Robin Kelley 2-Pack
In some ways, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered twice. First by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis and then by killing his revolutionary message. Today, King is largely remembered with special holiday sales. His vision of radical revolution muted. He posed a special threat to the power structure. It was one thing to demand desegregation of lunch counters and quite another when in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech he called for: “a radical redistribution of economic and political power…a revolution of values…We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together. . . The whole structure of American life must be changed.” Those words in 1967 resonate today. The dream of revolution, of creating a society based on equality and justice lives on. Recorded at Williams College.
Historian and author Cedric Robinson defined the Black radical tradition as “the continuing development of a collective consciousness informed by the historical struggles for liberation.” The Black radical tradition is a rich and vibrant tapestry woven by the efforts of many Black people who raised their voices demanding freedom and equality denied to them by racial capitalism. They broke through white supremacy and forged the Black Radical Tradition. There were such giants as W. E. B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, and Malcolm X. And important cultural figures such as Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, Paul Robeson, and Toni Morrison. Today, the legacy of these pioneers and many others inform and inspire Black movements for liberation and justice from Ferguson to Minneapolis to Memphis.
Robin D. G. Kelley, a professor of history at UCLA, is a distinguished scholar and award-winning author. Among his many books are Race Rebels, Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times and Freedom Dreams.