By Craig Johnson
This weekend marks the 88th anniversary of the birth of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929). It also marks the 119th anniversary of the famous letter, “J’accuse!” It was written by influential French writer, Emile Zola, and published in the French newspaper, L’Aurore, on January 13, 1898.
Zola wrote the open letter to Felix Faure, President of France. “J’accuse” is French for “I accuse”. Zola accused President Faure of antisemitism in the unfair charging and convicting of French Army staff officer Alfed Dreyfus. The charge was espionage, which carried a sentence of life in prison on the infamous South American penal colony, Devil’s Island. Since the letter’s publication, even in English speaking nations, “J’accuse!” has become synonymous with expressing outrage and accusation against the powerful.
My pronouncement of “J’accuse” is against the many “poverty pimp politicians” and “pulpit pimp preachers” who this weekend will lionize Dr. King with their lips while their actions are counter to all that Dr. King stood for.