Lunchtime Photo

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 89 today. It’s striking to think that if he hadn’t been killed 50 years ago, he might still be alive today. Would the civil rights movement have progressed differently if he had been part of it for the past half century? King was already losing influence when he was assassinated, and there’s no telling how he would have addressed that; how he would have evolved; or what influence he would have maintained. Would he have prevented the movement from turning to violence? Would that have lowered the temperature of the white backlash? Would we be further along the moral arc of the universe than we are?

I have to imagine he would have made a difference. At the same time, racial hatred is so deeply embedded in the souls of so many whites that it’s unlikely anything—or anybody—could have turned it aside by more than a few hairs. This has always been obvious, but the past year has made it even more obvious than ever. We have so far yet to go.

This picture may look like it’s from deep in the Amazon jungle, but it was actually taken at the Sand Canyon Wash, a smallish wildlife preserve near UC Irvine. The cross belongs to a Methodist church across the street.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.