Celebrating King and Remembering Jackson’s Hypocrisy

April 4th 1968. I will never forget that day in my life. My mother ran into the house crying hysterically. Although just a child, I knew something horrible had happened. I had never seen mama in this manner. What ever was going on with her had me scared. She blurted out through tears that Dr. King had been killed. I was too young to even know who Dr. King was. I had never heard of him. At first, I thought he must have been the doctor that delivered me or a doctor from the clinic our family went to. I did not realize until I got older that Dr. King was one of the greatest leaders to walk the planet.

Forty years after Dr. King’s assassination, there were several tributes held in his memory. During one tribute, I saw someone else with tears in his eyes. Reverend Jesse Jackson, who worked for King and was present when he was assassinated. I was moved to tears because of the memory of my mother’s pain forty years ago.

When I saw Jackson tear up, I felt disdain because I felt it was insincere. As reported in Ken Timmerman’s book entitled ”Shakedown,” when King was killed, Jackson’s first thought was to smear his shirt with Dr. King’s blood. He proceeded to appear in Chicago the next day on several news programs wearing the same shirt he deliberately smeared with the blood as if he was the heir to King’s movement.

Don’t get me wrong, Reverend Jackson has done a lot of important work this past forty years, so I am not bashing him. Yet, when we remember the impact of the assassination, Jackson’s actions are inexcusable, and people have forgotten that part. Many King insiders say that King did not trust Jackson. Forty years later, I can understand why. Jackson has been perceived as an opportunist and an ambulance chaser. For the last fifteen years, I have personally seen Jackson come not just into Los Angeles but also across the nation uninvited sticking his nose in issues and causes that did not need him. Los Angeles leaders, such as Assembly member Karen Bass, Tavis Smiley, Judge Greg Mathis, John Bryant, myself and many others are battling on the front lines trying to save lives by mentoring our youth.

Jackson is now a multi millionaire having used and turned the King legacy into a lucrative income for himself, family, and cronies. I believe part of King’s greatness was his willingness to mentor and help develop leaders such as Andy Young, Congressman John Lewis, and Jesse Jackson.

Jackson Sr. has not mentored anybody for leadership in his life (his son Congressman Jackson Jr. cannot be included). Jackson has to realize that until he reaches out to help train and pass the baton of leadership to the youth, as King was willing to do for him, he is part of the problem that King fought against and sacrificed his life for.

Najee Ali is Executive Director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E, a national civil rights organization that advocates for human rights of oppressed people regardless of race, gender or religion. He was selected by Wave Newspapers and Our Weekly Newspaper as one of the 25 most influential black leaders in Los Angeles. More information at: www.islamichope.org

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April 10th, 2008 at 11:21 am teradise says:

Great article. WOW! I neevr knew about the blood smearing. It does seem in line with how I have always percieved Rev. Jesse Jackson…an attention seeker with no real agenda.

April 10th, 2008 at 1:42 pm Dwight Taylor says:

Brother Najee, you hit the nail on the head. Individuals who cannot see the transparency of Jackson’s opportunistic actions are in a deep hibernated state of unconsciousness. They see nothing wrong with his actions because their conditioning process was more effective to them opposed to individuals such as you and myself.

His deceitful actions of smearing that blood was enough for any reasonably thinking individual to assess his loyalty and honesty to the people at virtually zero.

April 10th, 2008 at 7:33 pm faheem shuaibe says:

Well said.

April 10th, 2008 at 9:20 pm gospelrider says:

i always knew that jj was a fixture

and he is not the only
that is why i pick my battles
good info
well worth said

April 11th, 2008 at 2:58 pm superjonesy1 says:

Comments on Jackson are so disappointing. Lead on Brother Ali. We need you!

April 12th, 2008 at 2:42 am Rene Cooper says:

I don’t know if I believe the part about Jesse. But I respect your right to beleive it. He hasn’t been perfect but he has done some good along the way.

April 12th, 2008 at 4:59 pm Colleen Carpenter says:

Sad. But true?

April 14th, 2008 at 5:10 am missme says:

cnn just did a real good special on mlk. it was very informative and emotional.

April 14th, 2008 at 11:05 am BrownSugar says:

Good Job!

April 14th, 2008 at 2:14 pm MarieMaye says:

Judge Greg Mathis is an LA leader? First I’m hearing.

April 15th, 2008 at 1:28 pm dollsdaughter says:

Tavis Smiley is a leader? First I’m hearing. LOL. Try a whiner.

April 15th, 2008 at 5:38 pm Najee Ali says:

O.K.lets leave Tavis alone right now. he’s a little sensitive, but has a good heart.

April 15th, 2008 at 10:17 pm Kenneth Boston says:

No disrepect, Najee, but Tavis has repeatedly acted like a girl over this Obama sh*t. No offense, ladies. But you know what I mean. Cried about the State of the Black Union thing and he’s been salty on Obama ever since. Don’t hate cause you ain’t gonna ever be president, man. Let another man shine. Pisses me off.

April 16th, 2008 at 1:58 pm Shannon says:


April 16th, 2008 at 3:58 pm mr izak says:

never trusted jesse- ever. he’s a wack opportunist and i’m glad najee exposing him! do it brotha