"We are concerned about the constant use of federal funds to support this most notorious expression of segregation. Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.
I see no alternative to direct action and creative nonviolence to raise the conscience of the nation.” MLK
Founded in 1970, the Africana and Latinx Studies Department is one of a handful in the United States which integrates and maintains the intersections of Black and Latino Studies. We also remain steadfast in our concern for social justice, upon which the fields were founded.
Originally conceived to foster a humane appreciation of the cultures of Africana and Latinx peoples previously excluded from curricula, the current ALS curriculum, and its faculty's research reflect many of the issues facing people of color on a global scale--poverty, environmental racism, poor access to education, and gender violence. We examine people and cases where organizing, resistance, and persistence have contributed to social justice.
The ALS program continues to evolve, incorporating new scholarship from critical race studies, social theory, gender-sexuality studies, borderlands, and political economy into our courses and activities. Our teacher-scholars practice what they teach and research. Our social engagement includes projects on-and-off campus, both local and global, such as refugee & asylum assistance, consultancy with democracy & governance issues, the union movement, LGBTQ advocacy, and immigrant rights work.
Johns Hopkins University Press, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, February 2018
On March 25, 1966 in Chicago at a press conference before his speech at the second convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), King said (in part):
“We are concerned about the constant use of federal funds to support this most notorious expression of segregation. Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.
“I see no alternative to direct action and creative nonviolence to raise the conscience of the nation.”
This documented quote (second sentence) differs from the more common “quote” in three striking ways. First, King spoke of injustice in “health,” not in health care. While it is impossible to know whether there was a meaningful difference between health and health care for King, his unfailing attention to poverty, racism, education, and housing—what we now often call social determinants of health—makes clear his moral concern beyond health care alone. Second, King said that injustice in health is “inhuman,” not inhumane. The distinction here is likely significant as a matter of degree. Inhumane suggests a lack of compassion for human suffering or pain whereas “inhuman” is more extreme, suggesting a denial of humanity so egregiously cruel that it is, or should be, beyond human action. The final difference in King’s actual words compared with the more popular version is perhaps the most important as it reveals King’s belief about why health injustice is inhuman. Injustice in health is “the most inhuman” form of inequality, says King, “because it often results in physical death.” King could not be plainer: human lives end because of this injustice. Death, as one of the most brutal consequences of radicalized injustice, is erased from King’s words by the exclusion of this phrase.
The ubiquity of King’s words today (in whatever form) reflects not only their rhetorical power, but also King’s abiding moral authority. The 21st century legacy of King’s gift of these words is that we have a social responsibility to “raise the conscience of the nation” so as to end this shocking and inhuman injustice.
Accessed 01/14/21 https://pnhp.org/news/getting-martin-luther-kings-words-right/