The Radical King (King Legacy)

The Radical King (King Legacy)

Cornel West

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0807034525

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A revealing collection that restores Dr. King as being every bit as radical as Malcolm X

“The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people in the class struggle taking place in capitalist societies. . . . The response of the radical King to our catastrophic moment can be put in one word: revolution—a revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life, and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens. . . . Could it be that we know so little of the radical King because such courage defies our market-driven world?” —Cornel West, from the Introduction

Every year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is celebrated as one of the greatest orators in US history, an ambassador for nonviolence who became perhaps the most recognizable leader of the civil rights movement. But after more than forty years, few people appreciate how truly radical he was.

Arranged thematically in four parts, The Radical King includes twenty-three selections, curated and introduced by Dr. Cornel West, that illustrate King’s revolutionary vision, underscoring his identification with the poor, his unapologetic opposition to the Vietnam War, and his crusade against global imperialism. As West writes, “Although much of America did not know the radical King—and too few know today—the FBI and US government did. They called him ‘the most dangerous man in America.’ . . . This book unearths a radical King that we can no longer sanitize.”

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from personal experience, firsthand experience. But I beg of you to indulge me this morning to talk about the life of a man who lived in India. And I think I’m justified in doing this because I believe this man, more than anybody else in the modern world, caught the spirit of Jesus Christ and lived it more completely in his life. His name was Gandhi, Mohandas K. Gandhi. And after he lived a few years, the poet Tagore, who lived in India, gave him another name: “Mahatma,” the great soul. And we

the Mountaintop Acknowledgments Notes Index INTRODUCTION THE RADICAL KING WE DON’T KNOW The FBI transcript of a June 27, 1964, phone conversation reveals Malcolm X receiving a message from Martin Luther King, Jr. This message supported the idea of getting the human rights declaration of the United Nations to expose the unfair, vicious treatment of black people in America. Malcolm X replied that he was eager to meet Martin Luther King, Jr.—as soon as the next afternoon. If they had met that

Benjamin’s angel), who mounts his wings to fly in the catastrophic storms of history. And like all those who bear witness, a Cross awaits him. In his church they often sang, “Must Jesus bear the Cross alone, and all the world go free? / No, there’s a Cross for everyone, and there’s a Cross for me.” For King, the scandal of the Cross—the human crushing of unarmed truth and unconditional love in history—is the way of the world. For those who pursue radical love, the Cross may be the only dwelling

and publicity.” Nor is Thomas a dissenter just for the sake of dissent. “The secret of a good life,” he once wrote, “is to have the right loyalties and to hold them in the right scale of values. The value of dissent and dissenters is to make us reappraise those values with supreme concern for the truth. . . . Rebellion per se is not a virtue. If it were, we would have some heroes on very low levels.” At Thomas’s 80th birthday party, one of the greetings read: I understand the moment of truth

attention that they need. We are tired.” And so in Memphis we have begun. We are saying, “Now is the time.” Get the word across to everybody in power in this time in this town that now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to make an adequate income a reality for all of God’s children. Now is the time for city hall to take a position for that which is just and honest. Now is the time for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. Now is

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