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)