King’s Dream of “The Beloved Community” Extends to Your Community Too

  • The service having id "propeller" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
  • The service having id "buzz" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
King’s Dream of “The Beloved Community” Extends to Your Community Too

This year is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. It’s a painful and necessary anniversary to remember considering where the country is today. Americans on the margins have the most to lose in a nation now eroding if not dismantling decades-long civil rights gains that allowed full protections and participation in an evolving multicultural democracy.

While I am nervous where we are in 2018 after an Obama presidency, I am also reminded, however, of MLK and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. My looking back at that era gives me hope to look forward beyond this moment.

In the inimitable rhetorical style of the African-American jeremiad tradition, King’s voice is most remembered from his “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963. The now deceased newscaster Mike Wallace expressed my feelings of missing King when I read one day in the Boston Globe these words by him. “I miss the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. I miss the sound of his voice, the things he said with that voice, and the choir that resounded within him with that voice.”

Martin Luther King articulated his dream of wanting every town and city throughout the world “Building the Beloved Community.” The King Center explains the concept:

“In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger, and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”

During the time of King’s dream of “Building the Beloved Community” Southern states had long systematized a peculiar brand of justice with its “separate but equal” laws that allowed for separate drinking fountains, restrooms, restaurants, hotels, to name a few. The South during the civil rights movement was a place where the entire country could watch African Americans being subdued by blazing-water hoses or being charged by aggressive German shepherds on national television. And at night, when no one was watching, the Ku Klux Klan rode through black neighborhoods to burn their property and/or them, brandishing fire and terror as symbols of white supremacy.

However, racism did not just situate itself unabashedly in the South, it also tainted life in the North for African Americans, albeit differently and less visible. And, although segregationist practices directly violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the federal government exerted little to no