Should deceased rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.’s monuments and statutes be torn down as has happened to the monuments and statues of other historical figures?
Speaking Friday evening about dark new revelations regarding King’s allegedly shady past, Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested that perhaps they should for the sake of fairness and consistency.
Why? Because according to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Garrow, evidence suggests that MLK had a history of engaging in marital affairs and laughing in the face of rape.
Listen via FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight“:
“David Garrow wrote a Pulitzer prize-winning biography of King,” Carlson explained. “Now in a new piece for Standpoint Magazine, Garrow describes newly released FBI documents which summarize secret recordings the FBI once made of King.”
“The recordings allegedly reveal extensive extramarital affairs … and one episode where King looked on and laughed while one of his companions raped a woman. Should we reassess our view of Martin Luther King?”
As a conservative who believes that “heroes” should be defined by their contributions to American society, not by their own personal shortcomings, of course Carlson believes this new information shouldn’t be held against MLK. But still …
“We have seen a whole bunch of different heroes in American dethroned and in some cases literally statues knocked over, Thomas Jefferson [is a] great example,” he said to his guest, left-wing University of Maryland professor Jason Nichols.
Students at Hofstra University demand removal of Thomas Jefferson statue, saying he’s an icon for white supremacists pic.twitter.com/fTPMoieOvT
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 27, 2018
“Does this – I’m assuming all of this is true because we knew some of it before – should it really change how we view Martin Luther King in his role in American history? Should we knock his statues down because of this? I don’t think we should,” he continued.
Nichols initially replied by arguing that Garrow’s claims are technically unconfirmed, meaning no decisions should be made at this point in time. That however wasn’t the point of Carlson’s question.
“We often learn that people we revere for their role in history are deeply flawed. And there is actual evidence that King was deeply flawed and was a philanderer. I think we can say that,” Carlson explained.
“I’m just saying, should we define — I just think the principle is worth standing up for — should we define a man’s life by his worst moments, or should we take three steps back and assess his place in the sweep of history, and I’m making the case on behalf of Thomas Jefferson, as well as Martin Luther King?”
And therein lay the point. Like Carlson noted earlier, over the past couple years a number of renowned figures in history — including America’s Founding Fathers — have faced post-mortem abuse, for a lack a better word, because of their sins, e.g., their ownership of slaves.
Last year a statue of Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia was vandalized:
DEVELOPING OVERNIGHT: Sitting statue of Thomas Jefferson on the Lawn at UVA has been vandalized. “Racist + Rapist” are spray painted on the statue. pic.twitter.com/MTwBmZhIqS
— NBC29 (@NBC29) April 13, 2018
A year earlier the statue of an American Revolutionary War hero was decapitated:
— Charles R. Smith? (@softwarnet) August 25, 2017
That same year a CNN commentator argued that the statues of every Founding Father needs to be removed.
“George Washington was a slave owner,” commentator Angela Rye said. “We need to call them out for what they are, whether we think they were protecting American freedom or not. He wasn’t protecting my freedoms. My ancestors weren’t deemed human beings to him. And so to me, I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or a Thomas Jefferson statue, they all need to come down.”
If their statues need to be removed because they once owned slaves, then what should happen to the statues of King, a man who once allegedly laughed as a rape occurred in front of him? That’s the real question that Carlson wanted answered.
“Yeah, well, so with Dr. King, I will say this. I believe that we should not tear down all of his statues,” Nichols replied.
It’s unclear what he meant by that. He continued by arguing that those Americans who’re offended by King’s past should consider erecting new monuments for other, less-known civil rights heroes.
“[A] lot of times [MLK’s] image obscures so many other people in the civil rights movement, and I would say actually the most important person to the civil rights movement was not Dr. King. It was Ella Baker,” he said.
“So I think if anything if you want to change some things, if some people in a particular community are not comfortable with Dr. King’s image, then they should put up other civil rights heroes, particularly local civil rights heroes.”
Maybe those critical of the Founding Fathers could likewise erect more statues of the people who played a pivotal role in bringing slavery to an end?
Slavery abolitionist Frederick Douglass Honored With Capitol Statue http://t.co/mnnw9h31t6
— BET (@BET) June 21, 2013
Carlson then posed a final question to Nichols
“So when your kids get to high school, they will learn that the most important thing about Thomas Jefferson is he may have fathered a child with Sally Hemmings. They’ll say that he did, though we don’t actually know that. But they’ll kind of leave out the fact that he sort of created the United States. Should your kids also learn that the most important thing about Martin Luther King is that he had a weird personal life? I don’t think they should,” he asked.
“I one hundred percent agree that we need to learn everything about, even if we are talking about Thomas Jefferson, some of the good things that he did in creating our republic and some of the bad things,” Nichols replied.
“The thing is we can’t leave out the things that he did wrong, and I think, you know, one of the things that we need to understand is who our founders were. And some of the ideals. And that way we can create a more perfect union. I certainly believe that we should learn about the good things and also not leave out the bad things.”
OK, fair enough …
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