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Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 451–469 | Cite as

The Son’s Fault: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Search for and Recovery of Sonship

  • Jay-Paul Hinds
Original Paper
  • 157 Downloads

Abstract

This article examines the role of sonship in the psychological and spiritual development of men. In using the methodology of psychobiography, I explore the life history of Martin Luther King, Jr. to analyze his search for and recovery of sonship. I propose that sonship helps men rebel against and, in the end, overcome the feelings of inadequacy that are experienced in their struggles to achieve manhood, particularly within the father–son dyad. The scholarship of pastoral theologian Donald Capps is instructive in this regard, in that he suggests that sons should be allowed to search for a male figure, a father-substitute, who can affirm, not disdain or reject, this state of sonship. In the end, what is often viewed as a negative act of regression—i.e., the recovery of and return to sonship—is recognized instead as a positive one that assists a man in his journey toward wholeness.

Keywords

Sonship Martin Luther King, Jr. Daddy King Fault Manhood Uncanny 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interests.

Human Participants or Animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Howard University School of DivinityWashingtonUSA

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