Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community and European Trumpism

47 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2020

See all articles by Henry J. Richardson

Henry J. Richardson

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law


The national Martin Luther King narrative of celebration has become so commodified as to shield from our sight the complex depths of King’s true greatness. He was more transformative than we have come to embrace, in his Pan-Africanism, his battles against European and American colonialism and racial subordination, his defiance of Cold War opposition to Black internationally oriented thinking and action, in insisting that his profound vision of the Beloved Community should become a non-utopian, non-violent, realized system of national and global governance, in his strong support of international human rights. His global authority had become widespread before his assassination in 1968, and he had become a contemporary bulwark of the Black International Tradition. The importance of this study of King lies in his early confrontation with the “roots of Trumpism” and his vision of the Beloved Community. His global authority emerged during his early leadership years in the American Civil Rights Movement, where he simultaneously confronted the American roots of Trumpism and the incoming European alt-rights demands against civil rights and for a subordinating White Atlantic public order. His authority spread to Europe accompanied by the influence of the norms of the Beloved Community, with one culminating point in his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, following epochal sermons on both sides of the Berlin Wall from where his principles lodged themselves into European freedom narratives. Invocations of his authority and norms of the Beloved Community continued through documented and discussed European invocations of King’s principles, and citations and holdings of his principles were brought into international law in opinions of the European Court of Human Rights. European invocations grew from expressed peoples’ need for King’s Dream from his historic 1963 March on Washington oration, and for his principles of non-violence and of agape love. The composite manifestations of King’s global authority in Europe thus were awaiting the appearance in Europe of President Trump’s 2016 election victory, along with continental manifestations of European Trumpism. King’s authority was mobilized in European resistance struggles against the spread of Trumpism. His European authority perseveres to battle the aggressive alt-right Trumpist demands for the post-colonial racial subordination of vulnerable peoples of color, demands which seek a White Atlantic public order to succeed the dominance of Empire to support white dominance. And from the Beloved Community came collective European realizations that a Kingian Dream was essential to those resistance struggles, for both vulnerable peoples and the European Union to be liberated from the stifling suppression of human values trailing in the wake of Trumpism.

Keywords: Martin Luther King, Racial Discrimination, International Racism, White Atlantic, Civil Rights Movement, Trumpism in Europe, European Court of Human Rights, White Identity Politics, Beloved Community Non-violent resistance, Pan-Africanism, I have a Dream

JEL Classification: K30, K33, K40

Suggested Citation

Richardson, Henry J., Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community and European Trumpism. Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 531, No. 1, 2018, Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Henry J. Richardson (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

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