The Paris Review excerpts Professor Keeanga Taylor’s chapter in the forthcoming book Fifty Years Since King, edited by Brandon Terry. Taylor considers King’s commitment to economic liberation for all African Americans.
As King’s attention drifted from the South to the entrenched northern ghettos, he faced denunciations and chastisement from former allies in the North. These people had supported him so long as he confined his demands to ending legal discrimination. Indeed, because Southern racism was rendered as antiquated and regressive, King was celebrated for helping to pull the South toward progress and modernity. But even as the civil rights movement was valorized for its intervention in the South, it was demonized when it brought its call for black power and liberation to the North—a dynamic that continues to the present day.
Read more of Taylor’s chapter at The Paris Review.
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