by Carl Wendell Hines Jr.
Now that he is safely dead, Let us praise him. Build monuments to his glory. Sing Hosannas to his name. Dead men make such convenient heroes. For they cannot rise to challenge the images That we might fashion from their lives. It is easier to build monuments Than to build a better world. So now that he is safely dead, We, with eased consciences will Teach our children that he was a great man, Knowing that the cause for which he Lived is still a cause And the dream for which he died is still a dream. A dead man’s dream.
Carl Wendell Hines Jr. (b. 1940) wrote this poem in 1965 after the assassination of Malcolm X, but it is often associated with the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.