From Kelly Brown Douglas’ Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God: “This brings us to perhaps the most significant aspect of King’s dream and the black prophetic tradition. It is not bound by the past, or even by the present. It is driven by the future. In the midst of the harshest realities of a stand-your-ground culture, King spoke of a dream for a different world. He did not surrender to the crucifying realities of the world. He did not permit it to have the last word. This was the power of his black faith. It enabled him to live into the resurrection promise of new life. In this regard, the future was that which shaped his life, and hence his vision for America. King’s dream was not born from the possibilities that the past offered but rather from the promise of God’s future. Recognizing the nation’s religious identity, King called the nation to this future. King often proclaimed that the “arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” King’s dream was a testament to this arc. Therefore, though the past was significant in shaping the present reality, because it was a crucifying past, King did not allow it to have authority over his future dreams, or his present actions for that matter. As the cross took seriously the harsh and brutal realities of human evil, so too did King. However, a new history had to be written. The only way for that to occur was from the vantage point of the future, not the past. King’s dream reflected the in-breaking of God’s future into the present. It was about a moral imagination.”


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