Guest Commentary

MLK’s message, inspiration live on

To examine a person’s biography from academic disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, research tools of historiography are necessary, especially to study the life of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Too often, we study a black life in isolation and not as part of the African-American community, shaped and formatted by the interactions of other African-Americans in forums such as barber shops, beauty salons, grocery stores, porches and school yards.

These are public environments where black people fraternize.

Such was the case with King’s family.

Even more important, King is often viewed as a catalyst of the civil rights movement.

Dr. Maulana Karenga, author and professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, categorizes King’s sociopolitical philosophy in four areas:

1.) King located blacks as a people whose suffering prepared them for a divine historical mission.

2.) He believed that blacks had the moral right and responsibility to disobey unjust laws in their resistance to social order.

3.) He believed it was immoral and cowardly to submit in one’s own oppression.

4.) He believed human nature is perfectible through struggle.

Let us learn from the voice, ideas and memory of Dr. King and the lasting contributions he made to the social landscape of America.

Dr. James L. Connor Jr. is the director of African-American Studies at UH and may be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment