The later Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am linking to a post I wrote on this occasion in 2008 that tried to expose readers to the fact that towards the end of his life, King was actively campaigning against a wide range of injustices, not just racial ones.

People sometimes forget that he was widely read in politics, economics, history, and philosophy and used all of them in his writings, especially the later ones, to forcefully make the case for justice.


  1. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    The quote of King’s that I remember is not from the “I have a dream” speech but from a later one given in 1967:

    There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [emphasis added]

    King also said:

    We read one day, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.

  2. F says

    Hey, didn’t Dr. King know that any kind of capitalism or anything self-described capitalists want to call capitalism is good capitalism? Who put a bee in his communist bonnet?

  3. says

    If the Occupy Movement could join forces with the African-American Community, perhaps channeling the spirit of MLK as excerpted above, we could have a potent force on our hands. But throughout American history, such logical coalitions of the economically exploited have rarely, if ever, succeeded. The first rule of oligarchy is divide et impera.

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