- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2013

The niece of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. says she’s “saddened” by a photo-edited picture of her uncle in a hoodie — a reference to the February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin that’s meant to symbolize solidarity with the 17-year-old, who wore a hooded sweatshirt on the night of his death.

“I think it’s actually very creative, but I’m very saddened because it makes a controversial debate and it takes away from many of the messages of my uncle,” said Alveda King during an interview Thursday morning on “Fox & Friends.”

“I don’t immediately think of [my uncle] saying we must learn to live together as brothers … or perish as fools,” she continued. “When I see that image, I don’t see the love, I don’t see the reconciliation, I don’t see the harmony of knowing that we are one human race. None of his message is conveyed there. The compassion is not there. And yet the anger and the hurt for Trayvon is there.”

Ms. King added that she doesn’t believe her uncle, as a teenager, would have worn a hoodie. The piece of clothing has become a symbol and a topic of national conversation since Trayvon was killed and since George Zimmerman was acquitted last week of murder charges in connection with Trayvon’s death.

In March 2012, a month after Trayvon was killed, Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Illinois Democrat, wore a hoodie on the House floor in Trayvon’s memory. Just this week, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen stoked the flames further by describing a hoodie as the “uniform” of criminals.

“It’s what’s worn by a whole lot of thugs,” he said in an interview with Politico. “Look in the newspapers, online or on television: You see a lot of guys in the mugshots wearing hoodies.”

SEE ALSO: Alveda King: MLK’s niece says stop the ‘race-baiting’ with Zimmerman verdict

Meanwhile, numerous websites continue to sell Trayvon Martin tribute hoodies. Spreadshirt.com, for example, is offering a black hoodie with the message “Recreational hoodie wearer: Please don’t shoot” written across the front.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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