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Keeping the Dream Alive: Meridian as Alice Walker’s Homage to Martin Luther King and the Beloved Community

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Abstract This essay examines the ways in which Alice Walker’s 1976 novel Meridian is shaped by Martin Luther King Jr.’s notion of the Beloved Community, a religious and social ideal that epitomized the goals of the 1960s civil rights movement. Previous studies of Meridian focus on connections between the novel and the movement, but they do not explore the connections between the novel’s spiritual dimensions and King’s religious philosophy. As Walker pays tribute to King and his religious philosophy throughout Meridian, she also fleshes out her own womanist philosophy. Indeed, Walker’s womanist philosophy as revealed in Meridian is more congruent with King’s Christian theology than one might expect, for the values of redemptive suffering, nonviolence, love, and community are as central to the novel as they are to King’s thought.

Affiliations: 1: Hongik University Seoul, URL:


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