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Mr. President, read this sermon by Martin Luther King Jr.

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Marchers in Atlanta carry signs honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 16, 2017. (Branden Camp/Associated Press) © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post Marchers in Atlanta carry signs honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 16, 2017. (Branden Camp/Associated Press)

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Before issuing his hypocritical Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday proclamation and displaying his racism with references to “shithole countries” such as El Salvador, Haiti and African nations generally, President Trump should have read — or had read to him — King’s “Birth of a New Nation” sermon delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., on April 7, 1957.

Trump would have learned much from King’s sermon about colonialism and exploitation and the new, independent nations that were about to be born across Africa. He would have heard King preach, “that for years and for centuries, Africa has been one of the most exploited continents in the history of the world.”

Instead of disrespecting people of color, an American president celebrating “King Day” in 2018 should have been informed that it was Europeans who exploited Africans and sold them into slavery. He would have understood why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. started weeping, crying for joy, as he stood in Accra in March 1957 and watched the Union Jack come down and the new flag of Ghana go up — signifying the change from British colony to a free sovereign people.

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All of that is lost on the president of the United States — the painful struggle for African independence and the sacrifices of African leaders to build from scratch economies that would stand up in the free world.

Ironically, but with justice, it fell to Nana Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana to denounce Trump’s vulgar, racist insults, calling the the American president’s language “extremely unfortunate.” Indeed. Other nations on the continent, such as Botswana, went further, calling Trump’s remarks “irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”

But what does Trump know about Ghana’s 60-year-old constitutional democracy with its market-based economy and $43 billion gross domestic product that he calls a “shithole”?

Or of Botswana, only independent since 1966, but with $7 billion of reserves of foreign exchange and gold?

Trump is vision-less, guided by prejudice and ignorance.

King, in that pulpit in Montgomery, saw another vision in the struggle for justice in the developing world and the United States in 1957.

“As you struggle for justice, you do not struggle alone. But God struggles with you. … That’s the beauty of this thing,” King said, “all flesh shall see it together. Not from some heights [of rich neighborhoods] and others from the dungeons of slum areas. Not some from the pinnacles of the British Empire and some from the dark deserts of Africa” he preached. “Not some white and not some black, not some yellow and not some brown, but all flesh shall see it together. They shall see it from Montgomery. They shall see it from New York. They shall see it from Ghana.”

Trump sees none of that, holding firm to his lack of respect for the dignity and worth of all people.


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