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Sen. Joe Biden was a big fan of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the former Ku Klux Klansman who voted against Thurgood Marshall and took part in the “high-tech lynching” of Clarence Thomas. Biden claimed Byrd “elevated the Senate” and the Delaware Democrat had no problem working with segregationist southern Democrats James Eastland and Herman Talmadge.
Whatever Biden says about Martin Luther King Jr. is essentially meaningless. Consider also the composite character David Garrow profiled in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. On January 15, 2016, when he proclaimed the national holiday for King, the president said:
With profound faith in our Nation’s promise, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led a non-violent movement that urged our country’s leaders to expand the reach of freedom and provide equal opportunity for all.
Together, with countless unsung heroes equally committed to the idea that America is a constant work in progress, he heeded the call etched into our founding documents nearly two centuries before his time, marching and sacrificing for the idea of a fair, just, and inclusive society.
And so on, all inviting a look at what that the composite character said about King on his way up the ladder. Barry, as mother Ann Dunham called him, was born on August 4, 1961, so he had yet to turn three on August 22, 1963, when King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1965, Ann Dunham married Indonesian Lolo Soetoro and Barry was attending the Besuki school in Jakarta when King was murdered on April 4, 1968. The author of the 1995 Dreams from My Father is pretty quiet about King’s impact at the time.
In that book, Barry’s strongest influence is the poet “Frank,” who is really the Communist Frank Marshall Davis, who dedicated most of his life to the all-white dictatorship of the Soviet Union. In Dreams Frank gets more than 2,000 words but the says nothing about Martin Luther King Jr. At Occidental College Barry gathers books from the library, but not Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, from 1958, or any other book by King.
The student did gather books by James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, and W.E.B. DuBois, but as Barry explains, “only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different.” As Stanley Crouch recalled, Malcolm X was the “chief black heckler of the civil rights movement,” and regarded non-violence as “nonsense.” As Penn professor Thomas J. Sugrue notes, black-power radicals derided King as “de Lawd” and branded him as “hopelessly bourgeois, a detriment rather than a positive force in the black freedom struggle.”
In Dreams, Barry meets a tall, gaunt man named Malik, “who mentioned that he was a follower of the Nation of Islam.” The narrative portrays the NOI uncritically and as a positive force. As one character explains, “If it wasn’t for Islam, man, I’d be dead.”
As Crouch explained, for NOI boss Louis Farrakahn, “the white man was a devil ‘grafted’ from black people in an evil genetic experiment by a mad, pumpkin-headed scientist named Yacub,” and “the first devils to roll off Yacub’s assembly line were the Jews, the idea of their being the chosen was a lot of baloney.”
Nobody doing serious work in civil rights, Crouch recalled, “would have anything to do with the Nation of Islam. It was too racist and too much of an intellectual embarrassment.” On the other hand, as the Department of Justice notes, Jews played significant roles in the civil rights movement:
Fully half of the young people who flooded into Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964 were Jewish. Among them were Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were murdered along with African American activist James Chaney because of their efforts to register Black voters. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel served as an advisor to Dr. King and marched with him from Montgomery to Selma in 1964. That year, 17 rabbis were arrested with Dr. King in St. Augustine, Florida, after a challenge to racial segregation in public accommodations.
That failed to register with the Dreams author, who in 2005 happily posed for a photo with Louis Farrakhan, the nation’s leading anti-Semite. It’s hard to find any serious criticism of Farrakhan by the composite character president, who invited Black Lives Matter leaders to the White House. BLM is the direct descendant of BLA, the Black Liberation Army, a violent criminal gang.
BLM’s hero is not Martin Luther King. BLM’s hero is fugitive cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur. In 2011, Obama brought to the White House the rapper Common, whose “Song for Assata,” released in 2000, portrayed Chesimard as a victim of police violence.
As Tablet editor David Samuels noted last August in “The Obama Factor,” the composite character is still running the country and “responsible for the disaster that we are living through now.” After 10/7, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, Obama decried the “occupation,” the term Osama bin Laden used three times in his 2002 letter to America.
“What is happening to the Palestinians is unbearable,” the composite character also said, striking moral equivalence between the Hamas terrorists and their Jewish victims.
The 10/7 attack unleashed armies of anti-Semites even at Harvard. Instead of criticizing the pro-Hamas squads, the composite character backed president Claudine Gay, a plagiarist who preferred to see anti-Semitism in context. All things considered, the composite character has less claim on the King legacy than his puppet Joe Biden.