There Is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Lewis V. Baldwin | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

This work has sought to uncover those central threads that gave shape, vitality, and unique significance to King's life, thought, and vision. More specifically, it has focused on King as essentially a product of black culture and the black experience in the South. Special attention has been devoted to his sense of regional identity and regional responsibility as a black southerner, and also to his nourishing foundation in the contexts of family, church, and the larger black community of Atlanta, Georgia. It has been argued that the black experience and the black Christian tradition were the most important influences in the shaping of King's life, thought, vision, and efforts to translate the ethical ideal of the beloved community into practical reality.

Much of the writing about King has been intensely biographical, with particular attention to the significance of his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary and Boston University. Such works have merit, but their failure to attach primary importance to King's cultural context suggests both a racial bias and an antisouthern bias. This volume should serve as a corrective to this misguided approach. This work effectively shifts research from the usual configuration of the sources of King's life and thought to a greater appreciation of the decisive influence of his roots in the institutions, values,

-337-

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There Is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Cast Down Your Bucket Back Home to an Old Southern Place 15
  • 2: Walk Together,Children Family Heritage 91
  • 3: How I Got Over Roots in the Black Church 159
  • 4: Up, You Mighty Race! the Black Messianic Hope 229
  • 5: Standing in the Shoes of John 273
  • Conclusion 337
  • Index 340
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