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M.L. King, Jr./Obama Connection

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Dr. Joseph A. Bailey, II
While walking with my dog on New Year’s morning I thought about the
most impressive people either present in my lifetime or that stood
out from my readings of USA history. Names off the “off the top of my
head” were Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, Booker T. Washington,
Jack Johnson, George W. Carver, Jessie Owens, Joe Louis, Mary
Bethune, Benjamin Mayes, Jim Brown, M. L. King, Jr., Smitty (my step-
dad), Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama. Then I thought
of model dads of prominent Black people—e.g. Michael Jordan, Tiger
Woods, and Bill Cosby (as the nation’s dad). Despite being showered
with nothing but European and Euro-American history throughout my
entire formal education, there was not a single European that stood
out in my mind as having “iceberg” scope. Sure, many are world famous
ice “tip” Europeans but none do I deem to have “below surface” depth.
Then, after removing from my list the above mentioned impressive
athletes, the remaining ones possess Ancient African Tradition.
Hence, 9/10ths of what makes them great is “below their public
iceberg tip.” African Tradition can be likened to the hub of a
bicycle wheel. Inside its hub is the Ancient African Philosophy of
God as the Standard; Ma’at (love in action) as the Cherished Values;
and Nonaggression as the Power Approach. Proper use of these three
makes one dignified, cultured (whether educated or not), refined, and
hard workers’ dedicated to helping others in need.

Each spoke coming out of the hub is like the unique aspects of life
in which each of these impressive people lived and made his/her
contribution. Each person extracted principles contained in the
philosophy of the hub to make profound decisions and solve
“impossible” problems. Allow me to illustrate with Dr. King and
Obama. Dr. King forged to the front as the leader of a new movement--
a movement dedicated to the principle of non-violent social action.
Obama has emerged to lead a change in USA government and the “ole
boy” system that, for the first time, brings integrity and
accountability to the people. King expressed the feelings of the
younger generation of Black Americans by saying: “the Negro is tired
of waiting…. Because of our love for democracy we cannot wait. We
are through with gradualism. We are through with see-how-far-you-
have-comeism. We are through with we’ve-done-more-for-your-people-
than-anyone-elseism. We cannot wait. We want our freedom now!” Dr.
King added that when a people are mired in oppression, they realize
deliverance only when they have accumulated the power to enforce
change. The nettlesome task of Black people today is to discover how
to organize their strength into compelling power so that government
can not elude the demands of Blacks. “We must develop, from strength,
a situation in which the Government finds it wise and prudent to
collaborate with us….Power is not the White man’s birthright; it will
not be legislated for us and delivered in neat government packages.
It is a social force any group can utilize by accumulating its
elements in a planned, deliberate campaign to organize it under its
own control.” Obama agreed but substituted Americans on “Main Street”
for Negroes.

Dr. King: “Men often hate each other because they fear each other;
they fear each other because they do not know each other; they do not
know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot
communicate because they are separated,” Some kind of interracial
council is a necessary condition for better race relations in the
South….Negroes want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-
law.” Obama substituted “world” for “the South.” Can you now see how
Critical and Rational Thinking extract “spoke” principles so as to--
with the help of others--create, enhance, and maintain harmony?

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