In a recent piece in The Atlantic, I urged top black athletic recruits to attend historically black colleges. One of the more absurd criticisms I received afterward was that Martin Luther King Jr.—a graduate of Morehouse College—wouldn’t approve of such a suggestion.
Bad enough that I was called a racist. A segregationist. Even a black supremacist —whatever that is. Worse still, by daring to challenge black athletes to redirect their talents to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), I was somehow betraying King, along with the color-blind vision he supposedly laid out in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. One reader sent me a screenshot of that speech, insisting that I read it and take notes.
Then they have lingered for hours or days over the most significant collection of photographs depicting African-American life in the 20th century.
In one folder, there is Coretta Scott King, cradling her daughter Bernice from a pew at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. In another, Billie Holiday stands on a city sidewalk with a cigarette and a faraway expression. One box holds a black-and-white print of Ray Charles hanging out with a Chicago nightclub owner and playing dominoes, as the typewritten caption noted, “by feel.”