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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.


Amazon Says: "Thou, Dear God" is the first and only collection of sixty-eight prayers by Martin Luther King, Jr. Arranged thematically in six parts--with prayers for spiritual guidance, sp more...
Amazon Says: "Thou, Dear God" is the first and only collection of sixty-eight prayers by Martin Luther King, Jr. Arranged thematically in six parts--with prayers for spiritual guidance, special occasions, times of adversity, times of trial, uncertain times, and social justice--Baptist minister and King scholar Lewis Baldwin introduces the book and each section with short essays. Included are both personal and public prayers King recited as a seminarian, graduate student, preacher, pastor, and, finally, civil rights leader, along with a special section that reveals the biblical sources that most inspired King. Collectively they illustrate how King turned to private prayer for his own spiritual fulfillment and to public prayer as a way to move, inspire, and reaffirm a quest for peace and social justice. With a foreword by Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, it is the perfect gift for people and leaders of all faiths, and an invaluable resource for spiritual individuals and those who lead worship. The book includes a very rare, very limited use photo of Dr. King praying and gold foil stamping on the front cover, a frontispiece photo of the King family at prayer, a prayer ribbon, and elegant endpapers. less...
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"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: Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Civil Rights movement, inspiring generations and transforming the future of the United States. T more...
Amazon Says: Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Civil Rights movement, inspiring generations and transforming the future of the United States. This collection includes the text of Dr. Kings best-known oration, I Have a Dream, his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, and Beyond Vietnam, a compelling argument for ending the conflict. 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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Amazon Says: More than two decades since his death, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s ideas—his call for racial equality, his faith in the ultimate triumph of justice, and his insistence on the more...
Amazon Says: More than two decades since his death, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s ideas—his call for racial equality, his faith in the ultimate triumph of justice, and his insistence on the power of nonviolent struggle to bring about a major transformation of American society—are as vital and timely as ever. The wealth of his writings, both published and unpublished, that constitute his intellectual legacy are now preserved in this authoritative, chronologically arranged, multi-volume edition. Faithfully reproducing the texts of his letters, speeches, sermons, student papers, and articles, this edition has no equal. Volume One contains many previously unpublished documents beginning with the letters King wrote to his mother and father during his childhood. We read firsthand his surprise and delight in his first encounter (during a trip to Connecticut) with the less segregated conditions in the North. Through his student essays and exams, we discover King's doubts about the religion of his father and we can trace his theological development. We learn of his longing for the emotional conversion experience that he witnessed others undergoing, and we follow his search to know God through study at theological seminaries. Throughout the first volume, we are treated to tantalizing hints of his mature rhetorical abilities, as in his 1945 letter to the Atlanta Constitution that spoke out against white racism. Each volume in this series contains an introductory essay that traces the biographical details of Dr. King's life during the period covered. Ample annotations accompany the documents. Each volume also contains a chronology of key events in his life and a "Calendar of Documents" that lists all important, extant documents authored by King or by others, including those that are not trnascribed in the document itself. The preparation of this edition is sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta with Stanford University and Emory University. 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 hav 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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