Examine if Dr. King's historical reputation changed over time.  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The original question had to be edited down.  I invite you to resubmit the different parts as separate questions.  I think that Dr. King's historical reputation over time has acquired an almost mythic status.  Dr. King has become the figure most synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement.  His spreading of non- violence as a means of social change and embracing a grass roots approach to democratic change have become the base elements of discussing activism in the United States. Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech has become the standard by which all teaching and instruction of the Civil Rights Movement takes place.  In contrast the controversy and sharp division that Dr. King's presence evoked in the national consciousness of the time period, he has become sanctified, almost deified, in his historical treatment.

It is interesting to note here that Dr. King's opposition to the Vietnam War and his war on economic conditions that prevented the full embrace of his dream are not as heavily noted in his historical analysis.  His reputation glances over the powerful issues that he pivoted towards the end of his life.  The fact that he was in Memphis that fateful week to support sanitation workers in their strike for better wages is a part of this narrative.  Dr. King seemed to move towards a position whereby economic justice was viewed as critical  for racial justice to be achieved.  This is not a part of his narrative that is as mythologized in his historical reputation.

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