Written a year before his death, Chaos or Community?, King is very much still in favor of non-violent protest, but he is far more pessimistic about how quickly true equality can happen. While critical of separatism and the Black Power movement of the time as self defeating and unrealistic in a society where people of all colors are economically interdependent, he is highly critical of Whites who pay lip service to equality but when it comes to Black families moving into their neighborhoods, working along side of them, or marrying their sons and daughters, their enlightened attitudes quickly evaporate.
The subject matter of the book - including King's take on Black Power, white backlash, northern racism and the Vietnam War - is tough. Yet, the power of his soul force - his unique, courageously lonely and transcendent morality - is inspiring. As you read it, it is very hard not to sense his sense of his impending demise, which makes it such an important book for us all to appreciate.
No idea where all my notes went, but Dr. King cites lots of economic evidence in favor of a Basic Universal (aka Citizen's) Income. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was working for not only Negro civil rights, but for economic rights for all poor people when he was cut down prematurely. Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
The book explores King's vision for the future of the Civil Rights movement at a critical time. In his book, King emphasizes the need for social and economic justice and for political power among the disadvantaged, both black and white. Thus, in the opening chapter, "Where Are We", King describes the success of the movement from 1955-1965 in securing the enactment of the Civil Rights and Voting Acts. Without downplaying the importance of these accomplishments, King points out that they have been insufficient to bring justice to African Americans in terms of housing, jobs, political power, and human dignity. In the third chapter, "Racism and the White Backlash" King examines the conflicted history of the United States from American revolutionary days with the commitment to democracy resting uneasily with slavery and then with racism. In this chapter, among other things, King proposes to fight poverty, among whites and blacks, by eliminating it directly rather than working around it. In the book's final chapter, King carries his vision still further to apply to the poor and marginalized throughout the world and not simply in the United States.
King's disciplined non-violent resistance had proved enough of a contrast to the baton crunching and police dogs to raise up a majority of white indignation and anger that pulled the structure down. But the Watts riot in LA in 1965, and the Black Panther movement with its violent overtones was challenging King. King's agenda for the near future, as outlined in his writing, was, he knew, bound to bring discomfort especially to the somewhat passive white support he had received to date. We forgot what we knew daily in the South: freedom is not given, it is won." King argues again his convictions that non-violent resistance was the only way forward in a rebuttal to the Black Panther perspective. He described a larger view that the Watt riots were a huge setback, even as young people said they had won because the powers had paid attention to them.
You see, kids, there was a time in the South when black Americans could not ride at the front of a bus, send their children to school with whites, or eat at lunch counters. There are numerous issues with the way that the civil rights era is usually represented in schools, but perhaps the biggest, saddest lie of all is the watering down of MLKs vision. King's last book makes painfully clear how much work he believed remained for American society in 1967, and it is hard to imagine he would approve of the state of the union in 2015, black president or no. Although many have invoked the president as a sign that we as a society are integrated, King would point to the fact that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has nearly tripled in the past 25 years.
If you need a book to ground you in some spiritual, profound truths about our country, go back in time.
It is distressing to read about problems that concerned him in the '60s that are still the same today, but this highlights the timelessness of MLK's thoughts.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement. In 2004, King was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.