U-M Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers has long believed that King should be celebrated as a person and as an edifice, rather than putting him on a pedestal or giving him superhuman qualities.
“I think when we do that, we let ourselves off the hook and assume he was never afraid or that he must have been perfect,” Sellers said. “When you think in that way, I think you tend to believe, ‘I don’t have to do anything,’ because it seems so daunting to live up to that.
“To really understand his story and experience, you need to realize it was never him alone,” he added. “His most effective efforts to move forward and push for civil rights were always done within a much larger organization or series of organizations with a lot of people involved in grassroots efforts who often paid large prices.”