Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today honors Martin Luther King, Jr., one of history’s greatest and most influential orators. His empowering speeches and involvement in civil rights has made him a national icon, bringing hope that little words like “I have a dream” can change a country.

Below are five top books on Martin Luther King, Jr.:

1) The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Clayborne Carson

Summary: A factual, first-person reconstruction of Dr. King’s life using archival material from Stanford University, including previously unpublished writings, interviews, recordings, and more.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Year:
2001
Page Count:
416 (paperback)

2) A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Clayborne Carson, Kris Shepard, and Andrew Young

Summary: Reprints King’s most famous oration (“I Have a Dream”), his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, and his “Beyond Vietnam” argument against the war. Renowned civil rights activists—Rosa Parks, the Dalai Lama, Ambassador Andrew Young, etc.—offer their insight and provide relevant introductions to King’s words.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Year:
2002
Page Count:
240 (paperback)

3) Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Summary: Martin Luther King’s recollection of the Birmingham campaign in Alabama (perhaps the most racially segregated American city at the time), which highlights the importance of the year 1963 to the civil rights movement. Launched by Fred Shuttlesworth, King, and others, the campaign showed how nonviolent direct action can be effective. Dr. King reflects on the history of the civil rights struggle and what future generations must do to achieve full equality. The book includes King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Year:
2011
Page Count:
256 (paperback)

4) Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Summary: In these short pieces, written in jail cells and the trying years of the civil rights struggle, Dr. King conveys his commitment to justice and the intellectual, moral, and spiritual pillars kin to Christian discipleship.

Publisher: Fortress Press
Publication Year:
2010
Page Count:
192 (paperback)

5) A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. by MLK, James M. Washington

Summary: Martin Luther King’s words on the day before his assassination describe the “promised land” of racial equality, an ideal that King devoted himself to in the last twelve years of his life. This collection contains King’s writings, speeches, interviews, and autobiographical notations, underscoring his thoughts on nonviolence, social policy, black nationalism, and more.

Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Year:
1990
Page Count:
736 (paperback)

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