Cornel West sat on a panel, titled Poverty in America, at George Washington University in Washington D.C. last week, and readily expressed his upset and disappointment that President Obama would be sworn in during the 57th Inauguration using Martin Luther King Jr.’s bible. Mr. West was clear in stating that using Dr. King Jr.’s bible brought in “political calculation,â€ and “made his blood boil.â€
“I got upset because you don’t play with Martin Luther King Jr. and you don’t play with his people,â€ said West. “By his people I mean, people of good conscious, fundamentally committed to peace and truth and justice, and especially the Black tradition that produced it.â€
Known for his activism in racial, religious and political issues, the current Princeton professor feels that the use of the late Dr. King’s bible diminishes everything King stood for and shows a blatant disrespect for his work. According to Cornel West, “using Martin’s bible is personal to me … it’s a tradition that is connected to my grandmother’s prayers and my mother’s tears and my father’s smile.â€
See his thoughts in their entirety below.