This past month the world stopped to remember the life of the once little-known preacher turned Freedom Fighter, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After much struggle, the USA agreed to set aside the third Monday in January to honour this superlative human being. The Martin Luther King Day is a day that has emotional overtones for African Americans and Blacks throughout the world for Dr. King represents the best of Blackness and its various gifts to human civilization.
But his memory is also a reminder of the vulnerability of Black lives and lived realities. Almost 50 years after King’s assassination, African American young males were in 2015 nine times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts and the net worth of White families are eight times that of African American families. Although African Americans are 12 % of the population, they comprise 60% of the prison population. Professor Michelle Alexander has dubbed the Prison Industrial Complex, the “New Jim Crow.” She is referring to the manner in which imprisonment serves to politically and economically disenfranchise African Americans.