1st Edition

Racial Justice and Nonviolence Education Building the Beloved Community, One Block at a Time

By Arthur Romano Copyright 2022
    192 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the role that community-based educators in violence-affected cities play in advancing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s radical nonviolent vision for racial and social justice.

    This work argues that nonviolence education can help communities build capacity to disrupt and transform cycles of violence by recognizing that people impacted by violence are effective educators and vital knowledge producers who develop unique insights into racial oppression and other forms of systemic harm. This book focuses on informal education that takes place beyond school walls, a type of education that too often remains invisible and undervalued in both civil society and scholarly research. It draws on thousands of hours of work with the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence (CTCN), a grassroots organization that presents an ideal case study of the implementation of King’s core principles of nonviolence in 21st-century urban communities. Stories of educators’ life-changing educational encounters, their successes and failures, and their understanding of the six principles of Kingian nonviolence animate the text. Each chapter delves into one of the six principles by introducing the reader to the lives of these educators, providing a rich analysis of how educators teach each principle, and sharing academic resources for thinking more deeply about each principle. Against the backdrop of today’s educational system, in which reductive and caricatured treatments of King are often presented within the formal classroom, CTCN’s work outside of the classroom takes a fundamentally different approach, connecting King’s thinking around nonviolence principles to working for racial justice in cities deeply impacted by violence.

    This book will be of much interest to students of conflict resolution, race studies, politics and education studies, as well as to practitioners in the field.


    1. Nonviolence is a Way of Life for Courageous People

    2. The Beloved Community is the Framework for the Future

    3. Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil

    4. Accept Suffering without Retaliation for the Sake of the Cause to Achieve the Goal

    5. Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence

    Conclusion: The Beloved Community is a Learning Community


    Arthur Romano is Assistant Professor at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, USA.

    'Racial Justice and Nonviolence Education is a must read for any educator working to create a healthy culture in their classrooms, or for anyone working on peace building anywhere. Romano combines touching, real life stories along with theory to bring the philosophy of nonviolence to life. This book helps to keep Dr. King’s legacy current and alive.'

    Kazu Haga, Kingian nonviolence trainer, Founder and Coordinator of East Point Peace Academy (Oakland, CA) and author of the book Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm

    'Weaving personal narratives with theory and practice, Dr. Romano offers compelling insights into the role of community-based educators in disrupting cycles of violence. In the process, he offers a sense of hope and optimism that applying Dr. King’s principles of nonviolence will catalyze the dismantling of persistent barriers to racial and social justice.'

    Lynn Pasquerella, Philosopher and President of the American Association of Colleges and Universities

    'When I last spoke with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the morning of the day he was murdered, we discussed the need to, in his words, better institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence. For that critical work to happen, we need nonviolence education that is relevant to people’s lives today and supports transformative change. Arthur Romano has crafted a beautiful book that shows in intimate detail how everyday people are stepping up to advance nonviolent social change. This is a moving story focused on the dedicated and creative people who are facing serious obstacles to help build the beloved community and advance democratic values at a time when they are under threat.'

    Barnard LaFayette, American Civil Rights Activist, Distinguished Nonviolence Educator