Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

“The Negro will only be truly free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs…his own emancipation proclamation”


First edition of Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s final book—containing the important chapter on “Black Power.”

King’s book is about non-violence in the face of growing black nationalism and militancy in the mid-1960s:

As long as the mind is enslaved the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation or Kennedyan or Johnsonian civil rights bill can totally bring this kind of freedom. The Negro will only be truly free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive selfhood his own emancipation proclamation. ...and say to himself and the world: “I am somebody. I am a person. I am a man with dignity and honor. I have a rich and noble history, however painful and exploited that history has been. I am black and comely.” This self-affirmation is the black man’s need made compelling by the white man’s crimes against him. This is positive and necessary power for black people. (pp43–44)

“Black militants increasingly turned away from the Gandhian precepts of King toward the black nationalism of Malcolm X, whose posthumously published autobiography and speeches reached large audiences after his assassination in February 1965. Unable to influence the black insurgencies that occurred in many urban areas, King refused to abandon his firmly rooted beliefs about racial integration and nonviolence. He was nevertheless unpersuaded by black nationalist calls for racial uplift and institutional development in black communities. In his last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967), King dismissed the claim of Black Power advocates ‘to be the most revolutionary wing of the social revolution taking place in the United States,’ but he acknowledged that they responded to a psychological need among African Americans he had not previously addressed.” (ANB)


Description: Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, (1967). First Edition (“D-R”). [12], 209pp. 8½ x 6 inches. Quarter black cloth and dark yellow paper-covered boards; pictorial dust jacket. Trivial, hidden, faint creases to spine panel of dust jacket; small, very faint pink stain on jacket’s cover; very good.

[3728975]

Price: $50.00