Desegregation is only a partial, though necessary, step toward
the ultimate goal which we seek to realize. Desegregation will
break down legal barriers, and bring men together physically.
But something must happen so as to touch the hearts and
souls of men that they will come together, not because the law
says it, but because it is natural and right. In other words, our
ultimate goal is integration which is genuine intergroup and
Only through nonviolence can this goal be attained, for the
aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of
the beloved community.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1958
I do not think of political power as an end. Neither do I think
of economic power as an end. They are ingredients in the
objective that we seek in life. And I think that end or that
objective is a truly brotherly society, the creation of the beloved
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., July 13, 1966
The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption;
the end is the creation of the beloved community.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., December 3, 1956
Among Dr. King’s most compelling visions is that of a Beloved Community – a community in which people of different backgrounds recognize that we are all interconnected and that our individual well-being is inextricably linked to the well-being of others. Dr. King knew that the goal of social change is not tolerance alone, or even the recognition or enforcement of human or civil rights, or an improved economic condition. These are necessary but not sufficient steps in the path to human progress. We cannot rest until we have bridged the divides of prejudice and mistrust that lie within the human head and heart. Invariably, these final, resilient divisions are social and personal. Dr. King reminds us that reconciliation is a both a process and a final destination. The road to the Beloved Community is the difficult road of reconciliation among people who have been in conflict and negotiation. The Beloved Community is reconciliation achieved – a profound human connectedness, a transcendent harmony and love among all people.