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Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  310 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America's future, including the need for better jobs, higher wage ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Beacon Press (first published November 30th 1966)
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Walter
This is the last of Martin Luther King Jr.'s books and reflects the world-weariness that affected him deeply before his assassination. It is an uncharacteristically frank book, as King's frustration, transcendence and visionary thinking are so abundantly and powerfully evident. Yet, it's also hard not to be a tad saddened by it, too. Here, a modern martyr lays bare his soul and we find that he suffers greatly.

The subject matter of the book - including King's take on Black Power, white backlash,
...more
Richard
I bought this book when I was a junior in high school to understand the Civil Rights movement and find out about Martin Luther King Jr. in his own words rather than in what the mainstream media was saying about him. People forget that King was hated by many people in white America, and his message was often distorted by the media. He was especially condemned by the white (and black) establishment after he gave a 1967 speech opposing the Vietnam War.
Tim
A remarkable book, apparently King Jr's last, published in June '67 a little less than a year before his assassination.

The context is amazing - the confrontation with the white Jim Crow arena in the South had been dismantled. King's disciplined non-violent resistance had proved enough of a contrast to the baton crunching and police dogs to raise up a majority of white indignation and anger that pulled the structure down. In 1965 major civil rights legislation had passed the US Congress and signe
...more
Kln9
Sep 09, 2008 Kln9 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Way ahead of its time. King's final book -- shows his evolution from 1963's I Have a Dream speech. Very insightful. A side of King that is not discussed.
Woodrow
This is not a "MLK 101" book. It's his last piece of written literature, and represents many of his thoughts only some time before the bullet took him from us.

As such, it dispels many of the myths surrounding him. He advocates for ideas that, then and now, are radical, such as a minimum income (not simply a minimum wage, or welfare, but a baseline payment to everyone to allow for purchasing food, clothing, and shelter). He points to the black riots and black power as someone who decries violence
...more
Hadrian
Read for class.

I am astonished, perhaps amazed by Dr. King's thoughts. His transcendent non-violent morality, as well as his world-weary readiness for martyrdom are both apparent here. This was written after the momentous Civil Rights victory, and his efforts shifted from organizational and de facto instead of de jure racism. In short, the problems which still plague most of the black community today. If only he was alive a little bit longer. Much has been done to solve these problems in America
...more
Bethany Johnsen
When MLK was presented to me in grade school, it was as a man whose “dream” has been achieved. You see, kids, there was a time in the South when black Americans could not ride at the front of a bus, send their children to school with whites, or eat at lunch counters. (Not really sure why, that's just how things were in the 60s; they didn't have Internet back then either.) Well, one day there was a tired, grumpy old black lady who didn't want to move to the back of the bus, and a nice black preac ...more
Benjamin
Bill Ayers's "To Teach" quotes from this a few times, and it was always something that makes you go 'hmm' so I got the book. It's the last book-length writing from MLK and I think it was published after the assassination. MLK is dealing with the criticisms from the 'black power' groups while trying to move past some of the more limited short term goals of the civil rights movement and begin the 'poor peoples movement' in the bigger cities.

The book changed my view of MLK. I guess I had the symbol
...more
Sheltondeverell
This book is instructive, as a clear example of persuasive language, as a record of the cogent intelligence behind King's speeches, and as a document that maps the main issues that motivated King and catalyzed his leadership. He talks about what the civil rights movement accomplished, their present in 1967, and the actions they should take in the future on several fronts. These areas include education, housing, employment, and rights, in a global struggle against poverty and racism. It is obviou ...more
Ben Moody
The philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr. goes far beyond what was outlined in "I Have a Dream." Published just a few months before his assassination, he outlines his vision for the future. I honestly believe that many people would not want to build a monument to remember him, let alone like him, if they read this book, which makes his extreme liberal beliefs, which border of socialism, clear. But regardless, it is a very good and insightful book, and demonstrates how much the man was dedicated t ...more
Amanda
This book -- and by extension, its author -- SO FAR AHEAD OF ITS TIME.

I was inspired to read it after visiting the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA. There, I learned that Dr. King was so much more than the flat, watered-down version presented in my high school history books. He was a real man with profound thoughts, agonizing feelings, and boundless hope. He was almost certainly a genius as well as a humanitarian, gifted speaker and eloquent writer. I learned so much from this bo
...more
Victor
While there are many documentaries on Dr. Martin Luther King, I believe that everyone who claims to admire him should also read Dr. King’s writings. This is a beautiful work, especially if you are interested in Chicago history, for Dr. King discusses Chicago’s issues on many occasions in this work. If I was a teacher, I would assign this.
Tracy
Opens by talking about the backlash a year after Civil Rights legislation was passed: "In several Southern states men long regarded as political clowns had become governors or only narrowly missed election, their magic achieved with a "witches" grew of bigotry, prejudice, half truths and whole lies." Sounds familiar.
Micah
Look back 46 years, it's a little disheartening to know that we are still struggling with some of the problems King addresses in this book. Nonetheless I see us choosing community over chaos. Patience is necessary for non-violent revolutions.
Bryan
A powerful message from MLK that has lost little power ot urgancy. If only we as a society had follwed King's vision we would have much more just society today.
Darceylaine
Must read for, well, all Americans. Really helped me deepen my thinking abour how far we have come, where we need to go, and how we can get there.
Lily
Must read! This could have been written today. If you live in Ithaca, this will be available back in print soon...Change the world!
Tunde
This book is awesome. A lot of what he covers still applies today. Its amazing how far we've come yet how far we have to go.
Cynthia L'Hirondelle
Another must read classic where MLK makes a case for guaranteed annual income.
Sneha
wrestles with the "what now?" question.
Vasha7
Civil Rights laws had been passed, but... This book is largely centered around what to do with the frustrating situation of governments that don't do anything to implement the laws they pass, who don't budget money for remediation programs and enforcement; whites who turn their attention away after the first statement of support; who think blacks are asking for too much; who want limited justice but not full equality -- and with the frustration, division, apathy, violence, that overtake the atti ...more
Glen Gersmehl
King's last book is a great view of the breadth of his activism and thinking
shaz rasul
Written in 1967, "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community" charts what should have been the next phase in Dr. King's work, clearly directing us to the need for a concentrated effort on poverty and economic social justice. Reading these words in 2012 leaves one cold - for all the progress the civil rights era brought to America, on these economic issues we may as well be standing still.

"Where do we go from Here: Chaos or Community" is a must read to get a full picture of Dr. King's understa
...more
Frank
If we as a nation actually honored MLK as much as we purport to, this book would be required reading in every American high school.
Joe Plourde
Excellent read. This man was truly a leader for the time. Where is the Martin Luther King Jr. for today? Without love there is chaos.
ShiraDestinie
This book should be required reading for every American. 40 years later, unfortunately, it still rings true.

P. 22 mentions Randolph and Rustin proposed a Freedom Budget and also in appendix.

Much more, crucial reading.
Love, Peace, and Community Cooperation,
ShiraDestinie Jones Landrac
William-James-MEOW-Date: Tuesday, August 7. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)
Ben Fredrick
I am really amazed at how insightful Dr. King was. He had tremendous perspective, not only on the current situation but on the rivulets and streams that formed the rivers and oceans we see today in our society. I learned a tremendous amount from this book, and I have plenty underlined. It's not as useful as some of his other writings, but if you've read some of his other work, then this is a good one to pick up.
Shaun
It was a difficult read at times but amazing in its timeless quality. The fact that it was written in 1968 but continues to apply to the current global situation and American culture indicates how much work we still have to do. After reading the book however, Martin Luther King Jr. inspires one to continue his work.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement. King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His ef ...more
More about Martin Luther King Jr....
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Why We Can't Wait Letter from the Birmingham Jail A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches I Have a Dream / Letter from Birmingham Jail

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“Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the fires of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until they who live on the outskirts of Hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heap of history and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be
transformed into the bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.”
4 likes
“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look at thousands of working people displaced from their jobs with reduced incomes as a result of automation while the profits of the employers remain intact, and say: “This is not just.” It will look across the oceans and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing to prevent us from paying adequate wages to schoolteachers, social workers and other servants of the public to insure that we have the best available personnel in these positions which are charged with the responsibility of guiding our future generations. There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American citizen whether he be a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid or day laborer. There is nothing except shortsightedness to prevent us from guaranteeing an annual minimum—and livable—income for every American family. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from remolding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.” 1 likes
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