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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Timely Message to Alabama A&M President Wims, Board of Trustees

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on November 1, 2023


An Editorial Opinion


Before he was assassinated in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke candidly about how poor white European immigrants arriving in America got 160 acres of free land per recipient to build a homestead and wealth in this country. Dr. King was talking about the Homestead Act of 1862, which was a 124-year-long federal program that awarded 270 million acres of free land to nearly 3 million white immigrants from 1862 to 1986.


The land was part of the 1.5 billion acres that was forcefully seized from Native-Americans in the 1800s.


The Homestead Act of 1862 was the largest and longest wealth transfer program in U.S. history. This subject is rarely discussed in American history books or taught in public schools.


I dedicate the one-minute video below to the weak and compromised president and trustees of Alabama A&M University. In the video, Dr. King talks about the land grant college system that was established to teach the newly arriving white peasants from Europe how to farm their free land in America.


In 1872, Auburn University was designated as Alabama's land grant university for white students. In 1891, Alabama A&M was designated as the land grant institution for black students under the state's "separate but equal" system of higher education.


Alabama A&M's president and trustees have steadfastly failed and refused to go to the State Capitol in Montgomery to collect the university's check for $527,280,064. This $527,280,064 is the amount of money the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture told Gov. Kay Ivey (in a September 18, 2023, letter) is due and owing to Alabama A&M because the state underfunded the university during the last 30 years.


Dr. King was my childhood pastor, Sunday School teacher, and Baptist Training Union instructor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery during th early 1950s. Listen to Dr. King's words and feel his passion as he talks about going to get the check that is due and owing our people.


By the way, Dr. King spent far more time in jail cells throughout the South than I ever did. Sometimes the price we must pay for advancing and protecting our civil, economic, educational, constitutional, and voting rights is jail time. You can look at the landmark cases I litigated as a civil rights attorney in Alabama and tell that I have never been afraid to pay this price to secure freedom and dignity for African-Americans and women.


President Wims and A&M Trustees, stop being cowards. Go to Montgomery and get Alabama A&M University's check for $527,280,064! We don't need another sellout by a bunch of modern-day, weak-kneed "Negroes."

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Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Nov 01, 2023

Ignorance can be cured with education. There is no known cure for Uncle Tom cowardice.

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Kamar Jones
Kamar Jones
Nov 01, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I think Dr. King was referring to a form of reparations. When you look deeper into this topic, it is clear that black slaves in America were left out of any form of significant assistance, including former slave owners receiving compensation for their lost of "property".

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Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Nov 01, 2023
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This passage also discusses the role of land grant universities. While they were racially segregated in the state, Alabama A&M was never provided equitable funding.

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