The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Lewis V. Baldwin

When students walk into my class on Martin Luther King Jr. for the first time, they are unlikely to know that King favored Sweden's democratic socialism over U.S. capitalism, but they certainly know the sensational stories about King's plagiarism and his relationships with women other than his wife. If these college students represent society, Lewis Baldwin and his colleagues face massive obstacles in their attempt to define King's legacy.


Defining that legacy is also difficult because, as Clayborne Carson notes in the foreword, a disappointing effect of celebrating a national holiday in honor of King has been the watering down of his radical critiques of U.S. society. We teach our children that King articulated a wonderful dream in 1963, but we rarely let them know that his dream turned nightmarish soon after, when four little girls were killed in a bombing at a Birmingham church.

 

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