To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Fascinating and instructive...King's philosophy, speaking to us through the written word, may turn out to constitute his most enduring legacy."
--Annette Gordon-Reed, New York Review of Books
Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of America's most revered figures, yet despite his mythic stature, the significance of his political thought remains underappreciated. In this indispensable reappraisal, leading scholars--including Cornel West, Martha Nussbaum, and Danielle Allen--consider the substance of his lesser known writings on racism, economic inequality, virtue ethics, just-war theory, reparations, voting rights, civil disobedience, and social justice and find in them an array of compelling challenges to some of the most pressing political dilemmas of our time.
"King was not simply a compelling speaker, but a deeply philosophical intellectual...We still have much to learn from him."
"A compelling work of philosophy, all the more so because it treats King seriously without inoculating him from the kind of critique important to both his theory and practice."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
To Shape a New World firmly situates Dr. King in the canon of American political thought. An extraordinary group of scholars grapple with the subtlety and nuance of King's political philosophy, and they set the stage for a renewed engagement with his broader work. This is a must-read in our time.--Eddie S. Glaude, Princeton University
The collection brings together a series of impressive scholars--Cornel West, Martha Nussbaum, and Robert Gooding-Williams among them--to look at King's understudied writings on economic inequality, just-war theory, and voting rights...To Shape a New World is a compelling work of philosophy, all the more so because it treats King seriously without inoculating him from the kind of critique important to both his theory and practice.--Shivani Radhakrishnan"Los Angeles Review of Books" (04/29/2018)
To Shape a New World is a milestone in the study of Martin Luther King, Jr., essentially a sanctified figure in American life, whose actual ideas are rarely interrogated in any depth, either in the public realm or in academic circles. What makes this volume particularly striking is the exceptionally high quality of the essays, which are analytically rigorous, impressively researched, and often profoundly original. They highlight the limits of common narratives about King and the civil rights movement, showing the shifts in his own thinking and the unconventional nature of many of his arguments. This is a path-breaking book.--Aziz Rana, Cornell University
This is a powerful and invaluable collection of essays on Dr. King. I hope it will inspire an entirely new generation of readers to go back and immerse themselves in Dr. King's language and thought and hear and heed his prophetic voice.--Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund
King's theology, philosophy, and nonviolent prophetic engagement are needed now more than any time since his death. In his last speech, Dr. King said that when it comes to the struggle for love and justice, 'nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now.' We must embrace his challenge in this moment and commit to go forward together, not one step back.--Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
While his birthday has become a national holiday and schoolchildren across the nation and the world know the words of his most famous speeches, there are still many aspects of his life and work that remain lesser known.--Time
Looks at the work of Dr. King as a philosopher, rather than a political figure. By examining some lesser-known writings, the authors draw the conclusion that Dr. King was a much more radical thinker than his watered-down legacy would suggest.--Vox
King was not simply a compelling speaker, but a deeply philosophical intellectual...King drew on theological, economic, and historical ideas to inform his philosophical thinking...We still have much to learn from him.--Olivia Goldhill"Quartz" (04/04/2018)
King's own scholarship is refreshingly illuminated in To Shape a New World.--Colin Grant"Prospect" (03/17/2018)
Reimagines King as a political thinker for our--and for all--time.--The Point
This book demonstrates the necessity of revisiting King's philosophy and creed of nonviolence...Perhaps most importantly, this collection gives us a clear look at the mechanisms of the nonviolent approach, a different option to discrimination instead of submission or violent resistance.--Kirkus Reviews (12/15/2017)
[A] robust and wide-ranging collection...The book as a whole displays the pliability and dynamism of King's thought, applying it to circumstances both recent (Barack Obama's presidency) and far in the past (the practice of slavery in 18th- and 19th-century America). Throughout, King's voice is placed within a community of philosophers...As the nation approaches the 50th anniversary of King's assassination, this work demonstrates, for anyone who needs convincing, the continued and vital importance of his thinking.--Publishers Weekly