Written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. | Reviewed by Jennifer Von Bergen
Where Do We Go From Here was the last book written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before he was assassinated. To my surprise, it felt like a book that could have been written today. I was both amazed and saddened at the similarity of the challenges that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw in society and how it compared to those we face today. As I have attempted to learn more about racial inequity in our country, I appreciated this book both for its historical and current relevance.
This is not a typical book I would read, but I found myself, highlighting over 50 quotes, and it challenged me to understand more of Dr. King’s thoughts. It was a reminder of the importance of my community and the challenges that blacks have continued to face in our nation. It also provided an excellent discussion with the Racist Anonymous Fellowship Group with whom I study.
Most of the book focuses on the racial relations in the United States. Dr. King begins by evaluating where we are/were (in the 1960s) and how blacks continued to see disparities in economic discrimination, desegregation, the “personal torment of discrimination” and other discriminatory practices. From there, he discussed what is Black power (and what it is not) and White backlash. He then addressed the question of “Where Do We Go from Here?” and looked specifically at the ideological, economic, and political commitments that are needed to move forward towards more equity. Finally, he states how we need to look beyond our borders at the “World House” as “our brother's keepers”.
I appreciated how he brought his faith and convictions into practice. Dr. King shared his thoughts on capitalism and how our emphasis on materialism needs to be changed to be able to address the economic disparities in our country for all people. He continued to promote non-violence and making moral choices. Dr. King challenged how our morality affects our everyday life and shared that, “For the evils of racism, poverty and militarism to die, a new set of values must be born. Our economy must become more person-centered than profit and property-centered.”
Dr. King said, “The ultimate solution to the race problem lies in the willingness of men to obey the unenforceable”. Laws might not make a lasting change to society, but personal effort, will and desire might. I won’t force you to read this book, but I challenge you to consider your willingness to change your heart. This book may help.
I also hope you will also join us for the next book study. We will begin the book by Clint Smith, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America in the beginning of October.