The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. explores the development of Dr. King's understanding of the relationship among religion, morality, law, and politics. This fascinating work is part of a broader effort by scholars in various fields to examine unexplored areas in the life, thought, and activism of Martin Luther King, Jr., and it represents the first book-length treatment of how King united moral-religious convictions and political activity. This timely study is also the first in-depth analysis of King's views on the roles that religion and morality ought to play, not only in public debate concerning political choices and law, but also in efforts to create political and legal structures that are just.
Beginning with the social, political, and economic implications of King's vision of the "New South" and his prophetic critique of southern civil religion, this pathbreaking study casts King in the role of "political liberal," "consummate politician," and "political theologian." The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., focuses considerable attention on King's refusal to separate religious faith and moral considerations from politics, legal matters, and social reformism. In so doing, it demonstrates King's remarkable ability to transcend church-state boundaries and to formulate an alliance that permeated every facet of American life. Featuring four chapters by Lewis V. Baldwin--a leading authority on King--as well as a chapter by Rufus Burrow, Jr., and one co-authored by Barbara Holmes and Susan Holmes Winfield, this volume reveals how King moved beyond southern particularism to create a more democratic America and a more inclusive world. Among the topics covered are King's relationship to various American political traditions and figures, King's theories of civil disobedience and his understanding of the Constitution, and the influence of moral law and personal idealism on King's teachings.
"The essays in this collection are a most welcome correction to the widely disseminated view of King as simply another integration-oriented civil rights leader. His legacy is accurately portrayed here as transcending the boundaries of law, politics, and religion, to embody in the twentieth century the spiritual essence of Jesus' teachings." -- Derrick Bell, author of Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism
"Lewis Baldwin has come closest to defining the mystique of Martin Luther King, Jr. He has succeeded where so many other writers have failed because they only digest some facet of the King phenomenon. Baldwin unveils the globalist aspect of Dr. King's life and mission for all the world to see. This is a must-read book." -- Wyatt Tee Walker, former Chief of Staff to Dr. King and current Senior Pastor and CEO of the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in New York's Harlem Community