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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., 1987.

“We can’t slow up because of our love for democracy and our love for America. Someone should tell Faulkner that the vast majority of the people on this globe are colored.”

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men.” (632)

“We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.” (620)

“Racism is no mere American phenomenon. Its vicious grasp knows no geographical boundaries.” (620)

“This is a treacherous foundation for a world house. Racism can well be that corrosive evil that will bring down the curtain on Western civilization. Arnold Toynbee has said that some twenty-six civilizations have risen upon the face of the earth. Almost all of them have descended into the junk heaps of destruction. The decline and fall of these civilizations, according to Toynbee, was not caused by external invasions but by internal decay. They failed to respond creatively to the challenges impinging upon them. If Western civilization does not now respond constructively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all men.” (623)

“But the real reason that we must use our resources to outlaw poverty goes beyond material concerns to the quality of our mind and spirit. Deeply woven into the fiber of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God, and that they are souls of infinite metaphysical value. If we accept this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungry, to see men victimized with ill-health, when we have the means to help them. In the final analysis, the rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied together. They entered the same mysterious gateway of human birth, into the same adventure of moral life.” (626)

“One of the most persistent ambiguities we face is that everybody talks about peace as a goal, but among the wielders of power peace is practically nobody’s business. Many men cry ‘Peace! Peace!’ but they refuse to do the things that make for peace.” (627)

“The United Nations is a gesture in the direction of nonviolence on a world scale. There, at least, states that oppose one another have sought to do so with words instead of with weapons. But true nonviolence is more than the absence of violence. It is the persistent and determined application of peaceable power to offenses against the community–in this case the world community. As the United Nations moves ahead with the giant tasks confronting it, I would hope that it would earnestly examine the uses of nonviolent direction action.” (628)

“Truth is found neither in traditional capitalism nor in classical communism. Each represents a partial truth. Capitalism fails to see the truth in collectivism. Communism fails to see the truth in individualism. Capitalism fails to realize that life is social. Communism fails to realize that life is personal. The good and just society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of communism, but a socially conscious democracy which reconciles the truths of individualism and collectivism.” (628)

“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.” (632)

“This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This often misunderstood and misinterpreted concept has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love, I am speaking of that force which all the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the First Epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love…. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Frederick Glaysher

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Robert Hayden’s Angle of Ascent

Robert HaydenRobert Hayden’s Angle of Ascent. Presented at Wayne State University, ROBERT HAYDEN/DUDLEY RANDALL CENTENNIAL SYMPOSIUM, April 2, 2014, where I also read on April 3, the canto, from my epic poem, The Parliament of Poets, “The Flight to the Moon of the persona, with his guide, the poet Robert Hayden.”

Emphasizing the continuing influence of Robert Hayden, Phillip M. Richards of Colgate University, educated at Yale University and the University of Chicago, writes, in his 2006 book, Black Heart: The Moral Life of Recent African American Letters, “In the long view of African-American poetry, Hayden’s symbolist poetry has proved more influential than the Black Arts movement…. Hayden, years after his death, remains our most influential black poet, and his followers the most productive and distinguished school of artist intellectuals” (178). Similarly, Charles Henry Rowell, editor of the journal Callaloo, in his book published last year, Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, writes, “The title of this anthology . . . pays tribute to Hayden, a master artist who left behind an extraordinary gift in the pantheon of North American poetry.”

I want to emphasize what Charles Henry Rowell is implying by his carefully choosing the words “North American Poetry.” Rowell understands the literary, social, and aesthetic values that Hayden stood for and realized he couldn’t narrow them down. I myself read Robert Hayden’s poetry for years before I became one of Hayden’s students in 1979. While fully recognizing and relishing Hayden’s poetry, then and now, as I believe the foremost engagement with African-American experience in poetry, I’ve always had the sense, too, which Rowell suggests, that Hayden’s poetry speaks to the human experience of all North Americans, with the universal aspirations of the greatest poets, such as a Whitman. As the author of an epic poem in which Robert Hayden is a character, that has been reviewed in Poetry Cornwall in England as “a masterpiece that will stand the test of time,” and reviewed by Dr. Hans-George Ruprecht of Carleton University in Ottawa as “a great epic poem of startling originality and universal significance,” I gratefully acknowledge that I could never have written my epic poem, The Parliament of Poets, without the example of the art and tutelage of Robert Hayden. Today, we honor Robert Hayden’s striving for the universal, his ability to help us see and understand that about ourselves and our nation, our national experience, one of the perennial goals of great art. At a time when the goals and scope of the literary art were becoming smaller and smaller, turning inward on the small experience of the confessional postmodern self, all the cliches of the personal, the deriding of so-called meta-narratives, Robert Hayden unabashedly saw the personal against the backdrop of a wider social canvas, ever increasingly global in his reach, leading to his poem “[American Journal],” the cosmic vision of his persona from an alien civilization, more human than we are, pondering the nature of life in the United States and on the entire planet…..

The full essay, with an additional biographical paragraph, is now available in

The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays
Forthcoming, September, 2014.

https://www.earthrisepress.net/myth_of_the_enlightenment.html

Frederick Glaysher

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White Guilt. Shelby Steele.

 

Shelby Steele

White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era.Shelby Steele . HarperCollins, 2006.

March 24, 2009

The 2006 approval by voters of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative merely marks another step along the path of a much deeper cultural shift on the part of blacks and whites. The old formulas have not worked, are not working, and definitely never will work. In his bookWhite Guilt, Shelby Steele tells us why, explains the sorry spectacle of over forty years of misguided government intervention in the lives of black people and the social devastation and erosion that “redemptive liberals,” white and black, have wreaked upon a people, undermining their earlier comparable independence and social cohesion….

Now available in

The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays
Forthcoming, September, 2014.

https://www.earthrisepress.net/myth_of_the_enlightenment.html

Incidentally, I participated in a panel discussion on MCRI at Wayne State University Law School, October 26, 2006. See Ending Racial Preferences: The Michigan Story. 2008. by Carol M. Allen and William B. Allen. I highly recommend their book on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Frederick Glaysher

Editor, Robert Hayden’s Collected Prose. University of Michigan Press, 1984.
Alumnus ’80 & ’81

Why Voters Should Approve MCRI
www.fglaysher.com/MCRI/

 

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Winning the Race. John McWhorter.

 

 

John McWhorter

Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America. John McWhorter. Gotham, 2006.

March 22, 2009

John McWhorter’s Winning the Race has a strong sociological approach to the issues of black America, surveying the history of the development of the inner cities and the welfare system, leading to the dependence that later found expression in affirmative action and racial preferences. My background being more literary in nature, I do not have the grounding for assessing McWhorter’s sociological arguments and data and will focus on his discussion of racial preference and its dynamics, of which I have personal experience, on the ground shall we say, and extensive knowledge and interest….

Now available in

The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays
Forthcoming, September, 2014.

https://www.earthrisepress.net/myth_of_the_enlightenment.html

Frederick Glaysher