Reading a Movement

mlk
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. touring Kansas State University in 1968. Photo courtesy of K-State Archives.

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday I’m offering a few of my favorite books related to his life, work, and legacy.

A KNOCK AT MIDNIGHT: INSPIRATION FROM THE GREAT SERMONS OF REVEREND MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. by Martin Luther King, Jr., Peter Holloran, and Clayborne Carson

Collecting eleven of King’s most powerful sermons delivered throughout his career, this book offers amazing insight into the development of his writing and oratorical skills. Although he inspired the world with his words during the late 20th Century civil rights struggle, he also moved congregations to demonstrate their faith through action. I recommend the audiobook so you can hear the messages from the man himself.

WHY WE CAN’T WAIT by Martin Luther King, Jr

This accounting of the 1963 civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama is noted for its inclusion of King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail which addresses the criticisms levied against him during the protest. However, it also stands as a stark reminder of the powerful economic and social implications of the movement going forward, particularly as the United States ramped up for the 1964 presidential election.

CORETTA SCOTT by Ntozake Shange and Kadir Nelson

Picture books don’t get nearly enough credit for being great works of literature. This one featuring Shange’s elegant poetry and Nelson’s vivid imagery is one of my favorites, presenting a powerful and emotional account of Coretta Scott King’s life and activism.

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