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Chaos Or Community?
Martin Luther King Jr.
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Chaos Or Community?

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  575 Ratings  ·  80 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 significantly prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, we find King's acute analysis of American race relations and the state of the movement after a deca ...more
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (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)
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Community Reviews

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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,
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Glen Gersmehl
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
King's last book offers a great view of the breadth of his activism and thinking
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
Chris Bracco
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This essay is far and away one of the most impactful works I have ever read. It is a call-to-arms urging that we embrace the warm bodies of one another instead of the cold triggers of our rifles, or the tight reigns of our ideologies. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to nonviolent resistance and his ideas about building community and uniting nations are just as relevant today as they were decades ago.

His words feel especially urgent in today’s current global economic and political climate. Th
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
John Millard
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote a lengthy review but then this website crapped out and deleted it. I will try again.

This is an amazingly powerful book which is concise in its analyses and broad in its breath of compassion. This is the first book by Mr. King which I have read. He is logical, observant and prescient in so many ways. I can see how he moved so many people of his day. Being born in 1962 I feel connected to that time period and the Civil Rights movement in general even tho it was all before my time of contri
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an inspiring and insightful read. After reading John Lewis's "March" graphic novels, I really wanted to learn more about the political dynamics in the civil rights movement in the 60s, and this was a perfect peek into a tumultuous time. The book was written in 1967 but not published until after King's death. I loved that the book was really a call to organize, to build a movement, to build power. He walks you through various important pieces of this call, from the current state of affairs ( ...more
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
Sheeba Jacob
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We have created a narrative of MLK, Jr. has 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 ti
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was excellent and classic MLK Jr theory and beliefs about community and human behavior. I especially liked the prescient words he spoke 50 years ago that are still true today. This man was an eloquent orator and his words are gripping and truthful. Here are some quotes I think are universal and hold true throughout he ages:

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching a spiritual death.

If we as
Sebastián Arriagada
This book deals with the perspective of the nonviolent movement for civil rights after having attained some legal disposition towards the black community. However, as the author points out, laws do not ensure that reality is going to change. Where do we go from here is the title and genuine question by King jr in order to transform the reality for his peers AND folks from other races who also feel the impact of poverty and violence.

King has a narrative that is straightforward, making it friendly
Zachary Taylor
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
Ben Moody
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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“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.”
“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.” 6 likes
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