Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones managed to give Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the birthday tribute he deserved â€• and threw shade at critics of Critical Race Theory in the process.
On Monday, Hannah-Jones, the author of the bestselling book, â€œThe 1619 Project,â€ posted a Twitter thread explaining that she was invited to give a speech about Dr. King, only to have a small number of members of the group hosting her claiming that her presence dishonored the Civil Rights icon.
Hannah-Jones decided the best response would be to quote Dr. King accurately, by reading excerpts from his speeches without mentioning it explicitly.
â€œAnd, whew, child, it was AMAZING,â€ she said.
First, Hannah-Jones noted that King noted, like her, that â€œ1619â€ was the year the first Black slaves were brought to America against their will. She also said she purposely used the term â€œBlackâ€ instead of â€œnegro,â€ as was common in Dr. Kingâ€™s time to prevent people from making the connection before her big reveal.
Hannah-Jones said the audience didnâ€™t seem comfortable hearing a ringing endorsement toward ending systemic racism and promoting democratic socialism â€• and had no idea she was quoting King.
â€œWhen I revealed that everything I said to that point was taken from his speeches between â€™56 and 67… Can you say SHOOK!â€ she tweeted.
Hannah-Jones said she then noted all the insulting terms â€œwhite Americansâ€ called Dr. King when he was still alive, and just how controversial a figure he was.
Hannah-Jones said she told her audience that the real Dr. King canâ€™t be white-washed and that â€œpeople who oppose today what he stood for back then do not get to be the arbiters of his legacy.â€