The Political and Rhetorical Strategies of Martin Luther King

by VanessaVaile

There are still two posts in Richard Moser’s IOS series to re-blog: I will intersperse with posts in this longer series. The two series are, after all, both about strategies and thus related.

Also coming up: a series on the 2016 political season and 2009’s “Organizing: The Arts and Sciences” revisited as a series.

Be Freedom

First in a series of eleven posts on MLK.


Martin Luther King was one of the few political leaders, then or now, that was able to articulate a coherent political strategy that emerged from and connected with on-the-ground social movement activism. What can we learn for King about political and rhetorical strategy, about movement building and organizing? What were his method and means?

Ella Baker, perhaps the most important organizer of the 20th century, said, “ ‘You see, I think that, to be very honest, the movement made Martin rather than Martin making the movement. This is not a discredit to him. This is, to me, as it should be.’’ We must remain wide awake to Baker’s work and teachings as part of our review of MLK. As the civil rights movement’s most articulate and influential leader we can hear the strategies and insights of the civil rights…

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