialist agenda, Clarkson demonstrates yet another tactic to which conservatives resort: Anyone who disagrees with their viewpoint is anti-capitalist and un-American, and must be silenced for the good of our children. All in all, a well-written piece of satire from Mr. Clarkson.

Wait a minute. What if he was serious?

— Michael A. Clark, Charlotte

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