Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones managed to give Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the birthday tribute he deserved ― and threw shade at critics of Critical Race Theory in the process.
On Monday, Hannah-Jones, the author of the bestselling book, “The 1619 Project,” posted a Twitter thread explaining that she was invited to give a speech about Dr. King, only to have a small number of members of the group hosting her claiming that her presence dishonored the Civil Rights icon.
Hannah-Jones decided the best response would be to quote Dr. King accurately, by reading excerpts from his speeches without mentioning it explicitly.
“And, whew, child, it was AMAZING,” she said.
First, Hannah-Jones noted that King noted, like her, that “1619” was the year the first Black slaves were brought to America against their will. She also said she purposely used the term “Black” instead of “negro,” as was common in Dr. King’s time to prevent people from making the connection before her big reveal.
Hannah-Jones said the audience didn’t seem comfortable hearing a ringing endorsement toward ending systemic racism and promoting democratic socialism ― and had no idea she was quoting King.
“When I revealed that everything I said to that point was taken from his speeches between ’56 and 67… Can you say SHOOK!” she tweeted.
Hannah-Jones said she then noted all the insulting terms “white Americans” called Dr. King when he was still alive, and just how controversial a figure he was.
Hannah-Jones said she told her audience that the real Dr. King can’t be white-washed and that “people who oppose today what he stood for back then do not get to be the arbiters of his legacy.”