Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., was on Fox & Friends when she was asked to comment on a recent op-ed from Time magazine, Ferguson: In Defense Of Rioting by Darlena Cunha, that defends the notion that “riots are a necessary part of the evolution of society” because racism is still alive and well in this country. King called the riots in the St. Louis suburb “an unnecessary evil” that does not have a connection to the civil rights protests of the 1950’ and 60’s. During those times, she said:
There was an imbalance of luxury, even in those days, and we were people who were oppressed, firebombed, called names, and all of that. But our response was never violence. There were rioters, of course.
King suggested, from a first-hand account, that many of the troublemakers were not Ferguson citizens, but rather outside agitators taking advantage of the opportunity to destroy and steal:
But those who are not choosing violence, I would not say they are living in luxury, but they are using their prayers, they are using their words, they are using peaceful resolution, and that is really sane and sensible.
Dr. King made a parallel observation with the original Boston Tea Party in 1773 in defiance of the Tea Act:
Tea was dumped into the harbor, but no lives were harmed and no stores were bombed, or burned or firebombed.
Dr. King cited the example of an African-American woman in Ferguson whose store was firebombed during the riots:
I think basically she asked the question, ‘How would this get justice for Michael? Am I supposed to be a sacrificial lamb in this thing?’ During my lifetime and during the times that I marched or went to jail, or my father, A.D. King, or my uncle Martin, we were asking people not to riot, but to use our words and use peaceful protest.
Image credit: Fox News Channel screenshot
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.