Monthly Archives: February 2014

Beyond the Dreamer

Originally published in the January 2014 issue of Sojourners

IN THE LAST YEAR of his life, Martin Luther King Jr. struggled with what are best understood as existential challenges as he began to move toward an ever-more-profound and radical understanding of what would be required to deal with the nation’s domestic and international problems.

The direction he was exploring, I believe, is far more relevant to the realities we now face than many have realized—or have wanted to realize.

I first met King in 1964 at the Democratic Party’s national convention held that year in Atlantic City—the occasion of an historic challenge by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) to the racially segregated and reactionary Mississippi Democratic Party. I was then a very young aide working for Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.
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Part 2 of my conversation with Peter Buffett: “If you don’t have a way to speak to ordinary Americans, you’re not in the game.”

Picking up where the short introductory excerpt left off, this next segment from our long conversation finds Peter Buffett and myself discussing the influence that growing up Midwestern had on both of us, and how these early experiences of community have shaped—for the better (we hope)!—the way we each try to talk about systemic challenges and solutions.


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