Martin Luther King and the History of Religious Extremism

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” would make it on my list of must-reads for American cultural literacy. Written as he awaited release from a Birmingham, Alabama jail in 1963, King explained why the non-violent protests couldn’t “wait” any longer, as some moderate white Christians asked him to do. “When you are harried [Read More…]

Black religion and Vietnam

On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. preached at Riverside Church in New York City. In his sermon (listen to it here) he publicly broke ranks with the policies of President Lyndon Johnson and the white liberal establishment (which still largely supported the war) as he condemned American involvement in Vietnam. King articulated what [Read More…]

Shattering the Illusion, Part 2

We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.     ~Martin Luther King, Jr.   When Martin Luther King, Jr. first drafted those now-famous [Read More…]

Shattering the Illusion, Part 1

  When authorities in Montgomery, Alabama arrested Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat to a white patron on December 1, 1955, African Americans in the city formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) in order to organize a direct action campaign.  Led by twenty-six year-old Martin Luther King, Jr., the MIA launched a boycott [Read More…]


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