Each year on Martin Luther King Day, I read or re-read something from his writings.His earliest autobiography, Stride Toward Freedom, is one of my favorite books. It tells the story of the Montgomery Bus Strike and MLK’s rise to national prominence. Strength to Love reveals King’s thought on Civil Disobedience and non-violence. Where Do We Go From Here?, his final book published in his lifetime, provided insight into how to continue the work of justice. Beyond this he has many charismatic sermons and speeches. The Martin Luther King Research at Stanford University has an extensive collection of his papers. Yet it is his King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail that I turn to again and again (follow the link above to read it online).
In this letter, King responds to criticisms from white clergy members, that his actions in fighting for racial equality was ‘unwise and untimely.’ King defends his tactics and timing and gives a theological grounding for civil disobedience. He urges his fellow pastors to join in the fight against racial injustice. Throughout, he has some strong words about white privilege that are unfortunately still relevant, fifty-three years later. Here are a couple of quotations: Continue reading MLK Day and White Privilege in the Church