Martin Luther King, Jr., On Trial for Being a Communist

-By Warner Todd Huston

What was the first thing that ran through your head when you read that headline?

Did it confuse you? Maybe you were shocked? Perhaps you were even angered? I am sure a few even said something like “At last” or “about time”?

It is well known that MLK hung around Communists, even “card carrying” ones. It is also well known that he had some as his close advisors. It is not completely ascertainable if he, himself, was a believer in Communism.

But, in reality, it doesn’t matter a whit if he did because he did not openly speak out for Communism and did not base his position on the ideology of Communism.

He instead used the Bible and common Christian doctrine and ideals to shed light on the cause of advancing civil rights.

So, his relative stance on Communism is not very germane to his success as a civil rights advocate or his status as an American Icon.

Furthermore, whether we like it or not, the verdict was still out to a degree on whether Communism might work in that late 1950s and early 1960s when MLK first began his crusade. There were many thinkers and philosophers who still thought that it just might work if only it were “tried right”. Truth is, it was a legitimate position to hold at the time, that communism might still work — at least it was easier to justify a belief in Communism in the 50s and 60s than it is now, as Communism has finally been proven completely untenable.

So, even if MLK did think Communism were a possibly valid idea, he could be excused. After all, a great number of highly placed people in governments and academia all across the world then thought Communism a good thing.

Regardless, it did not openly or obviously figure in his activities.

All this is to explain why putting Martin Luther King, Jr. on trial for Communism is an absurd waste of time, does not fit with his legacy in total, and would besmirch the man for no real legitimate reason.

But the Community College of Aurora doesn’t seem to want to treat another famous American known for his civil rights legacy in a similar manner. No this college wants to put another famous civil rights crusader on trial … but instead of Communism they want to accuse him of racism!

As an aside, I didn’t even know “racism” was a punishable offence, one that a “trial” could adjudicate?

In any case, the victim of this politically correct stupidity is Abraham Lincoln.

That’s right, you heard that correctly. Honest Abe, the Great Emancipator is going on trial for racism!

And college “professors” wonder why more and more Americans are beginning to view them as anti-American cretins!

There are several things that make this mock trial idiotic.

  • Abe Lincoln became famous for his “Cooper Union” speech in which he was a vocal advocate for a curbing of slavery.
  • Abe Lincoln also was famous for his Illinois debates with Senator Stephen Douglas during which he took a basic anti-slavery position — though it admittedly was a fine line he walked.
  • Abe Lincoln pushed through the Emancipation Proclamation despite advisors saying he should not do so — yes it was a war measure, but no other president had gone so far as he to attack thee institution of slavery.
  • The most famous black man in America, Frederick Douglas, said that Lincoln was essential to Negro freedom–even as he got over his initial suspicion of the president.
  • Blacks the country over considered him their Father Abraham — were they all just stupid, Aurora college?

More ridiculously, a statistically unmeasureable number of white people (unmeasurable because it was so small) thought blacks were equal in any way with whites. So, even the steps Lincoln took were so far above the common desire of his voting countrymen that it was amazing for its audacity.

And, worse, anyone who has studied Lincoln enough would come to the conclusion that, while he may not have thought they were able to be equal, he was not a racist in the way people THEN were racists.

Today’s way of defining racism simply does not translate to the 1860s. In fact, our definition or racism cannot translate to that of any period until just before MLK stepped onto the national scene.

It is just as idiotic to hold Lincoln a “racist” and defame his actions and life’s work up until the 1860s as it would be to use the Communist brush to smear everything MLK ever did in the 1960s.

Aurora Community College should be ashamed of this stupid exercise. And the taxpayers of Colorado should demand an explanation.

Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as,, men’ and among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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