In the final chapter of his book [Where Do We Go From Here], King emphasized the interrelationship of love and justice. Nonviolent direct action, seen through the eyes of love, revealed a “suffering body offered up as an extraordinary plea for compassion.”  Whenever love became the “arbiter of justice,” inequities could be abolished.  Because suffering was inescapable, King’s concept of nonviolence coupled with his understanding of justice allowed him to see suffering prophetically—as redemption, yet his vision was labeled “dreamy” because it insisted on values that have never been put into action.  As a corrective to Black Power, King insisted on love.  To the white liberal, however, he insisted on justice.  He expressed doubt “that the problems of the ghetto” would be solved without “genuine, white empathy” for the suffering poor.  On one hand the situation seemed hopeless, and yet the battle was “neither won nor lost.”  King, like Andrew Young, still believed that “without a mature, personal faith, one could not make sense of suffering, forgive the persecutors, and be reconciled with oppressors.”  Knowing that his theory of justice would lead him toward violence, quite possibly “state-administered violence,” and that “agitation” for equality was a “death-defying calling,” King anticipated his own death.[1]


[1] King, Where Do We Go, 16, 101, 107.  Andrew Young, An Easy Burden, 398.  Greg Moses, Revelation of Conscience, 112, 209, 158, 187-88, 194, 196.

An except from my unfinished book on King