Front cover image for Martin Luther King, the inconvenient hero

Martin Luther King, the inconvenient hero

In these eloquent essays, the noted scholar and activist Vincent Harding reflects on the forgotten legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the meaning of his life today. Many of these reflections are inspired by the ambiguous message surrounding the official celebration of King's birthday. Harding sees a tendency to freeze an image of King from the period of his early leadership of the Civil Rights movement, the period culminating with his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." Harding writes passionately of King's later years, when his message and witness became more radical and challenging to the status quo at every level. In those final years before his assassination King took up the struggle against racism in the urban ghettos of the North; he became an eloquent critic of the Vietnam war; he laid the foundations for the Poor People's Campaign. This widening of his message and his tactics entailed controversy even within his own movement. But they point to a consistent expansion of his critique of American injustice and his solidarity with the oppressed. It was this spirit that brought him to Memphis in 1968 to lend his support to striking sanitation workers. It was there that he paid the final price for his prophetic witness
Print Book, English, 2008
Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 2008
xii, 164 pages ; 21 cm
9781570757365, 1570757364
Preface to the Revised Edition: Beginning Again: The Second Coming of an Inconvenient Hero
Introduction: Setting the Captive(s) Free
1. The Inconvenient Hero: The Last Years of Martin Luther King, Jr
2. Getting Ready for the Hero
3. Martin King, Burning Bushes, and Us: Revisiting the March on Washington
4. Beyond Amnesia: Martin Luther King, Jr, and the Future of America
5. The Land Beyond: Reflections on King's "Beyond Vietnam" Speech
6. We Must Keep Going
7. Blessed Astronaut of the Human Race
8. Tell the Children
9. Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq: A Conversation with History and King
Epilogue: We've Got Work to Do