The Acorn

Volume 22, Issue 1, Spring 2022

Amir Jaima
Pages 5-32

The Untold Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Cyborg
On the Post/Super/In-Human Conditions of Black (Anti)Heroism

Heroism presumes “humanity.” Black candidates for heroism in the United States, however, must often overcompensate for the presumed sub-humanity imposed upon them by the American popular imaginary. By way of an illustration, consider the instructive case of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who, arguably, attains the status of (Black) American Hero in spite of his Blackness. Through a unique account of the life of Dr. King, I will argue that King attains the requisite overcompensation necessary for (Black) American heroism by becoming what João Costa Vargas and Joy James call a Baldwinian Cyborg, a “super human with unnatural capacities to suffer and love.” I will present, here, a literary narrative that weaves speculative fiction into the interstices of the historical record in order to contend that the Black Cyborg is necessary in a world where white Americans are “human” but Black citizens remain aspirations.