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2:40 PM, January 16th, 2012

But it’s also worth remembering that it was not always this way. King was widely reviled in his lifetime, attacked as a troublemaker, a liar, a con man and a communist.

These smears are part of his legacy as well. They remind us that even American icons were once demonized and derided. And when we whitewash history into simplicity, we lose a sense of the real struggle that can inspire endurance today.

John Avlon on how Dr. King’s been whitewashed. (Photo: William Lovelace / Getty Images)

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