Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Review


While this book is full of the pithy, quotable lines that King is known for, I found reading it akin to chewing a bland and overcooked piece of chicken. My difficulty in getting through the book might have just been from too high of expectations, as I wondered when I was going to feel the chills and awe that listening to him speak or even reading \”Letter from a Birmingham Jail\” always brings.This was the last book King published and shows his thinking at its broadest. He covers almost every social justice issue ailing Black people and America at the time, writing on everything from the Vietnam War to the housing crisis. It\’s cool seeing all of the issues he thought critically about and wanted to change with his characteristic nonviolent, love-as-power approach, but the number of topics made the book feel unfocused.My favorite chapter though was on his stance on the Black Power movement. He writes about his conversations and relationship with Stokley Carmichael and explains why he was critical of the slogan, \”Black Power.\” He mentions that the slogan can be empowering but resigns that Black Power was a \”nihilistic philosophy born out of the conviction that the Negro can\’t win.\” I liked this chapter not because I agreed with King at all but because after talking about it to my brother, it reminded him a lot of Barack Obama\’s recent comment that young people should stop using \”Abolish the Police.\”  While I don\’t think their political legacies can or should be compared much at all, I find both of their prioritization of semantics interesting, especially as these are either Black or primarily-Black slogans. The thought that merely expressing one\’s mind and political opinion in a slogan could be a detriment to progress for Black people or all of America just doesn\’t make sense to me.Anyway, I think this book proves more than anything that actions speak much louder than words.

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