Arc of the Moral Universe

Activist Martin Luther King often invoked the phrase, “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  He used this phrase to argue for the rightness of civil, labor, and economic rights in the United States.  But for those of us who value social democracy, we often allow this idea to lull us into complacency, as we believe threats to workers’ rights, racial and gender equality, and even the integrity of our elections are mere bumps in the road along a broader trajectory of progress.  But the arc of the universe only bends toward justice when we take action, and this meditation on labor activism, using King’s last campaign in Memphis as an example, will explain why.

John Shelton is associate professor and chair of democracy and justice studies at UWBG.

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