At age 39, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was gunned down in Memphis while protesting segregationist policies and practices that protect white supremacy and oppress black Americans and other peoples of color in the United States. Donald Trump was, at that time, a 21-year-old son of a wealthy Klansman. Representing the antithesis to everything Dr. King risked his life for, it was unimaginable then that today King would be gone and his “dream” would turn into the nightmare of a Trump presidency. On this day, in memory of the iconic Civil Rights leader, let’s take a look back on what the election of Donald Trump meant to the decades of incremental progress toward an Inclusive America that King and so many others sacrificed their lives to set in motion.

King was not shy to call someone a segregationist, and there’s no doubt that were he alive today he would consider [] Trump and his supporters stalwart defenders of the status quo. And the status quo for American society throughout its history has been segregation.

Consider King’s April 1963 Letter from the Birmingham Jail: “While [Birmingham Mayor] Boutwell is a much more gentle person than [Bull] Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo.” Consider the facts: Segregationists established a status quo across the American landscape that looked like these select data points (of many more) in the 1950s and 60s for black Americans:

  • Public schools were racially segregated by community. The overwhelming majority of black children attended substandard schools with far fewer resources than their white counterparts nationwide. Schools servicing black communities in many states had student populations that were 99 percent black.
  • Unemployment among black Americans was twice the rate of white unemployment year over year regardless of education level achieved.
  • All black-owned businesses collectively produced less than 1 percent of GDP and zero percent job growth.
  • The average white family possessed four to five times the wealth of the average black family with a growing wealth gap.
  • Black Americans feared the police; police brutality and social injustice were routine in black communities. Most police departments enforced white community segregation policies and practices.

Segregation in the 1950s and 60s was the most visible form of white hostility toward black Americans, not the only form. Segregationists maliciously targeted black children by ensuring they started their lives in America in economically starved ghetto communities on a pitted educational pathway leading to destitute dead ends, deprived of access to the American Dream. In the 50s and 60s (and every decade prior and since), the vast majority of black children and their parents failed to escape the volatility of life in an American society designed to privilege whites and deny blacks even the courtesy of safely worshiping in Christian churches.

In the 60s, segregated schools and churches were the battlefront in a longstanding war on black Americans that had spanned 100 years from President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to the time Dr. King gave his most famous, I Have a Dream speech in August 1963:

“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free.

100 years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

100 years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

100 years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”

Today, white America remembers the hopeful refrain, “I have a dream,” which Dr. King sang out as he wrapped up the most celebrated speech he ever gave. Meanwhile, black Americans continue to experience the “shameful condition” enveloped in the beginning of King’s speech.

[Donald] Trump: Champion of Segregation

Nearly 55 years have passed since more than 250,000 black and white protesters poured onto the Washington Mall to dramatize the “shameful condition” in America. On Jan. 20, 2017, in a dramatic juxtaposition, a [crowd of thousands], mostly white Americans, [occupied] the same space to celebrate a segregationist being sworn in as president in replacement of historic leadership by America’s first black president. What would Dr. King say today? Sadly, segregation has survived continuous struggles to move beyond its stranglehold on the nation. Yet, still today, beyond King, beyond Obama, segregation lives on.

Today’s champion segregationist Donald J. Trump, who entered his business career discriminating against black Americans alongside his racist father in the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination, is now the American president. When we look back over the last 50 years, we see a consistent racist refrain across America that no amount of protests, laws and policy changes could overcome:

“Nine years after [Brown v Board of Education ruling], when President John Kennedy called for the first major civil rights act of the 20th century, 99% of blacks in the South were still in totally segregated schools. Virtually no whites were in historically black schools, nor were black teachers and administrators in white schools.

For all practical purposes, it was segregation as usual or ‘segregation forever,’ as some of the South’s politicians promised. In the great majority of the several thousand southern districts nothing had been done.” (Civil Rights Project Report, 2014)

Desegregating the American landscape meant black Americans had to be willing to put their lives at risk. Donald Trump was, even at the time, an enemy of racial progress in America. In contrast, many white Americans, outraged by such evil permeating every nook and cranny of society, rose up alongside black Americans and placed their own reputations, livelihoods and lives at risk. And many whites did indeed lose their lives in the war due to angry white backlash that assaulted nonviolent protesters and unrestrained hostility that sought to preserve the power structure of white supremacy.

Rise and Fall of Desegregation

Desegregation threatened white supremacy then, and now. In the face of mortal danger, both blacks and whites stood up with courage in the 60s to demand a change. And because they had the audacity to cling to hope, a temporary change did come.

Faced with the dual prospect of losing federal funds if they remained segregated, as well as the threat of a Justice Department lawsuit as a result of the Civil Rights Act [1964], almost all the districts began to desegregate. Strongly backed by the federal courts, federal civil rights officials raised desegregation requirements each year. In 1968 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that desegregation in the historically segregated states must be comprehensive and immediate. By 1970 Southern schools became the nation’s most integrated.

The last major Congressional action supporting desegregation and race relations initiatives in schools came in 1972. As a matter of law, the last major Supreme Court decision expanding desegregation policies came in 1973. (Civil Rights Project Report, 2014)

Sadly, desegregation efforts in the South ran out of steam in the early 70s and quickly lost all of the additional progress made after 1967, according to the UCLA report cited above. Today, the lack of strong desegregation efforts has given way to unbridled segregationist policies and practices that have expanded beyond a focus on quarantining black students to impact Latino students the most, particularly in western states where segregation has soared.

Data today reveals a clear pattern of exclusively grouping black and Latino students in the same schools. The UCLA report cited above declares that this shameful practice “deserves serious attention from educators and policymakers.” Unfortunately, many educators and lawmakers are masquerading segregationists in charge of a designed system of policies and practices that maintain segregation, and their attention to the issue is to merely confirm the system is working as planned.

Segregation in the pipeline of education is typically implemented along the lines of both race and economics. Today most black and Latino students attend schools populated by a substantial majority of poor children, including a small percentage of poor whites. Still, most white and Asian students attend middle-class schools, according to current data.

Even a cursory look at public schools reveal the enormous impact that segregationists have made and continue to make today to ensure separate and unequal facilities, scarce resources, along with separate and unequal educational quality.
Segregationists who sit on the highest court in the land seek to “maintain the status quo” and ensure segregation will remain the bedrock foundation upon which public education in America is dispensed.

The Supreme Court has fundamentally changed desegregation law, and many major court orders have been dropped. Our statistical analysis shows that segregation increased substantially after the plans were terminated in many large districts. A half century of research shows that many forms of unequal opportunity are linked to segregation.

During the civil rights era there were regular federal reports on the progress of desegregation, but those largely ended in the early 1970s. The last major federal program funding research and training on race relations and desegregation in schools was repealed in 1981, in the first Reagan administration budget. (Civil Rights Project Report, 2014)

Segregationist Champions: From Reagan to Trump

The evidence is clear. Republicans admire and revere Ronald Reagan as one of their greatest presidents. Yet, it was Reagan who ushered in the first segregationist backlash against the gains made by progressive activists and lawmakers in the years following King’s death. Today, many white evangelical Christians who revere Reagan would scoff at the notion that he was a segregationist. But when Congressman John Lewis testified last week against Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as [] Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, his words were applicable to millions of racist segregationists, including Reagan, who have infected the landscape of America with this “disease,” as Dr. King referred to it.

“It doesn’t matter how Senator Sessions may smile, how friendly he may be…how he may speak to you. Those who are committed to equal justice in our society wonder whether Senator Sessions’s call for law and order will mean today what it meant in Alabama when I was coming up back then.” Said Congressman John Lewis (D-GA).

Congressman Lewis was bludgeoned by police, who cracked his skull and nearly killed him, for daring to march across the Edmond Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965. He has seen more than his fair share of smiling, friendly racist segregationists in his life. If Congressman Lewis says you are an obstructionist to racial progress and an impediment to desegregation efforts and the march toward a fair, just and inclusive America, that’s the standard by which America should start to reconcile with its hostile past toward nonwhites.

Such segregationists should be rooted out of every position of power and influence in every corner of American society. They should be replaced with leaders who believe in the dignity of empowering all Americans of all races with full access to the American Dream across an inclusive landscape of opportunity. To do that, there must be a concerted national effort, which was initially declared in 1965 in the government’s own “Case for National Action” report on racial hostility in America, to dismantle the laws, policies and practices of segregationists that permeate every region of the nation.

The Supreme Court was used to establish a legal foundation in 1883 for the continued practice of Jim Crow (separate and unequal). And it has been used ever since to “maintain the status quo.” When desegregation finally gained traction, decades after the Court’s 1954 decision outlawing Jim Crow in Brown v Board of Education, it was yet another Court that stalled the progress, enabling segregationists to quickly reverse any gains.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign comment in 2015 criticizing the system of segregation drew a lot of attention. Politifact decided to look into it and discovered the longstanding war on black and brown children that has been fought at all levels of government, with particular impact by the Supreme Court, which basically killed desegregation efforts nationwide in the early 70s.

Experts say the backslide was the consequence of a series of judicial decisions, beginning with Milliken vs. Bradley (1974), a relatively unheard of but seminal case in the desegregation saga. Criticized by some as “one of the worst Supreme Court decisions” ever, Milliken dealt with Detroit’s plan to integrate students by busing them from the intercity to the suburbs. The court ruled that such a plan was unconstitutional, arguing that black students had the right to attend integrated schools within their own school district, but were not protected from de facto segregation.

Court-mandated desegregation was dealt its own deadly blow by three rulings from the Supreme Court between 1991 and 1995. According to the court, integration was only a temporary federal policy and after the historical imbalance was righted, school districts should reclaim local control and were released from desegregation orders.

Since then, school segregation has been intrinsically tied to the racial gaps in housing and income, leading to the re-emergence of the color line. Economic segregation, which disproportionately affects black and Latino students, is increasing, pointed out Orfield [lead author of the UCLA Civil Rights Project report]. He noted that in California, Asian and white students are 10 times more likely to go to a high-quality school than Latinos and therefore dramatically more likely to attend college. (Politifact, June 25, 2015: American Schools are More Segregated Than They Were in the 60s, Says Hillary Clinton)

Unfortunately, white Americans overwhelmingly voted for another segregationist to occupy the Oval Office. When Trump launched his campaign for president, he based it upon a platform of racist rhetoric and the ideals of a segregationist society. His campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” hearkens back to an undefined era wherein he and others believe the nation was great for white Americans, particularly white males.

Presumably Trump’s campaign slogan is referring to an era before Dr. King rose up or soon after King paid the ultimate price while seeking to disrupt the status quo of a segregated society. Most assuredly, America was not “great” for most black Americans at any time during the life of Dr. King. And I cannot imagine anyone arguing America was great for its black citizens at any point in the decades between the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. Nevertheless, Trump and his supporters advocate for a return to such an unapologetic era in America without pinpointing it in order to avoid inevitable criticism.

Segregation Today Resembles Segregation of the Past

On Jan. 20, 2017, however, Trump and his supporters regained control over a segregationist landscape to maintain the status quo while protecting it from progressive measures.

Consider the facts today:

  • Public schools are nearly as racially segregated as they were in the 60s. They still suffer from policy driven economic deprivation and resource strangulation, and still produce consistently poor academic outcomes. The school-to-prison pipeline is expected to deliver 1 million black boys in the next five years into jails and prisons who are innocent of any crimes today.
  • Unemployment among black Americans remains twice the rate of white employment year over year regardless of education level achieved.
  • All 2.6 million black-owned businesses today produced less than 1 percent of GDP and zero percent job growth. This is exactly the same as it was 50 years ago … and 100 years prior to that. More than 96 percent of black business owners are sole proprietors with no employees.
  • The average white family today has 18 times the wealth of the average black family with a growing gap, exponentially greater than it was 50 years ago. The average black family today would need 228 years to build the same wealth as the average white family.
  • Black Americans fear the police. Today, abusive encounters with police are caught on video and posted to social media every day. Police brutality remains a common occurrence in black communities. In at least one Department of Justice investigation (which likely would not have occurred under a [] Trump), the City of Chicago Police Department was found guilty of systemic abuse of its black residents.
This chart reveals the extraordinary challenge America faces in empowering nonwhite minority populations to become job creators versus dependent upon the jobs produced by a private sector that has resisted diversity and inclusion efforts of the workforce for generations. The highest growth in entrepreneurship is among black and Hispanic entrepreneurs, but their business productivity is stunted due to segregationist policies and practices that stem from the education pipeline. (Chart by Mike Green)

Americans Choose Segregation

When [] Trump suggested black Americans should support him he said: “What the hell do you have to lose?” The legitimate question isn’t what do black Americans have to lose. Black people started out in white America with nothing but hope of citizenship. They were greeted with hostility and treated as outcasts. They were marginalized and attacked in every imaginable way possible. The real question is what do black Americans have to gain? And that’s been the question/struggle ever since.

White segregationists, seeking to “maintain the status quo,” have repeatedly stalled, stunted and thwarted every effort to move the nation toward its own creed and promise enshrined in the Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Klan members march through Queens in May 1927, Donal Trump’s father among them.  (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Today, Trump and Trump-like characters defend and maintain the status quo of segregation while ironically pointing to the outcomes of their policies and practices that have destroyed black communities and undermined opportunity and progress for black Americans as evidence of a need for their leadership. Hillary Clinton was correct when she pointed out the failure of the education system, which is managed at state and local levels by segregationists.

“The truth is equality, opportunity, civil rights in America are still far from where they need to be. Our schools are still segregated, in fact, more segregated than they were in the 1960s.” (Hillary Clinton on June 23, 2015 speaking at a black church near Ferguson, Missouri; Politifact rated this claim “mostly true.”)

“It’s true that segregation for blacks is worse today than it was in 1968.” Gary Orfield, UCLA professor and lead author of the 2014 Civil Rights Project Report.

America today remains a racially segregated society. With Trump in the White House, all he needs to do to please his core constituency is maintain the status quo. That’s the exact description of the crime Dr. King charged the mayor of Birmingham and white church leaders with in 1963. Of course, today Trump would have to roll back some of the progressive measures, policies and practices established under the Obama presidency to fulfill his promises.

Sadly, the clash of past exclusionary policies and practices (Before Obama) with a future promise of an inclusive society (Post Obama) is where the country faces a historic crossroads under a [] Trump. With an outgoing highly successful black president, this was the momentous opportunity in American history for the nation to choose which path it will take, continue forward or revert backward. The election of Trump suggests any progress toward an inclusive society must develop from the grass roots or wait for another political opportunity at the national level.

Dr. King would not be pleased, as this excerpt from his famous letter suggests:

“Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”

Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever

The issue of a segregationist society today is still the preeminent battleground over which Americans quietly elect leaders at the local, state and national levels. This issue is as important today as it was in 1963 when King wrote about it and Governor George Wallace was its champion.

Segregation today speaks directly to systemic biases inherent in local, state and national institutions, laws, policies and practices versus individual attitudes, relationships and anomalous examples of some who have found success despite sustained chronic conditions. The denial of access and opportunity to targeted masses of peoples is ingrained in segregationist systems. And it is these systems of segregation that require a fervent and unrelenting attention to disrupt. Dr. King believed in such an approach.

The word “segregation,” or some form thereof, was written by King 18 times in his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail on April 1963. So, why do we fail to consistently analyze our society today for evidence of the “disease of segregation” that gave rise to a nationwide Civil Rights Movement?

And why would any white American presume that the common ground of quality education, access to economic opportunities and equal justice is owned exclusively by whites? Yet, this is the default position from which [] Trump espouses a rash of mostly incoherent messages tossed down upon the masses from his ivory tower in New York City. His message to black Americans, particularly, is most troubling. It’s as though he has no memory of the part he and his father have played in the larger effort to maintain the status quo.

Questioning America’s Health

Watching this election process unfold throughout 2016 was surreal. It’s as if the vast majority of white Americans have no knowledge of their own hate-filled hostile history. I’m constantly amazed at how little white America actually knows about the extraordinary damages it has inflicted upon black Americans through each generation. In each generation across 15 decades since passage of the 14th amendment established black people as “Americans” in 1868, the majority of present-day white Americans have expressed an embarrassing naivete about the plight of black people in this nation that reveals the power inherent in keeping them segregated in bubbles of white suburbia. Myths and stereotypes about black Americans pumped daily into the bubble by educators, journalists, professionals, pastors and politicians flood the minds of many white Americans with such an inane perspective of reality that far too many perceive most black Americans as purveyors of their own plight.

  • What happened to this “disease of segregation” to which King referred to 18 times in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail in 1963? Did it magically dissipate following his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington DC later that summer?
  • Was segregation eradicated after congress was compelled to push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Did it become a thing of the past when John Lewis took a beating on the Edmond Pettis Bridge in 1965?
  • Did segregation take its last breath when congress pushed through the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965, or die when the Watts riots broke out in Los Angeles just a few days later?
  • Was segregation still around in 1968 when Dr. King was gunned down at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, after he had stood in solidarity with black sanitation workers protesting deplorable working conditions and mistreatment?
  • April 4, 1968 … is that the day segregation died alongside Dr. Martin Luther King? Or did the disease live on, having metastasized throughout the entire body of this nation, infecting every generation since?

The fault line of societal segregation and systemic racism was so clear to Dr. King and John Lewis in the 1960s it is difficult to understand how blurred it has seemingly become today to tens of millions of white Americans, when the very same set of facts that existed in that era exists today.

In the same manner in which white Americans deliberately saturated their local, state and national political power structure with segregationists in the 50s and 60s, we see demonstrative evidence of exactly that sort of political backlash throughout Barack Obama’s presidency and in its wake as he prepares to leave office this week.

Since so many Americans have lost perspective of this nation’s fundamental story over the past 50 years (or lack awareness of the facts), let’s be clear on what segregation is and the data that supports its existence and influence.

Questioning the Defenders of the Status Quo

America was founded upon the principle of segregation, which is designed to systematically and legally provide privileges to white Americans over all others. Segregation is a principle of racial division and hierarchy. It values white Americans as superior to all other citizens and establishes laws, policies and practices that permeate every sector of society as a means by which to sustain the power structure.

Here’s how King viewed any law that upheld segregation. Excerpt from King’s Birmingham jail letter:

“Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful.”

Dr. Martin Luther King’s arrest in Birmingham, Alabama (April 12, 1963)

Most white Americans today would profusely denounce segregation and deny any allegiance to it or affiliation with it. But, if we look at segregation from the perspective of Dr. King, we will tend to view those who uphold and maintain the status quo of systems and institutions of power as segregationists, even if they are not racists or racially motivated in doing so.

Since our nation was founded upon the bedrock of segregation, with a power hierarchy of white males over all others, male or female, then most assuredly all the institutions of education, power, wealth and influence today were built upon the same segregationist foundation that the Civil Rights Movement was unsuccessful in disrupting.

King wrote: “We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights.”

Segregation and the White Christian Church

Segregation has been around for centuries in America. It has become so entrenched in society that tens of millions of white Christian Americans attending churches in their communities today are enveloped in a socioeconomic segregationist bubble that prevents them from knowing virtually anything about black Christian Americans, even down to similar music in the gospel genre, which is ironically segregated along racial lines. This divisive paradigm in the church is by design. And only by strategically designed efforts can it be disrupted.

Technology today has made it much easier for individuals to proactively learn more about peoples and cultures and histories from which they have been segregated. But to disrupt the system of segregation requires an additional layer of resolve that includes a more strategic policy level approach. Unfortunately, there are also professing Christians today in America who seek to sustain the status quo; they are Christian segregationists.

Dr. King wrote his letter from the Birmingham jail directly to white Christian leaders with strong criticism:

“I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: ‘Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother.’

In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: ‘Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.’ And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.”

Combating 21st Century American Segregationists

Anyone seeking to preserve and maintain the status quo of America’s systems of segregated power, wealth and influence seeks to safeguard segregation, which is the foundation upon which all of America’s educational and economic systems, institutions, policies and societal practices were developed in the formation and evolution of this nation.

Conversely, anyone who seeks to disrupt segregationist systems, institutions, policies and practices is motivated to ensure progress of these systems, institutions, policies and practices toward a “fair, just and inclusive America,” as President Obama declared in his farewell speech on Jan. 10, 2017.

King agrees with Obama.

Right-wing conservatism today is a political philosophy equivalent to seeking to preserve the status quo. In other words, it is a euphemism for segregation, which was, and continues to be, the status quo. This is the core domain of Trump and the Republican Leadership. If Dr. King were here today he would likely march with Black Lives Matter activists and others who take a stand against the status quo.

Today, just like yesterday, those who seek to preserve and conserve segregationist policies and practices are enemies to progress and progressive political agendas that pressure the nation toward a “fair, just and inclusive America” (Obama) with the “urgency of now!” (MLK)

Congressman John Lewis vs ‘Illegitimate’ [] Trump

One year ago today, in the aftermath of the nation’s commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the media landscape was filled with news of Congressman John Lewis’ decision to boycott the inauguration of [] Donald Trump. Dozens of other congressional members also chose to follow his lead, some announcing their decisions on Twitter using the hashtag #IStandwithJohnLewis.

Congressman Lewis was clear in his decision to remain absent from the pomp and circumstance on Jan. 20 when he emerged from a classified meeting last week where he heard information that led Congresswoman Maxine Waters to publicly declare the “FBI director has no credibility” and caused Lewis to announce on national TV that he believes Trump is an “illegitimate president,” due to Russia’s meddling in our election.

Congressman John Lewis, iconic leader of America’s Civil Rights conscience.

Trump’s inarticulate Twitter rant predictably followed, with an attempt to lob stereotypical racist grenades that inadvertently exploded in his hand. The media in Atlanta was quick to defend Lewis and offer [Trump] the facts he appears to have overlooked in his hasty assault.

The Tragedy of the Church and the Truth

To some, that was just “Trump being Trump.” And for Americans who want to “Make America Great Again,” anyone who challenges the incoming president under any circumstances is deserving of his hostility. The stalwart support of Trump by tens of millions of white Americans, including millions of right-wing white Christian evangelicals, is an example of the segregationist line that separated the nation when police rained down blows upon John Lewis in 1965 while the FBI, media and white church leaders aligned against Dr. Martin Luther King, a Christian pastor leading a nonviolent Christian movement. King wrote:”Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?”

Indeed, many Americans are worried about our nation and the world today. Trump approaches the day of inauguration with an extraordinarily long trail of scandalous actions, words and relationships that boggle the minds of heads of state around the world, some of whom have expressed incredulity at the idea that the American electorate would tolerate such a “dangerous” “buffoon” in our political leadership, particularly as our president.

Segregationists Win?

Trump has no compunction about attacking anyone and everyone, from Civil Rights icon John Lewis to the Pope himself. There is no doubt that Dr. King would’ve regarded [] Trump a stalwart defender of the status quo of segregation. While King was attempting to disrupt the status quo, Trump was enjoying the privileges of an upscale education at Fordham University and the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania (1964–68). As a student, he did nothing to address the most soul-stirring moral question of the time. Soon thereafter, he would join his father (reportedly a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan) in the real estate business discriminating against black residents and maintain the status quo of segregation.

President Obama and Vice President Biden hug following Obama’s farewell address. This photo represents a portrait of the hope and change Obama sought to bring to the White House and nation. It symbolizes the “Yes We Can” spirit he carried with him and spread throughout his administration. As Obama leaves the national and world stage, he reminds us once again of the prescient words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

Today, MLK is gone. Obama has left office. America now take its next steps with [] Donald Trump. Segregation has scored another victory. But the war isn’t over.

“Yes, we can continue the progress made by the Obama administration.
Yes, we can uplift and empower underrepresented populations across the nation.
Yes, we can invest in new community infrastructure and development of access ramps to opportunity for those who have been steered in the wrong direction for far too long.
Yes, we can build a “fair, just and inclusive America.”

We can do this at the local level. Community by community, city by city, state by state. Let’s say no to segregationists and yes to a future that includes us all.

Let’s build that dream Dr. King revealed to us. That’s the real American Dream.


Mike Green is an award-winning journalist, public speaker and co-founder of ScaleUp Partners LLC. ScaleUp Partners is a leading national consultancy specializing in communications, collaborations and strategies of economic inclusion and competitiveness that empower underrepresented populations to be more productive and competitive in the global tech-innovation economy. Learn more about their new book release, The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness by Johnathan Holifield, former NFL player, civil rights advocate, attorney, co-founder of ScaleUp Partners and architect of Inclusive Competitiveness. Follow Mike on Twitter @aMikeGreen2