To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Martin Luther King, Jr., may be America’s most revered political figure, commemorated in statues, celebrations, and street names around the world. On the fiftieth anniversary of King’s assassination, the man and his activism are as close to public consciousness as ever. But despite his stature, the significance of King’s writings and political thought remains underappreciated.

In To Shape a New World, Tommie Shelby and Brandon Terry write that the marginalization of King’s ideas reflects a romantic, consensus history that renders the civil rights movement inherently conservative—an effort not at radical reform but at “living up to” enduring ideals laid down by the nation’s founders. On this view, King marshaled lofty rhetoric to help redeem the ideas of universal (white) heroes, but produced little original thought. This failure to engage deeply and honestly with King’s writings allows him to be conscripted into political projects he would not endorse, including the pernicious form of “color blindness” that insists, amid glaring race-based injustice, that racism has been overcome.

Cornel West, Danielle Allen, Martha Nussbaum, Robert Gooding-Williams, and other authors join Shelby and Terry in careful, critical engagement with King’s understudied writings on labor and welfare rights, voting rights, racism, civil disobedience, nonviolence, economic inequality, poverty, love, just-war theory, virtue ethics, political theology, imperialism, nationalism, reparations, and social justice. In King’s exciting and learned work, the authors find an array of compelling challenges to some of the most pressing political dilemmas of our present, and rethink the legacy of this towering figure.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674980754
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 02/19/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 776,591
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Tommie Shelby is Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University.

Brandon M. Terry is Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies and of Social Studies at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Political Philosophy Brandon M. Terry Tommie Shelby 1

Part I Traditions

1 The Du Bois-Washington Debate and the Idea of Dignity Robert Gooding-Williams 19

2 Moral Perfectionism Paul C. Taylor 35

3 The Roots of Civil Disobedience in Republicanism and Slavery Bernard R. Boxill 58

4 Showdown for Nonviolence: The Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Politics Karuna Mantena 78

Part II Ideals

5 From Anger to Love: Self-Purification and Political Resistance Martha C. Nussbaum 105

6 The Prophetic Tension between Race Consciousness and the Ideal of Color-Blindness Ronald R. Sundstrom 127

7 Integration, Freedom, and the Affirmation of Life Danielle Allen 146

8 A Vindication of Voting Rights Derrick Darby 161

Part III Justice

9 Prisons of the Forgotten: Ghettos and Economic Injustice Tommie Shelby 187

10 Gender Trouble: Manhood, Inclusion, and Justice Shatema Threadcraft Brandon M. Terry 205

11 Living "in the Red": Time, Debt, and Justice Lawrie Balfour 236

12 The Costs of Violence: Militarism, Geopolitics, and Accountability Lionel K. McPherson 253

Part IV Conscience

13 The Path of Conscientious Citizenship Michele Moody-Adams 269

14 Requiem for a Dream: The Problem-Space of Black Power Brandon M. Terry 290

15 Hope and Despair: Past and Present Cornel West 325

Afterword: Dignity as a Weapon of Love Jonathan L. Walton 339

Notes 351

Acknowledgments 419

Contributors 421

Index 425

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