Cover: To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., from Harvard University PressCover: To Shape a New World in HARDCOVER

To Shape a New World

Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The collection brings together a series of impressive scholars—Cornel West, Martha Nussbaum, and Robert Gooding-Williams among them—to look at King’s understudied writings on economic inequality, just-war theory, and voting rights… To Shape a New World is a compelling work of philosophy, all the more so because it treats King seriously without inoculating him from the kind of critique important to both his theory and practice.—Shivani Radhakrishnan, The Los Angeles Review of Books

[A] robust and wide-ranging collection… The book as a whole displays the pliability and dynamism of King’s thought, applying it to circumstances both recent (Barack Obama’s presidency) and far in the past (the practice of slavery in 18th- and 19th-century America). Throughout, King’s voice is placed within a community of philosophers… As the nation approaches the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, this work demonstrates, for anyone who needs convincing, the continued and vital importance of his thinking.Publishers Weekly

Reimagines King as a political thinker for our—and for all—time.The Point

King’s own scholarship is refreshingly illuminated in To Shape a New World.—Colin Grant, Prospect

King was not simply a compelling speaker, but a deeply philosophical intellectual… King drew on theological, economic, and historical ideas to inform his philosophical thinking… We still have much to learn from him.—Olivia Goldhill, Quartz

This book demonstrates the necessity of revisiting King’s philosophy and creed of nonviolence… Perhaps most importantly, this collection gives us a clear look at the mechanisms of the nonviolent approach, a different option to discrimination instead of submission or violent resistance.Kirkus Reviews

While his birthday has become a national holiday and schoolchildren across the nation and the world know the words of his most famous speeches, there are still many aspects of his life and work that remain lesser known.Time

Looks at the work of Dr. King as a philosopher, rather than a political figure. By examining some lesser-known writings, the authors draw the conclusion that Dr. King was a much more radical thinker than his watered-down legacy would suggest.Vox

This is a powerful and invaluable collection of essays on Dr. King. I hope it will inspire an entirely new generation of readers to go back and immerse themselves in Dr. King’s language and thought and hear and heed his prophetic voice.—Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund

King’s theology, philosophy, and nonviolent prophetic engagement are needed now more than any time since his death. In his last speech, Dr. King said that when it comes to the struggle for love and justice, ‘nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now.’ We must embrace his challenge in this moment and commit to go forward together, not one step back.—Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

To Shape a New World firmly situates Dr. King in the canon of American political thought. An extraordinary group of scholars grapple with the subtlety and nuance of King’s political philosophy, and they set the stage for a renewed engagement with his broader work. This is a must-read in our time.—Eddie S. Glaude, Princeton University

To Shape a New World is a milestone in the study of Martin Luther King, Jr., essentially a sanctified figure in American life, whose actual ideas are rarely interrogated in any depth, either in the public realm or in academic circles. What makes this volume particularly striking is the exceptionally high quality of the essays, which are analytically rigorous, impressively researched, and often profoundly original. They highlight the limits of common narratives about King and the civil rights movement, showing the shifts in his own thinking and the unconventional nature of many of his arguments. This is a path-breaking book.—Aziz Rana, Cornell University