Martin Luther King Jr

The King Center

Hope you all saw my hopeful letter to Martin, yesterday, but today I want to ask people to spend a little time further investigating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and challenge everyone to get busy if they are not already in furthering his precepts though activism.

One of the best places to advance your education is The Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, known as The King Center. Here you will find thousands of digitized documents pertaining to his legacy which established and newly minted activists will find enlightening and empowering. Dr. King’s life and teachings are accessible and the most apt anchor to guide and ground our collective social justice campaigns while giving hope to all the individuals who today, more than ever before, are willing to lay down their lives on behalf of freedom for all people.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. November 15, 1964 Flickr/creative commons

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
November 15, 1964
Flickr/creative commons

The philosophy of Dr. King underpins his entire life and the lives of his many followers. At The King Center website, you can read all about it in just a few pages. It is guaranteed to give you a new or newly invigorated focus because he addresses the entire breadth of effective activism on any front, regardless of your specific cause for freedom: the triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism that exist in an intersectional and vicious cycle; the six principles of nonviolence; the six steps to nonviolent social change; and, concluding, an outline of what Dr. King called, The Beloved Community. In your organizational spaces or at home, print out these few pages and put them on the wall; look and re-read them often.

The goal of Dr. King’s philosophy culminates in the realization of The Beloved Community, the future humane world where old, coercive, and inhumane systems are vanishing, and being replaced with new, voluntary, humane ways of doing things that do not leave anyone behind. VenusPlusX points to the same end point. Dr. King teaches us that this is not an idealistic, perfected world but one where the reconciliation of adversaries is based on a “mutual, determined commitment to non-violence,” where all conflicts are resolved peacefully, “a type of love that can transform opponents into friends.”

In his 1959 Sermon on Gandhi, Dr. King elaborated on the after-effects of choosing nonviolence over violence: “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, so that when the battle’s over, a new relationship comes into being between the oppressed and the oppressor.” In the same sermon, he contrasted violent versus nonviolent resistance to oppression. “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”

Laying down one’s life for the cause of freedom is perhaps the best, the most noble thing you can do because until everyone is free, no one is free. (For those wondering, yes, that’s also a Jesusonian principle, that the greatest love we have have is to lay down our lives for a friend. But this doesn’t mean dying, it just means living another way.) I can have all the money in the world but if there is one child, perhaps a poor child, maybe a hungry child, living under an oppressive system, I cannot be silent. So I challenge all of you lurkers out there to commit just one hour, 60 minutes, on one day of the week, to do something to advance freedom for all people. You will find it is the most interesting and life-giving party around.



Dear Martin

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968 by Caboindex Flickr/creative commons

Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Caboindex
Flickr/creative commons

Dear Martin . . . How happy I am today to see the next generation fully embrace the ideals that identified your short life: the end of poverty, racism, and war, precepts to which I have continued to dedicate my life.

With numerous conferences and forums throughout your birthday weekend, before and after, your mass of followers are playing an invigorating and crucial role right now in schooling the mass of newly minted young activists who are fully committed to ending the murder of young black people, and all attempts to erase an entire race through mass incarceration and domestic and foreign policies favoring whites. This new, gigantic effort is committed to non-violent means to solve these conflicts, a true testament to your life’s work.

As an idealistic teen growing up in post-war America, your ideals called to me as they still do. As a pre-teen I  came into contact with young freedom rider friends of my (Jewish) family who were helping black southerners register to vote, and challenge a rigged system (that is today being re-rigged, unfortunately). I became an activist working throughout the 1960s and 70s, putting more than just boots on the ground in protest of the Vietnam War. Your life and work were the keys that completed my full radicalization, and still motivate my activism today.

In our youth, you and I wrongly supposed that, “Oh, this is going to be solved next week because our arguments were so persuasive and the evidence so damning!” But it wasn’t solved in a week. Instead, it is being solved by the generation we gave birth to.

Today, more than ever before in history, legacy and new activists are working together, communicating through free mass communications, bringing about co-equal citizens of the world who fully envision that better and more humane future: a happy and healthy cohabitation of world citizens in place of the corporatized, enslaving stranglehold by a small number of elites (all old, white, men).

Your dream is becoming a reality, Martin. Your deep compassion for all of humanity is in full flower. It’s just taking this long because it turned out there was and is so much work to do. Nevertheless, we are reveling in this major step forward in out quest for Peace.