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The Radical King

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Written by Martin Luther King, Jr.Author Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Edited by Cornel WestAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Cornel West


List Price: $26.95


On Sale: January 13, 2015
Pages: 320 | ISBN: 978-0-8070-1283-3
Published by : Beacon Press Beacon Press
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents


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.”


“I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. . . . [Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive . . . but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against.” —Letter to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952

“There is another America, and that other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair. . . . By the millions, people in the other America find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. . . . The great tragedy is that the nation continues in its national policy to ignore the conditions that brought the riots or the rebellions into being. . . . The problem with a riot is that it can always be halted by superior force, so I couldn’t advise that. On the other hand, I couldn’t advise following a path of Martin Luther King just sitting around signing statements, and writing articles condemning the rioters, or engaging in a process of timid supplications for justice. The fact is that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed—that’s the long, sometimes tragic and turbulent story of history.” —“The Other America,” delivered by Dr. King at the Local 1199’s “Salute to Freedom,” New York City, March 10, 1968

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Radical King We Don’t Know ix
PART ONE: Radical Love
Introduction 3
ONE The Violence of Desperate Men 5
TWO Palm Sunday Sermon on Mohandas K. Gandhi 23
THREE Pilgrimage to Nonviolence 39
FOUR Loving Your Enemies 55
FIVE What Is Your Life’s Blueprint? 65

PART TWO: Prophetic Vision: Global Analysis and Local Praxis
Introduction 73
SIX The World House 75
SEVEN All the Great Religions of the World 97
EIGHT My Jewish Brother! 101
NINE The Middle East Question 105
TEN Let My People Go 107
ELEVEN Honoring Dr. Du Bois 113
PART THREE: The Revolution of Nonviolent Resistance: Against Empire and White Supremacy
Introduction 125
TWELVE Letter from Birmingham Jail 127
THIRTEEN Nonviolence and Social Change 147
FOURTEEN My Talk with Ben Bella 155
FIFTEEN Jawaharlal Nehru, a Leader in the Long Anti-Colonial Struggle 157
SIXTEEN Where Do We Go from Here? 161
SEVENTEEN Black Power 181
EIGHTEEN Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence 201
PART FOUR: Overcoming the Tyranny of Poverty and Hatred
Introduction 221
NINETEEN The Bravest Man I Ever Met 225
TWENTY The Other America 235
TWENTY-ONE All Labor Has Dignity 245
TWENTY-TWO The Drum Major Instinct 253
TWENTY-THREE I've Been to the Mountaintop 265
Acknowledgments 277
Notes 279
Index 283


“This useful collection takes King from the front lines of Southern segregation to a national movement for economic equality to an international condemnation of imperialism and armed intervention.”
Kirkus Reviews

“King’s skills as a preacher and rhetorician are amply in evidence, as is his profound empathy with others.” 
Publishers Weekly
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