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King's Own Words

As the nation prepares to honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., on 20 January, attention naturally turns to the many books and documentaries covering his life and deeds. But readers should also consider King’s own writings: sermons, speeches, essays, and other writings that have been collected in several volumes. Some of these were originally published at the height of the Civil Rights movement but have been recently republished. All are excellent sources for getting a detailed portrait of the man and his ideas. Check out the following titles from Richland Library’s collection.


"All Labor Has Dignity" by Martin Luther King Jr.
Amazon Says: An unprecedented and timely collection of Dr. King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice   People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to econo more...
Amazon Says: An unprecedented and timely collection of Dr. King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice   People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform. As we struggle with massive unemployment, a staggering racial wealth gap, and the near collapse of a financial system that puts profits before people, King’s prophetic writings and speeches underscore his relevance for today. They help us imagine King anew: as a human rights leader whose commitment to unions and an end to poverty was a crucial part of his civil rights agenda.   Covering all the civil rights movement highlights—Montgomery, Albany, Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, and Memphis—award-winning historian Michael K. Honey introduces and traces King’s dream of economic equality. Gathered in one volume for the first time, the majority of these speeches will be new to most readers. The collection begins with King’s lectures to unions in the 1960s and includes his addresses during his Poor People’s Campaign, culminating with his momentous “Mountaintop” speech, delivered in support of striking black sanitation workers in Memphis. Unprecedented and timely, “All Labor Has Dignity” will more fully restore our understanding of King’s lasting vision of economic justice, bringing his demand for equality right into the present. less...
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The Trumpet of Conscience by Martin Luther King Jr.
Amazon Says: In November and December 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered five lectures for the renowned Massey Lecture Series of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The collec more...
Amazon Says: In November and December 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered five lectures for the renowned Massey Lecture Series of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The collection was immediately released as a book under the title Conscience for Change, but after King’s assassination in 1968, it was republished as The Trumpet of Conscience. The collection sums up his lasting creed and is his final testament on racism, poverty, and war.   Each oration in this volume encompasses a distinct theme and speaks prophetically to today’s perils, addressing issues of equality, conscience and war, the mobilization of young people, and nonviolence. Collectively, they reveal some of King’s most introspective reflections and final impressions of the movement while illustrating how he never lost sight of our shared goals for justice. The book concludes with “A Christmas Sermon on Peace”—a powerful lecture that was broadcast live from Ebenezer Baptist Church on Christmas Eve in 1967. In it King articulates his long-term vision of nonviolence as a path to world peace. less...
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Amazon Says: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s account of the first successful large-scale application of nonviolence resistance in America is comprehensive, revelatory, and intimate. King describ more...
Amazon Says: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s account of the first successful large-scale application of nonviolence resistance in America is comprehensive, revelatory, and intimate. King described his book as "the chronicle of fifty thousand Negroes who took to heart the principles of nonviolence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth.'' It traces the phenomenal journey of a community, and shows how the twenty-eight-year-old Dr. King, with his conviction for equality and nonviolence, helped transformed the nation-and the world. less...
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Amazon Says: With fiery words of wisdom and a passion for justice, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired people everywhere to perform extraordinary acts of courage and ignited one of more...
Amazon Says: With fiery words of wisdom and a passion for justice, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired people everywhere to perform extraordinary acts of courage and ignited one of the most influential movements of the twentieth century. This is the definitive collection of eleven of his most powerful sermons, from his earliest known audio recording to his last sermon, delivered days before his assassination. With introductions by renowned theologians and ministers including Reverend Billy Graham and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, filled with moving personal reflections and firsthand accounts of the events surrounding each sermon, A KNOCK AT MIDNIGHT is Dr. King's living voice today -- an irresistible call that resonates and inspires the greatness in us all. less...
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Amazon Says: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountaintop, let freedom ring. --Martin Luther King, Jr. From the dusty back roads of Montgomery, Al more...
Amazon Says: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountaintop, let freedom ring. --Martin Luther King, Jr. From the dusty back roads of Montgomery, Alabama, to the legendary March on Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr., brought a stirring message of peace, equality, and justice to a divided people. He aspired only to be a Baptist minister, but by the time he was tragically assassinated in 1968 at the age of thirty-nine, he had led a movement that destroyed segregation in the South, and he had won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Now, a quarter century after his death, his words are as significant and moving as they were in the 1960s. Watts burns today as it did then; issues of race, justice and human dignity are still the most critical problems facing our nation. This handsome quotation book represents the finest of the Reverend King's words; it is a classic volume compiled from his essays, lectures, and speeches by his wife, Coretta Scott King. Excerpts form his most famous speech-"I Have a Dream" and "I've Been to the Mountaintop"-are included, as well as equally powerful but lesser known quotations. King's vision of healing and forgiveness is a timeless message that American can ill afford to ignore. less...
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Why We Can't Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Amazon Says: Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963 “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ But when you have more...
Amazon Says: Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963 “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim…when you see the vast majority of twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky…when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you…when…your wife and mother are never given the respected title ‘Mrs.’…when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.” Why We Can’t Wait Martin Luther King’s Classic Exploration of the events and forces behind the Civil Rights Movement less...
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