By Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou
“The only thing I ask is that they not take the freeways. Dr. King would never take a freeway.” So said Kasim Reed, the liberal African American mayor of Atlanta, in response to Black Lives Matter protests in King’s birth city last summer. Noted conservative talk show host Bill O’Reilly has likewise postulated with great confidence that “Dr. King would not participate in a Black Lives Matter protest.” Reed and O’Reilly were quickly lambasted for their lack of historical accuracy: Martin Luther King, Jr., of course, led the iconic 1965 march across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge and countless other acts of disruptive civil disobedience. But their sentiment reveals our popular misunderstanding of the life and legacy of America’s favorite civil rights leader.