40 years after his assassination: What if King had lived? | world | Hindustan Times
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40 years after his assassination: What if King had lived?

world Updated: Apr 04, 2008 11:40 IST

The preacher in him would have continued speaking out against injustice, war and maybe even pop culture. He would likely not have run for president. He probably would have endured more harassment from J Edgar Hoover.

Four decades after the Rev Martin Luther King Jr Fell to an assassin's bullet, colleagues and biographers offer many answers to the question: What if he had lived?

For his children, however, the speculation is more personal. They know their lives would have turned out differently had they had their beloved father to guide and teach them.

Instead, history moves on, remaking the world in myriad ways. America has grappled with issues of race and inequity without the benefit of King's evolving wisdom. A generation has come of age celebrating him in a national holiday, like other figures of the frozen past.

But given the trajectory of his life - from his appearance on the national scene during the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott of 1955 to his death on a second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968 - some of those closest to him have a good idea what King might be doing now, and where we might be as a country.

In the months before his death, King was speaking out against the growing US involvement in Vietnam and was working with other civil rights leaders on a Poor People's Campaign, with a march on Washington scheduled for that May. He was in Memphis that spring day to support striking sanitation workers.

Were King alive today, the disciple of Mahatma Gandhi would most certainly be speaking out against the Iraq War, says King biographer David J.