Today the United States honors Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday. This time last year we shared this photo of King with wife Coretta Scott at Ghana’s Independence day celebrations in March 1957, and recalled King’s 1963 words on unified black struggles. A year after making that speech, King was in London where he denounced the apartheid regime and called for sanctions against the white South African government.
It’s worth noting that while MLK acknowledges the shared fight against racism across continents, he’s also clear about the differences between the struggle against the South African apartheid regime and the African-American struggle in the U.S.
“Clearly there is much in Mississippi and Alabama to remind South Africans of their own country, yet even in Mississippi we can organise to register Negro voters, we can speak to the press, we can in short organise the people in non-violent action. But in South Africa even the mildest form of non-violent resistance meets with years of imprisonment, and leaders over many years have been restricted and silenced and imprisoned. We can understand how in that situation people felt so desperate that they turned to other methods, such as sabotage.” (read the full speech here).