Monday, January 17th 2022 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrating the birth of King on January 15th, 1929. If you're interested in learning more about the life, work and philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr., consider reading some of his most well-known writings, listed below.
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written in his own words, this history-making autobiography is Martin Luther King: the mild-mannered, inquisitive child and student who chafed under and eventually rebelled against segregation; the dedicated young minister who continually questioned the depths of his faith and the limits of his wisdom; the loving husband and father who sought to balance his family's needs with those of a growing, nationwide movement; and the reflective, world-famous leader who was fired by a vision of equality for people everywhere.
Strength to Love
Strength to Love is more than a blueprint, it is a template for personal authenticity in a time when social and economic change depend on personal integrity. The insight, luminously conveyed in this classic text hints at a personal transformation at the root of social justice. Dr. King states, "By reaching into and beyond ourselves and tapping the transcendent moral ethic of love, we shall overcome these evils."
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story
MLK’s classic account of the first successful large-scale act of nonviolent resistance in America: the Montgomery bus boycott.
A young Dr. King wrote Stride Toward Freedom just 2 years after the successful completion of the boycott. In his memoir about the event, he tells the stories that informed his radical political thinking before, during, and after the boycott—from first witnessing economic injustice as a teenager and watching his parents experience discrimination to his decision to begin working with the NAACP. Throughout, he demonstrates how activism and leadership can come from any experience at any age.
The Trumpet of Conscience
In November and December 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered five lectures for the renowned Massey Lecture Series of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Immediately released under the title Conscience for Change after King’s assassination, it was republished as The Trumpet of Conscience. Each oration speaks prophetically to today’s perils, addressing issues of equality, conscience and war, the mobilization of young people, and nonviolence. The book concludes with “A Christmas Sermon on Peace,” a powerful lecture about nonviolence as a path to world peace that was broadcast live from Ebenezer Baptist Church on Christmas Eve in 1967.
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
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 prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, 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, asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.
Why We Can't Wait
In this remarkable book—winner of the Nobel Peace Prize—Dr. King recounts the story of Birmingham in vivid detail, tracing the history of the struggle for civil rights back to its beginnings three centuries ago and looking to the future, assessing the work to be done beyond Birmingham to bring about full equality for African Americans. Above all, Dr. King offers an eloquent and penetrating analysis of the events and pressures that propelled the Civil Rights movement from lunch counter sit-ins and prayer marches to the forefront of American consciousness.