In new book Black Prophetic Fire, renowned speaker, activist and social commentator Dr. Cornel West discusses the black prophetic tradition.
Working with editor Christa Buschendorf, West discusses six key figures: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ella Baker, Malcolm X, Ida B. Wells and Martin Luther King Jr., the latter of whom makes up his first political memory.
In an interview with TIME, West recalled getting to see the Civil Rights icon speak, when West was just 10-years-old. But even though he was so young at the time, West remembers knowing that “this brother was for real when he talked about love. And he knew justice is what love looks like in public.”
West went on to discuss some of King’s later writing, in which he heavily criticized the Vietnam War. “He’s always maladjusted to injustice,” West said.