Suggested Reading: MLK Edition

Today’s suggested reading is focused around the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. In today’s tense sociopolitical climate, and in light of recent acts of aggression by law enforcement on unarmed African American individuals, the message of Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. have a profound impact on the way we discuss race, identity, and social injustice in this country. Below are several links that reflect upon Martin Luther King’s legacy and honor the continued struggle for social, political, and economic equality.


– Cornell West has edited and a recently published collection of Martin Luther King’s speeches and writings called “The Radical King.” Read an excerpt from the book, a speech by Dr. King in support of Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, just two weeks before he was assassinated in the same city. via Truthout

– In 2008, Faith Ringgold wrote a powerful introduction and illuminated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail,” through a series of eight serigraph prints. via Limited Editions Club

– A public art project called Exhibit Be in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans turned an abandoned apartment complex into a statement on Civil Rights and Black History. via Buzzfeed

– “The role of art in our society is not to reenact history but to offer an interpretation of human experience as seen through the eyes of the artist.” Rep. John Lewis (D. Ga) on Selma. via LA Times

-“A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.” -from “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” (July 29, 1979) by James Baldwin. via New York Times

-“In the century and more since the 1899 acquisition of the Tanner, the museum also has accessioned key pieces by other essential African American artists, giving visitors a rich if synoptic history of trends in American art over the past two centuries. And for a visitor who has followed art, and issues of identity and collecting in Washington of late, the exhibition is particularly intriguing — a foil, of sorts, to some of the more conflicted and problematic shows seen in the District in recent months.” Washington Post art critic,

– Next month, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York will open the exhibition Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship, which features three decades of seminal work by LGBTQ artists that have been censored by major museums. via Hyperallergic

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