Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
The ideal of social justice in the United States has its roots in both the Judeo-Christian and ancient Greek traditions. From the latter our notion of democracy as a just institution is derived. At the theoretical level, Plato attempted to define ideal justice in his Republic, but here we are not concerned with ideal justice. At the practical level, the Hebrew prophet Amos urged public officials to practice justice as enjoined by Moses and his predecessors. Some 2700 years later Martin Luther King, Jr., sought to combine these two senses of justice when he insisted that America can satisfy its democratic creed-that all men are created equal only when it "allows justice to roll like water and righteousness like a mighty stream." Like the lonely prophet Amos, King was a voice for the toiling masses.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1991