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2012 Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List

File:Martin-Luther-King-1964-leaning-on-a-lectern.jpg

(Blogger’s Note–This is the fifth annual Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. There are 3 additions for 2012. Martin Luther King Day for 2012 is January 16.)

While it is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech, there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Martin Luther King and his message.

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam. He asked if America merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.  These questions are as relevant as ever as America is engaged in endless war and as income inequality grows.

It is within your power to bring about a better world. You have the ability to understand complex things. Learn about what a true prophet of justice Martin Luther King was in our society. After you learn more about Dr. King, take action yourself  to address the great pressing social problems of American life, and to address adverse conditions in our world as a whole.

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but I hope useful, Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list.

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premise of the book, which holds up in the telling, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X were not as far apart as often portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.

( Below–Martin & Malcolm)

File:MLK and Malcolm X USNWR cropped.jpg

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by the National Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.

(Below—Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. This was King’s home church.)

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jrand the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt  death would be the only true escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asked tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell.

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty though, I’ve always found this book to be sprawling and without  clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You need to have it on your shelf, but there are more concise ways to get at the “essential” King.

(Photo below is Rev. King with Coretta Scott King.)

New Listings for 2009

A quality children’s book on King is Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. The writing in this book is clear and concise and respectful of the intellect of children. It’s a great introduction to King and a gateway to further studies by young people.

A comprehensive examination of King’s radical views on economic questions can be found in From Civil Rights to Human Rights—Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice by Thomas F. Jackson. King had leanings towards forms of socialism and came to see the fight for fair wages as an essential element in the fight for full human rights. It should not be forgotten that King died in Memphis fighting for striking sanitation workers.

A web resource to learn about King is the Martin Luther King, Jr, Research and Education Institute that is run by Stanford University. There are King sermons and addresses you can read and a link to a King Online Encyclopedia.  (These things said, there is nothing as good as having you own printed collection of King sermons that you can take anywhere.)

New Listings for 2010—

Beacon Publishing in Boston has re-released two titles written by King. The books are available in both paperback and hardcover and are attractively  presented.

The titles are

Stride Toward Freedom–The Montgomery Story.

Where Do We Go From Here–Chaos Or Community?

Beacon describes Where Do We Go From Here in this way—

“In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this significantly prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, we find King’s acute analysis of American race relations and the state of the movement after a decade of civil rights efforts. Here he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, powerfully asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.”

Construction has begun in Washington of a King Memorial on the National Mall. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

The Memorial has a web home. At this site, you can find a video of what the memorial will look like and a history of the project.

New Listings for 2011–

King–-The Photobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr by Charles Johnson and Bob Adelman is a top-notch photo record of the life of Rev. King. It’s necessary that you read Dr King’s words and understand what he was saying.  It also has great value to see King as he battled the Southern sheriffs and as he marched with the people.

Powerful Days—The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore helps place Dr. King in context as part of a much larger movement.  We can’t forget that the Civil rights movement was, when all was said and done, led by average Americans who demanded that our nation finally live up to its founding ideas.

Going Down Jericho Road–The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign by Michael Honey reminds us that King died in Memphis fighting for the rights and wages of city sanitation workers. As I write this in early 2011, public employees are being blamed by some for the economic hard times we are facing. Don’t be tricked. Public employees are our fellow working people and Martin Luther King gave his life to make sure that they would be treated with dignity and respect.

New Listings for 2012—

Malcolm X–A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable was one of the N.Y. Times best books of 2011. It offers a new and expanded view on another great figure of the civil rights era.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is consistent with the focus of King’s final years on economic inequality. I cannot know for sure, but I believe King would have strongly supported Occupy Wall Street. Economic justive was an essential part of Martin Luther King’s work.

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth died in 2011. Rev. Shuttlesworth was a leader of the Birmingham Civil Rights campaign. Here is Shuttlesworth’s obit from The Birmingham News.  This link also ofers additional links to learn more about the Birmingham campaign.

There are three reference sources on Dr. King that stand out as best.

Here are the three—

Strength To Love is the best collection King sermons. It is a concise manageable book. You can cram it in your back pocket or in your purse. ( A larger purse at least.) I think you could read nothing but this one 158 page book, and know everything you need to know about Martin Luther King.

The audio collection of King’s sermons called  A Knock At Midnight might change your life. Stick the CD’s in your car stereo or listen to them at home and you’ll hear  King just as he was—Mighty and frail at the same time. I’ve listened to the sermons on Knock many times and they never get old. You can’t help but learn something or see an old question a new way each time you listen.

The definitive books on Martin Luther King’s life and the Civil Rights era are found in Taylor Branch’s three-volume America In The King Years series.

These three books are the Pulitzer Prize winning  Parting The Waters 1954-1963Pillar Of Fire 1963-1965, and At Canaan’s Edge, 1965-1968.

(Photo below of Rosa Parks with M.L.K. in the background. Here are facts about the Montgomery Bus Boycott.)

These books stand not only at the top of King biography, they stand as great examples of American biography. The picture of Dr. King is complete. You get the good and the bad. There will be times you’ll shake your head and ask yourself how Rev. King could have said that or done that.

You’ll also see how brave King was and how brave the Civil Rights marchers and protesters were. You’ll get a clear sense of the obstacles faced not just from whites, but from status quo blacks as well.  Mr. Branch offers a great deal of context for King’s life and experiences. He provides full portraits of other great Civil Rights leaders.

I can’t recommend all three volumes strongly enough. Read them and you’ll be an expert.

Please click here for a Texas Liberal post on King’s sermon Unfulfilled Dreams

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When & Where Is The 2011 Houston Martin Luther King Parade—I Will Tell You!

When and where is the 2011 Martin Luther King Day Parade in Houston, Texas?

The 2011 Martin Luther King Day Parade for Houston will be held on Monday January 17, 2011 beginning at 10:00 AM. The parade will go up and down Allen Parkway.

Here is the web page of the 2011 Grande Parade in Houston.

It is good to go to this parade. I will be at the parade.

What would also be good would be if the high schools that take part in the parade would send the  honor roll students,the debate club, and student government leaders instead of just the ROTC students.

There are always many ROTC troops at the parade. What would Rev. King have thought of young people parading about with fake rifles on a day to remember a disciple of Gandhi?

I’ve got nothing against the kids in ROTC. They are doing what they feel they need to do.

Still–Don’t we have teachers and principals in these schools who get the real idea of what Dr. King was trying to do with his life?

To help folks learn about the life of Dr. King, I put together an annual Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. It is the best such reference on the web.

Don’t let your admiration of Dr. King end with just attendance at a parade. Learn about the man and take action yourself for a more just society.

Here is my 2011 King Reference list– Continue reading

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Is It Best That Chamillionaire Will Be A Grand Marshal Of Houston MLK Parade?

The rap star Chamillionaire will be a co-Grand Marshal of the 2009 Martin Luther King Day Parade in Houston.  Above you see a picture of Mr. Chamillionaire. He is from Houston. 

This parade will be held starting at 10 AM on January 19 in Downtown Houston.

It is easy to say that Dr. King would have been less than pleased by the presence of Mr. Chamillionaire at his parade. I admit that this was my reflexive reaction. However, so I could give a more informed view about Mr. Chamillonaire, I’ve done some studying.

Here is a link to the web site Hip Hop News discussing Mr. Chamillonaire’s part in the parade. The story does not talk about any issues this performer has focused on. His Wikipedia profile makes no mention of any politcal activism.

Here  is his own web home. With his own space, Mr. Chamillonaire makes no mention of any political concerns, that I see at least, nor does he provide links to causes he sees as important.  

Though he does say the following in a profile at his web home— 

“He (Chamillionaire)  does just that on “Hip-Hop Police,” a look at how the media and a variety of public figures continue to place blame on rap music for social issues, making loving hip hop equivalent to committing a crime. Then there’s the insightful “Evening News,” where Chamillionaire examines — with a sarcastic tone – what constitutes newsworthiness on a planet filled with legitimately significant events and genuine human suffering. …”Everyday I watch the news and look at how crazy the world is,” he explains. “It humbles you to see other people’s problems and to see the amount of adversity others seem to be going through. If you think you’re going through hard times, you can always turn on the TV to see someone else who’s going through things 10 times worse than you. But then again, the media will also dedicate a majority of their time focusing on topics that I feel are not as news worthy, often times making celebrity gossip their main focal point. I wanted to do a record with some social commentary but also not be too heavy handed when it comes to discussing the stuff that we should really be focusing on. I wanted to find the perfect balance and go right down the middle.”

All right–That’s something. I have signed up for Mr. Chamillionaire’s e-mail updates in case he announces a more comprehensive commitment to political activity. 

Here is what it says about Mr. Chamillionaire in his profile on the Houston MLK Parade web home—

“On a personal level, there are many causes that are dear to Chamillionaire’s heart, especially anything to do with helping children; something that was inspired by his upbringing. Taking a cue from his Mother, who routinely took in foster kids while he was growing up, Chamillionaire himself currently homes 3 foster children. Cancer research and his church are also causes to which Chamillionaire contributes regularly. Chamillionaire’s fierce love for his city means that you will always find him present in times of need. Whether it is donations for hurricane repairs to schools, or giving his time to raise awareness for those causes he holds dear, Chamillionaire is a philanthropic staple in the Houston community.” 

I punched his given name, Hakeen Seriki, into a comprehensive list of political donors to federal campaigns and saw no donations to help elect Barack Obama. I’m not assuming that he supported Mr. Obama because he is black.  Mr. Chamillionaire is free to vote for whoever he chooses.  But I do think that Dr. King might have supported Mr. Obama.

Here is a link to Mr. Chamillionaire’s song lyrics. I have to say that many of these lyrics do not appear to advocate social responsibility. 

Here is a sample of lyrics from the song Parking Lot Pimpin’—

Ladies and Gents, I’m the prince of all parking lot pimps
Yes I’m the Grinch and I ride twenty inch, like it’s a synch
Might convince your woman, to let me leave my paw prints
On her ass, take a pinch while you watch like a wimp
Look it don’t make sense, rims bigger than Shawn Kemp
I maneuver the big body, like I’m parking a blimp
I’m the thoedest speaker, to ever speak through a speaker
Talk down on Chamillion, I’ll fix your face with my sneakers
I get more green, than a whole forest full of reefer
You just mad, cause you can’t afford a smart beep-beeper
I’m the crooked chrome creeper, from the gutter young thugger
Chrome rims looking bigger, than your seventh grade brother
Not a lover, she just trying to put me in a lip-lock
I can’t stay with you girl, I can only make a pit stop
Big rocks what I rock, and I sip plenty of Henny
While you losing your fame and game, like Penny and Lil’ Penny

Mr. Chamillionaire , like all of us, is a work in progress. Maybe at the parade next week, Mr. Chamillonaire could ask where are the honor roll students and the debate club students marching along with the gun-toting ROTC kids (Who I know are good kids as well.) What would Dr. King have wanted?

The Hip Hop News article says there will be a military flyover at the parade. Maybe Mr. Chamillionaire could ask if that is a good use of tax dollars in this time of recession and people losing jobs.  He could ask if  Reverend King would have ever wished to be honored with a military flyover.

Mr. Chamillionaire seems a hard working and creative person who has earned his succcess. I’m uncertain that if he wishes to be a full force for good, or really merits a place of honor at a celebration of the life of Martin Luther King, that Mr. Chamillionaire can proceed as he been doing with such lyrics and offering such messages.

I call upon Mr. Chamillionaire, and on all of us, to use King Day to reflect on what course is best to follow so we may be of the most service to others.

(Please click here for the 2009 Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.)

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Martin & Malcolm, Music, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

January 19 Is Martin Luther King Day, January 20 Is Inauguration Day—Take These Days Off Work If You Are Able

Monday, January 19, 2009 is Martin Luther King Day.  Tuesday, January 20, 2009 will be Inauguration Day for Barack Hussein Obama.

I’ve taken these two days off from work.  What great days they shall be. Take them off work if you are able and enjoy the holiday and the great events of the inauguration.

Of course, some get King Day off in any case. Though many do not. In 2009, take the day if you don’t get it and enjoy a holiday of history, justice, and hope.  Take the next day as well and celebrate with freedom loving Americans such as yourself.      

Below—True Blue Americans will be taking both these routes come the third week of January. Maybe a new sign and a new route will have to be made where you can get off at the same exit for Martin Luther King and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.   

Here is the second edition of the Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. There are three additions for 2009.  

While it is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech,  there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Dr. King and his message. 

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam and he asked if America  merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.  These questions, even in the time of Barack Obama, are still worthy of consideration.   

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but I hope, useful Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list. The three additions for 2009 are noted towards the bottom of the list.  

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premise, which holds up, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X  (photo below) were not as far apart as sometimes portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.  

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by the National Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.    

Regretfully, the nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church (photo below) , King’s home church, is currently under renovation. It will reopen in late 2009.  Still, the District as a whole is very much worth a visit.

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the almost deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt that death was going to be the only escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asked tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.     

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell. 

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty though, I’ve always found this book to be sprawling and without  clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You need to have it on your shelf, but there are more concise ways to get the “essential” King.  ( Photo below is Rev. King with Coretta Scott King.)      

Here are the three new titles for 2009—

A quality children’s book on King is Martin’s Big Words  by Doreen Rappaport. The writing in this book is clear and concise and respectful of the intellect of children. It’s a great introduction to King and a gateway to further studies by young people.

A comprehensive examination of King’s radical views on economic questions can be found in From Civil Rights to Human Rights—Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice by Thomas F. Jackson. King had leanings towards forms of socialism and came to see the fight for fair wages as an essential element in the fight for full human rights. It should not be forgotten that King died in Memphis fighting for striking sanitation workers.    

A web resource to learn about King is the Martin Luther King, Jr, Research and Education Institute that is run by Stanford University. There are King sermons and addresses you can read and a link to a King Online Encyclopedia.  (These things said, there is nothing as good as having you own printed collection of King sermons that you can take anywhere and make notes and underline key passages as it suits you.)

 There are three reference sources on Dr. King that in my view stand out.

Strength To Love is the best collection King sermons. It is a concise manageable book. You can cram it in your back pocket or in your purse. ( A larger purse at least.) I think you could read nothing but this one 158 page book, and know everything you need to know about Martin Luther King.

The audio collection of King’s sermons called  A Knock At Midnight might change your life. Stick the CD’s in your car stereo or turn it on at home and you’ll  hear Dr. King just as he was—Mighty and frail at the same time. I’ve listened to the sermons on Knock many times and they never get old. You can’t help but learn something or see an old question a new way each time you listen.   

The definitive books on Martin Luther King’s life and the Civil Rights era are found in Taylor Branch’s three volume America In The King Years series.

These three books are the Pulitizer Prize winning  Parting The Waters 1954-1963, Pillar Of Fire 1963-1965, and At Canaans Edge, 1965-1968.  (Photo below is of Rosa Parks being booked during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.)

These books stand not only at the top of King biography, they stand as great examples of American biography. The picture of Dr. King is complete. You get the good and the bad. There will be times you’ll shake your head and ask yourself how Rev. King could have said that or done that.    

You’ll also see how brave King was and how brave the Civil Rights marchers and protesters were. You’ll get a clear sense of the obstacles faced not just from whites, but from status quo blacks as well.  Mr. Branch offers a great deal of context for King’s life and experiences. He provides full portraits of other great Civil Rights leaders.

I can’t recommend all three volumes strongly enough. Read them and you’ll be an expert.        

Please click here for a Texas Liberal post on King’s sermon Unfulfilled Dreams

   

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, History, Politics | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List

1/14/2010–This list has been updated for 2010.

Martin Luther King Day is January 21, 2008.

If your town or city has a parade, you should consider going to the parade.

It is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech.

Yet there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Dr. King. It wasn’t all “I Have A Dream” and brotherhood.

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam and he asked if America  merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but still useful, Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list.

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premise, which holds up, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X (photo below) were not as far apart as sometimes portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by the National Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.

Regretfully, the nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church (photo below) , King’s home church, is currently under renovation. Still, it is all worth a visit.

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the almost deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt that death was going to be the only escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asks tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell.

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty though, I’ve always found this book to be somewhat sprawling and without a clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You need to have it on your shelf, but there are more concise ways to get at the “essential” King.  ( Photo below is Rev. King with Coretta Scott King.)

There are three reference sources on Dr. King that in my view stand out as best.

Strength To Love is the best collection King sermons. It is a concise manageable book. You can cram it in your back pocket or in your purse. ( A larger purse at least.) I think you could read nothing else but this one 158 page book, and know everything you need to know about Martin Luther King.

The audio collection of King’s sermons called  A Knock At Midnight might change your life. Stick the CD’s in your car stereo or turn it on at home and you’ll  hear Dr. King just as he was—Mighty and frail at the same time. I’ve listened to the sermons on Knock many times and they never get old. You can’t help but learn something or see an old question a new way each time you listen.

The definitive books on Martin Luther King’s life and the Civil Rights era are found in Taylor Branch’s three volume America In The King Years series.

These three books are the Pulitizer Prize winning Parting The Waters 1954-1963, Pillar Of Fire 1963-1965, and At Canaans Edge, 1965-1968. (Photo below is of Rosa Parks being booked during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.)

These books stand not only at the top of King biography, they stand as great examples of American biography. The picture of Dr. King is complete. You get the good and the bad. There will be times you’ll shake your head and ask yourself how Rev. King could have said that or done that.

You’ll also see how brave King was and how brave the Civil Rights marchers and protesters were. You’ll get a clear sense of the obstacles faced not just from whites, but from status quo blacks as well.  Mr. Branch offers a great deal of context for King’s life and experiences. He provides full portraits of other great Civil Rights leaders.

I can’t recommend all three volumes strongly enough. Read them and you’ll be an expert.

Please click here for a Texas Liberal post on King’s sermon Unfulfilled Dreams

January 15, 2008 Posted by | Books, History, Martin & Malcolm | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments