Why Martin Luther King Had a 75 Percent Disapproval Rating in the Year of His Death

His Crusade to Confront Economic Injustice and the Vietnam War Angered Whites, While Younger Black Activists Had Lost Patience With His Nonviolent Tactics

According to an early 1968 Harris Poll, the man whose half-century of martyrdom we celebrate this week died with a public disapproval rating of nearly 75 percent, a figure shocking in its own day and still striking even in today’s highly polarized political climate.

White racial resentment was still a critical factor at that point. But Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s unfavorable numbers were at least 25 points higher in 1968 than in 1963, and his faltering appeal over the final years of his life was also a consequence of appearing …

The March Against the March

We've Forgotten Just How Risky the March on Washington Felt in 1963

In the days and weeks following the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, the nation’s newspaper editorial pages breathed a collective sigh of relief. The papers …

I Talked My Way Into the March on Washington

A Veteran AP Reporter on the Day That Changed America and Launched Her Career

Through the years, when I tell people that I covered the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, they often ask, “Did you know?”

They mean: Did I know I was present …

Civil Rights Are Yesterday

It’s Time For a New Approach To Social Justice

When I was a child growing up in the 1970s, I learned to revere Martin Luther King Jr. and the power of civil rights. Many of us felt that a …