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Beloved Community

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"But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community."

from “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” 1956


On the Legacy and Significance of Dr. King's Call to Community

Dr King by Khalil Bendib

  • Wednesday, August 28, 2013 was the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
  • "Racism and the World House," More Relevant than Ever, from YES! Magazine
    Martin Luther King, Jr.'s thinking on racism pertained to all of world society, not just the United States.
  • State of the Dream 2013: A Long Way From Home
    Housing continues to be a driving force in the hemmorhaging of wealth in communities of color. This tenth annual report by United for a Fair Economy examines the link between housing and asset-building policies and the impacts of those policies on persistent racial inequities. This year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day report shows that the racial wealth divide remains and tells the story of how the Great Recession took a greater economic toll on Black and Latino families than on White families.
  • Dr. King’s Unfulfilled Dream of School Integration for America’s Children, by Greg Groves and Philip Tegeler, America’s Wire Writers Group. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in the transformative power of school integration. He would be dismayed by America’s present day paradox: the rapidly expanding racial diversity of our society accompanied by the increasing segregation of our urban schools.
  • In "44 Years After King's Death, American Neighborhoods and Schools Remain Deeply Segregated," Daniel Denvir argues that "The solutions to segregation—what sociologists Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton call American Apartheid —are also political and economic. Metropolitan regions, a single economic unit, should equitably share revenues to fund schools instead of depending on municipal property taxes. Affordable housing, including public housing and Section 8 vouchers, should be equitably spread across the region and not ghettoized in neighborhoods with high violent crime and the worst schools."
  • In "What Martin Luther King Really Said," H. Bruce Franklin notes that "Martin Luther King eloquently named and predicted" our current crisis: "'A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.' For him, the violence in the ghetto is the direct product of our nation's betrayal of its 'promise of hope for the poor' and a clear manifestation of 'a society gone mad on war.'"
  • "The Memphis Strike: Martin Luther King's Last Campaign," by Michael Honey, points out that the second phase of Dr. King's life required a more radical demand than the earlier period: "to resolve centuries of intertwined racial and economic injustice by overhauling American capitalism." This article is a reprint in a 2008 edition of The Housing Journal of the original Poverty and Race Resource Action Council article.
  • A Spring 2008 Housing Journal reviewed "Beyond the Mountaintop: King's Prescription for Poverty" by Steven C. Pitts (UC-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education) and William E. Spriggs (Howard University Department of Economics) reveals that dramatic progress in addressing poverty occurred during a four-year period, 1965–1969. They attribute the gains made to a combination of factors, including new emphasis on full employment and income security, increases in the minimum wage, strong support for labor’s right to organize, and a deeper commitment to combating discrimination in the workplace.
  • Also in April 2008, in "40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream," Dedrick Muhammad, of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good of the Institute for Policy Studies, found, that since Dr. King's death, African Americans have made great strides in educational advancement but, despite these advances, "economic equality for African Americans is still a dream, not reality."

    "Forty years since Dr. King called for the abolition of poverty, the annual decline of poverty for Black children is about a quarter of a percentage point per year. At this rate it will take over a century to end poverty for Black children. Today a third of Black children live in poverty. Blacks face the challenge to address social ills in their community amid a broader context of rapidly increasing social negatives that cross racial lines. While the incarceration rate of African Americans is extraordinarily high, the probability of incarceration for white men has been increasing at a faster rate (268%) than for Black men (240%) since 1974. The increase in the share of white children living in a single parent home has been much higher (229%) than for Black children (155%) since 1960."
  • "The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV," by Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen, was a 2009 article, in which the authors explore the reasons why, while Americans celebrate Dr. King's life and achievements, the public discourse is remarkably silent about the last years of his life, when "he began challenging the nation's fundamental priorities," called for radical change, including a redistribution of wealth and power, withdrawal from Vietnam, and for America to stop being on the "wrong side of a world revolution."
  • In a 2006 article, "Hope and Despair on King Day," Marcellus Andrews, points out the bilateral collusion in ignoring Dr. King's call. "The conservatives who rule the country despise most blacks, which is not surprising given their forebears and their current public. But the liberals have also abandoned King by concluding that the fight for justice can only be waged when they run the government. The liberals forget King's most basic lesson: Justice is alive when we treat each other with great love, respect and care. Justice is a collective achievement of people committed to each other's well-being."
  • Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech was delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 -- a year to the day before he was murdered. In it King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."
  • Dr. King's last speech in Memphis on April 3, 1968, is available as a reprint from a 2004 issue of The Housing Journal.