Memphis, 40 Years Ago

Brian Cook

While commemorating the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death today, it's important to remember why King was in Memphis to begin with. Last year, Peter Dreier reminded us of the specifics of that mission. (And it's a mission that that continues today.) It's a complimentary piece to read alongside Kai Wright's powerful essay today on King's forgotten radicalism. It's important to keep this radicalism in mind if you happen across, say, John McCain bringing his "Service to America" tour to Memphis today. And also important to remember that McCain (and conservatives in general) haven't always had the warm-and-fuzzies for the dream of economic and social justice that King gave his life to help make a reality.

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Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.
Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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