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Martin Luther King's Biblical EpicHis Final, Great Speech$
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Keith D. Miller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617031083

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617031083.001.0001

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date: 22 July 2018

Across the Red Sea

Across the Red Sea

The Exodus Continues

(p.71) Chapter 4 Across the Red Sea
Martin Luther King's Biblical Epic

Keith D. Miller

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines Martin Luther King Jr.’s use of the Exodus narrative in his oration to reconceive the garbage workers’ strike in Memphis and as he imagines traveling in a time machine to visit sublime historical events. It considers how this fantasy of time travel enables King to summon the stupendous, multifaceted importance assigned by biblical writers to the Exodus, and how it also helps him treat the Bible as an ongoing drama that shaped the Protestant Reformation and American emancipation. The chapter argues that King framed the Exodus as a model for later, liberatory events in the lives of African Americans, including the Memphis strike.

Keywords:   strike, Martin Luther King, Exodus, garbage workers, Memphis, historical events, Bible, Protestant Reformation, emancipation, African Americans

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