FORT WAYNE – Derek King, nephew of the late Martin Luther King Jr., called on the community to stop parenting their children and start raising them as an answer to the continuing violence found in American cities.
King, a professor at Martin University in Indianapolis, spoke at a luncheon at the University of Saint Francis on Tuesday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kings 1963 appearance in Fort Wayne.
Martin Luther King tried to raise the consciousness of three evils: racism, poverty and ignorance, King said.
Some people are still not convinced by what Thomas Jefferson wrote, that all men are created equal, King said. There are still race issues about who is going to live next door and who you are going to go to school with, he said.
Jim Crow has children, he said, but they have taken off their overalls and changed their names to James Crow Esq.
On poverty, King said there are really only two classes: People who have it and those who dont. Theres nothing wrong with wealth and success, King said, but he does have a problem with greed.
We should be ashamed that a considerable portion of the population is living below the poverty line, King said.
King blamed politicians for their inability to solve problems.
Every city has what are called the projects. Well, he said, in the projects, A sister can do more with $20 worth of food stamps than a room full of politicians can do with $200 billion.
King said ignorance is responsible for much of the violence the country is experiencing, and it doesnt take a study committee to sort out the problem.
We have the data, King said. Our children are perpetrating homicides. Weve got to get them to understand the value of human life. Weve got to start raising our kids, not parenting them. Its our fault.
King said when he was growing up, he wasnt sure how many mothers and fathers he had. Martin Luther King was known as Uncle ML, and he had extended parental rights, he said.
He could punish him when he did something wrong. So could his friends mothers, as well as his own mother and father.
I wasnt abused, he said. I was disciplined. My mom and dad ran the house.
Today, parents are afraid of their kids, he said, but parents have to realize that we brought you into this world and we can take you out.
King spoke of his mother, who lived in a shotgun house with a single potbellied stove, stitching different pieces of fabric together to make cloth to cover the windows and keep the house warm in winter. The pieces of cloth were different, but they were held together by a common thread.
People are like that. Higher education alone cant solve problems by itself, he said. Nor can big business, or government, or blacks or whites or Hispanics.
But they are all connected by a common thread, and when stitched together, people can sing the spiritual, Free at Last, he said.