Monday, January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observed In The United States

Wherever freedom and the right to exercise it are honored, so will be the memory of the great Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of the American civil rights movement, who was born on January 15, 1929, and was cruelly assassinated on April 4, 1968.   He followed the nonviolent example of Mahatma Ghandi, and, like him, ironically died a violent death.

Sadly, not every employer in the U.S. chooses to honor the memory of this unforgettable man.  He is indeed honored by those whose moral compass compels them to do so.

Dr. King's famous speech, "I Have a Dream", which he delivered at the 1963 Washington, D.C. Civil Rights March, rallied every citizen who truly believed in racial equality.

His stirring speeches have been gathered into several books, one of which I have listed here.  I have also listed a biography written by 'the reporter who became the unofficial chronicler of the civil rights movement', Marshall Frady.  Also included here is Dr. King's compelling account of the 1963 Birmingham campaign, Why We Can't Wait, as well as a recently-published book on Dr. King's last year of life.


 Martin Luther King, Jr., A Life
Trade Paperback, 224 pages
Penguin Group, USA
December 27, 2005
American History, Biography, Nonfiction
Politics, Social Justice

Book Synopsis

Marshall Frady, the reporter who became the unofficial chronicler of the civil rights movement, here re-creates the life and turbulent times of its inspirational leader. Deftly interweaving the story of King’s quest with a history of the African American struggle for equality, Frady offers fascinating insights into his subject’s magnetic character, with its mixture of piety and ambition. He explores the complexities of King’s relationships with other civil rights leaders, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, who conducted a relentless vendetta against him. The result is a biography that conveys not just the facts of King’s life but the power of his legacy.

A Testament of Hope:
The Essential Writings and 
Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Trade Paperback, 736 pages
December 7, 1990
(first published 1986)
American History, Politics, Philosophy, 
Nonfiction, Social Justice

Book Synopsis

Here, in the only major one-volume collection of his writings, speeches, interviews, and autobiographical reflections, is Martin Luther
King Jr. on non-violence, social policy, integration, black nationalism, the ethics of love and hope,
and more.

Why We Can't Wait
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Beacon Press
January 11, 2011
(first published 1963)
American History, Politics, Philosophy,
Nonfiction, Social Justice

Amazon US/Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository

Book Synopsis

Often applauded as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most incisive and eloquent book, Why We Can’t Wait recounts the Birmingham campaign in vivid detail, while underscoring why 1963 was such a crucial year for the civil rights movement. During this time, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States, but the campaign launched by Fred Shuttlesworth, King, and others demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action. King examines the history of the civil rights struggle and the tasks that future generations must accomplish to bring about full equality. The book also includes the extraordinary “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which King wrote in April of 1963.

Death of a King: The Real Story of 
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last Year
(with David Ritz)
Hardcover, 288 pages
Little, Brown and Company
September 9, 2014
American History, Biography, 
Nonfiction, Politics, Social Justice

Book Synopsis

 A revealing and dramatic chronicle of the twelve months leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations -- denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few -- all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy.
Smiley's Death of a King paints a portrait of a leader and visionary in a narrative different from all that have come before. Here is an exceptional glimpse into King's life -- one that adds both nuance and gravitas to his legacy as an American hero.

Famous Dr. King Quotes
"I have a dream that my four little children
will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color
of their skin, but
by the content of their character."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that."

"The ultimate measure of a man  is not
where he stands in moments
of comfort and convenience, but
where he stands at times of challenge
and controversy."

"Our lives begin to end the day
we become silent about things that matter."

"I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Online Links


Brian Joseph said...

great post Maria.

Martin Luther King and his legacy is one of the things that have become positive cornerstones of our Western civilization. The fact that his beliefs and actions still respond and drive so much that is positive about our world is a testament to that.

I really need to read some of his writings and as well as a good biography of him.

Maria Behar said...

Hey, Brian!

Thanks for the compliment!!

You know, this great man's legacy is indisputably one of the most important of the 20th century! Without his courageous leadership, nothing related to race relations would have changed. We would probably still have public restrooms marked "white only" and "colored only". Of course, some discrimination remains, but it's much more subtle. But blatant discrimination is now illegal, thanks to Dr. King.

I have ordered "Why We Can't Wait", which I hope to read soon.

Thanks for the great comment!! : )