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Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  784 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
209 PAGES.
Paperback, 209 pages
Published December 28th 1997 by Beacon Press (first published November 30th 1966)
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Dan Bernier On page ten. (I have ISBN 9780807000670, this edition:

It's preceded by, and in contrast, to this: "The Negro…more
On page ten. (I have ISBN 9780807000670, this edition:

It's preceded by, and in contrast, to this: "The Negro on a mass scale is working vigorously to overcome his deficiencies and his maladjustments. Wherever there are job-training programs Negroes are crowding them. Those who are employed are revealing an eagerness for advancement never before so widespread and persistent. In the average Negro home a new appreciation for culture is manifest. The circulation of periodicals and books written for Negroes is now in the multimillions while a decade ago it was scarcely past one hundred thousand. In the schools more Negros are demanding courses that lead to college and beyond, refusing to settle for the crude vocational training that limited so many of them in the past."

After the quote in question he continues: "It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans."(less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The non-violent, colorblind, “I have a dream” Martin Luther King is such a fixture in the American imagination that it is difficult for many to conceive of a King who was, particularly in the last years of his life, far more nuanced and complex. There have been several books over the last few years trying to reclaim the King who marched with striking sanitation workers, was a strident critic of the American war in Vietnam, and advocated for a guaranteed income for all citizens. While these book ...more
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Robin Friedman
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Martin Luther King's "Where Do We Go From Here?"

A new anthology of essays on the political philosophy of Martin Luther King, "To Shape a New World" (2018) (edited by Tommie Shelby and Brandon Terry), published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King's assassination has encouraged me to read the books King published during his lifetime to try to understand him in his own words.

The fourth of King's five books, "Where Do We Go from Here Chaos or Community"? (1967)receives considerable attention
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
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
No idea where all my notes went, but Dr. King cites lots of economic evidence in favor of a Basic Universal (aka Citizen's) Income.

This book should be required reading for all Americans starting in elementary school.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was working for not only Negro civil rights, but for economic rights for all poor people when he was cut down prematurely. I'd heard vague comments about this as a teenager, but since all we ever heard about was his famous 'I have a Dream' spea
Sheeba Jacob
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We have created a narrative of MLK, Jr. as a peacemaker who wanted races to get along. This book speaks to his beliefs on nonviolence, but goes so much deeper on what he actually believed was happening to the country on a racial and economic level. There were times I felt like I was reading a book about current day 2017. So many things he wrote about in the 1960s are absolutely applicable today.

If you need a book to ground you in some spiritual, profound truths about our country, go back in tim
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
An unquestionably important book. MLK's writing is incredibly coherent and well-structured. His ideas are definite, well-supported, and effective. It is distressing to read about problems that concerned him in the '60s that are still the same today, but this highlights the timelessness of MLK's thoughts. We could use more leaders today who have MLK's unique gifts: the triple threat of brilliant insight, clarity of expression, and authenticity (proven through a demonstrated commitment to act on h ...more
Sean Watkins
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thought provoking, challenging, timeless classic. Dr. King's last book, written in 1967, prophetically addressed issues then and today in 2017. His invitation to nonviolent principles, as well as repentance from societal and Christian complacency in the presence of racism, poverty, and militarism is powerful. The reality that decades have passed and we neither listened nor learned, is sobering. THIS IS A MUST READ for anyone concerned with ending injustice around the world AND at home.
Jack Wolfe
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We celebrate his holiday and put his picture everywhere and deliver our hosannahs, but there’s still a striking amount of ignorance regarding the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. The ignorance is on the right, of course: acknowledging the full depth of King’s achievement means in some way agreeing with the progressive project (and the modern Trump wing will have nothing to do with freedom, equality, justice, etc… it’s all about gettin’ the libs!). But ignorance is on the left, too, becau ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
This book has been a balm to my spirit. With very, very few exceptions, this book, written in 1967, is as relevant today as it was then.

"First, the line of progress is never straight. For a period a movement may follow a straight line and then it encounters obstacles and the path bends. It is like curving around a mountain when you are approaching a city. Often it feels as though you were moving backward, and you lose sight of your goal; but in fact you are moving ahead, and soon you will see t
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What if MLK sat down with Bernie Sanders? I can't be the only one to wonder, reading this on the eve of what is hopefully the ugliest Election Day of my lifetime.

The scope of MLK's vision is far larger than I ever thought. Probably the most emphasized point in this book is: Racial equality means absolute economic equality, and on this point both Black and White America can unite. In his own words:

Negro programs go beyond race and deal with economic inequality, wherever it exists. In the pursui
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
In many ways this book is an evolution and 360 transformation from MLK Jr earlier work and philosophies. He tackles ideas and persons he was once so dismissive of including Black power slogan, riots and Black nationalism. He acknowledges how the civil rights movement one dimensionally addressed the issues of the South, but ignored the struggles of the Northern urban cities. He discusses the split between him and Stokely Carmichael. He highlights the inaction of the Black middle class, ( his main ...more
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
shaz rasul
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, five-star
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
Megan Fatheree
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful and so timely after the 2016 presidential election. King deftly illustrates the path to community through nonviolent action in the name of social justice. And stresses the need to reject racism, materialism, and militarism that lead to into chaos. Loved it.

And the 2010 edition has a poignant intro written by Vincent Harding.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
powerful, serious, and still deeply relevant today
Joshua Tintner
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Such wisdom.
Glen Gersmehl
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
King's last book offers a great view of the breadth of his activism and thinking
Taylor Pandolfino
Where Do We Go From Here was the last book Martin Luther King Jr. ever wrote. It also includes, perhaps, his most provocative—and in my opinion, most persuasive—ideas. “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing’-oriented society,” King asserts, “to a ‘person’-oriented society.” This is the central theme of perhaps the entire book, and it embodies King’s distinct personalism, which he studied while pursuing his doctorate at Boston University. “Personalism’s insistence that only personality—fi ...more
Arie Benji
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used to take MLK day off in personal protest since my former employer didnt deem it necessary to recognize with anything but minimal mention. Id usually devote the day to some kind of service, and would make sure my Out of Office shared my intentions. Now that I am living a life of service, I didnt need to take off because its an honor and a privilege to be the dream in action. And I get to do it as a representative of the same America that despised his work... what irony, what an honor!

If you
Lowell Paige Bander
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Extremely powerful – MLK may perhaps inspire within me more reverence for him than I have for any other human. My eyes watered frequently while reading this text, and were my copy not borrowed from the library, I would have soaked the pages with the ink of my highlighter. In lieu of this, I have transcribed at length notable excerpts below.

“Today the exploration of space is engaging not only our enthusiasm but our patriotism. Developing it as a global race we have intensified its inherent drama
May 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tamara Murphy
We read this together with our church's reading group. Written in 1967, this is the last book Dr. King wrote before being assassinated in 1968. The title alone felt important for our current political climate in the U.S. I will write a longer review soon, but for now I'll say that this as provocative and prescient as anything I've ever read/heard from Dr. King. I'm grateful for the group of thoughtful people who were willing to read along with me, and engage in the deep conversations the book in ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read for any revolutionary or politically interested person, young or old. A book that outlines how movements move forward, particularly after achieving some of their goals as the Civil Rights movement had at the time of this book was written. Reading this in our current climate, of Black Lives Matter protests all over the United States, makes Dr. King's words even more prescient and important. The last chapter, The World House, was also a very timely read in the aftermath of the Paris at ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.” 14 likes
“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.”
More quotes…