Books & Bibliography

A Selected Bibliography on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights and Nonviolence

Books by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Collections of Dr. King's Writings & Speeches
Books about Martin Luther King, Jr. - Extended Citations
Books about Martin Luther King, Jr.
Books by Family Members
Books about The Civil Rights Movement
Books about Nonviolence

 

Books by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Strength to Love. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1963. This is a collection of Dr. King’s most requested sermons.

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1958. Dr. King’s first book; the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the beginning of the Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement.

The Trumpet of Conscience. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1968. (Foreword by Coretta Scott King.) This book is taken from the 1967 Massey Lectures which King gave through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. King addresses issues including the Vietnam War, youth and civil disobedience and concludes with the “Christmas Sermon for Peace.”

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1967. An assessment of America’s priorities and a warning that they need to be re-ordered.

Why We Can’t Wait. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1963. The essential writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. , James M. Washington, ed.

 

Collections of Dr. King's Writings and Speeches

Carson, Clayborne and Shepard, Kris (editors). A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Warner Books, 2001. This collection includes the text of Dr. King's best-known oration, "I Have a Dream, " his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, and "Beyond Vietnam," a compelling argument for ending the ongoing conflict. Each speech has an insightful introduction on the current relevance of Dr. King's words by such renowned defenders of civil rights as Rosa Parks, the Dalai Lama, and Ambassador Andrew Young, among others.   BUY THE BOOK

A Testament of Hope. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1986. A collection of quotations by Dr. King selected by Mrs. Coretta Scott King focusing on seven areas of concern; The Community of Man, Racism, Civil Rights, Justice and Freedom, Faith and Religion, Nonviolence and Peace.

The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Newmarket Press, 1983
Carson, Clayborne and Holloran, Peter (editors).

A Knock At Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., New York: IPM in Association with Warner Books, 1998. This is the definitive collection of eleven of Dr. King’s 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 greatness in us all.  BUY THE BOOK

Carson, Clayborne (editor). The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: IPM in Association with Warner Books, 1998.  This history-making autobiography is Martin Luther King in his own words: 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.  BUY THE BOOK

The King Papers - Volumes 1-6 (with more volumes forthcoming), University of California Press.

 

Books about Martin Luther King, Jr. - extended citations

Ansbro, John J. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Nonviolent Strategies and Taxtics for Social Change. Madison Books

Baldwin, Lewis. Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King Jr. 2010 Fortress Press

Baldwin, Lewis. There is a Balm in Gilead. 1991. Fortress Press

Baldwin, Lewis. To Make the Wounded Whole. 1992. Fortress Press.

King, Coretta Scott. My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1969. Revised edition copyright 1993 by Coretta Scott King.  When Coretta Scott King first wrote MY LIFE WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., America was just beginning to cope with the tragedy of his assassination. Her personal narrative helped us to hold on to his memory. Now addressing a new generation of readers, she reminds us of the Dr. King many of us have forgotten. Recounting the events of the Civil Rights Movement, Mrs. King shows us the true power of militant nonviolence – the most effective force for changing race relations in United States history. For the King family, though the Civil Rights Movement was not just a matter of marches and speeches. They had their own special battles against racism to fight on the home front. Revealing for the first time in detail how she found the strength, courage and resources to face daily threats, Mrs. King speaks directly to the problems many families face today.

Harding, Vincent. Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero. Orbis Books. In these eloquent essays that reflect upon King's legacy over the past two decades and the meaning of his life today, a portrait emerges of a man constantly evolving and going deeper into the roots of violence and injustice--a man whose challenge remains as timely and necessary as ever.

Jackson, Thomas F. From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice (Politics and Culture in Modern America). University of Pennsylvania Press

Moses, Greg. Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. The Guilford Press

Pepper, William F. Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: IPM in Association with Warner Books, 1995 by Dr. William Pepper. Excerpt from the front cover: “Here for the first time William F. Pepper reveals the whole truth about the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination. In 1978, at the urging of longtime civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy, William F. Pepper interviewed James Earl Ray at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. What he heard then and discovered in succeeding years so convinced him of Ray’s innocence that eventually he became James Earl Ray’s lawyer and continued a twenty-year investigation into the crime. Now Pepper’s revelations, based on extensive research and never-before-revealed evidence and interviews, solve the haunting mystery surrounding James Earl Ray’s real role in the killing and expose a ruthless conspiracy wrought by hate and power that will shame-and shock-all Americans.”

Philips, Donald T. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Leadership. New York: Warner Books, 1999.  Excerpt from the front cover: “A man who articulated a vision, crafted a strategy, and took defeats and turned them into victory, Dr. King and his life’s work offer us powerful lessons that you can apply to your life, business and any endeavor you undertake. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. ON LEADERSHIP shows today’s potential leaders how to: forge coalitions, consensus, and alliances based on the best interests of all concerned; obtain the information you need the most – and keep the channels of communication open; change direction – and allow your organization to redefine itself; handle crises and turn setbacks into positives; train the next generation of leaders. Part history and part inspiration, MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., ON LEADERSHIP blends an exciting story with sharp analysis. This is a book that will not only help leaders lead their organizations more effectively but teach all of us how to stand up for our own vision and our own dreams.”

 

Books about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bennett, Lerone, Jr. What Manner of Man. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., Book Division, 1964. An in-depth biography of Dr. King by the senior editor of Ebony magazine, who was a college classmate of Dr. King’s.

Oates, Stephen B. Let The Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Harper & Row, 1982.  An extensive and well researched biography of Dr. King which allows the reader to experience the life of Dr. King and the times in which he lived.

Schulke, Flip, ed. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Documentary, Montgomery to Memphis. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1976. A pictorial biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Witherspoon, Wm. Roger. Martin Luther King, Jr.: To the Mountaintop. Garden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1985  An extensively illustrated biography of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Books by Family Members

Farris, Christine King. Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Life and Dream. Lexington: Silver, Burdettee and Ginn, Inc., 1986. Teaching guide for grades K-12.

King, Rev. Bernice A. Hard Questions, Heart Answers: Three Rivers Press

King, Coretta Scott. My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., 1969. Mrs. King writes of her experiences as the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.

King, Dexter Scott. Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir: Grand Central Publishing

King, Rev. Martin Luther, Sr. Daddy King: An Autobiography. New York: William Morrow & Co. Inc., 1980. Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. tells the poignant aspects of his life.

King, Yolanda Denise; Elodia Tate. Open My Eyes, Open My Soul : Celebrating Our Common Humanity

Watkins, Angela Farris. My Uncle Martin's Big Heart: Abrams Books for Young Readers

 

Books about The Civil Rights Movement

Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, 1987. A memoir by Daisy Bates giving her account of “The Battle of Little Rock” of September 3, 1957.

Bennett, Lerone Jr. Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America. New York: Viking Penguin, 1984. This black history classic emphasizes the role of African-Americans in American history and culture. It is based on the trials and triumphs of black Americans.

Carson, Clayborne. In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960’s. Massachusetts: Harvard University, 1981. A history of SNCC’s evolving radicalism.

Clark, Septima. Ready From Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement. California: Wild Tree Press, 1986. A first person narrative book on Septima Clark of her participation in the movement.

Fager, Charles E. Selma 1965: The March that Changed the South. Boston: Beacon Press, 1985.

Fairclough, Adam. To Redeem the Soul of America: The SCLC and Martin Luther King, Jr. Athens: University of Georgia, 1987. A history of the SCLC and its role in bringing about a second reconstruction of the South.

Farmer, James. Lay Bare the Heart. New York: Arbor House, 1985. Autobiographical history of the Civil Rights Movement as seen through the eyes of James Farmer, founder of CORE.

Gilliard, Deric A. Unsung: Living in the Shadows of a Legend: Unsung Heroes and Sheroes Who Marched With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Gilliard Communications. 2002

Leventhal, Willy S. The Children Coming On : A Retrospective of theMontgomeryBus Boycott. Black Belt Press. 1998

Lewis, John. Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. Mariner Books. 1999

Morris, Aldon. The Origins of The Civil Rights Movement. New York: Free Press, 1984. This book covers a decade of the Civil Rights Movement, 1953-1963, focusing on the unsung black Americans and their little known community organizations which were a vital force in the Movement.

Pickering, George W., and Alan B. Anderson. Confronting the Color Line: Broken Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago. Athens: University of Georgia, 1986.

Raines, Howell. My Soul Is Rested. New York: Viking Penguin, 1977. Personal recollections from leaders and followers of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as voices from the resistance and supporters of the “Old South.” This book presents the reader with a human and compelling documentation.

Robinson, JoAnn. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of JoAnn Gibson Robinson. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987. David J.Garrow, ed.

Williams, Juan. Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. New York: Viking, 1987. A history of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955-1965 as seen by participants in the movement, then and now.

Woods, Barbara, Jacqueline Anne Rouse, and Vicki L. Crawford. Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, 1941-1965. New York: Carlson Publishing, 1990. A history of the significant roles African-American women have played in the struggle for freedom and equality.

Young, Andrew. An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation ofAmerica. Baylor Press. 2008.

Young, Andrew. A Way Out of No Way; The Spiritual Memoirs of Andrew Young. Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1996

 

Books About Nonviolence

Attenborough, Richard. The Words of Gandhi. New York: Newmarket Press, 1982.

Borman, William. Gandhi and Nonviolence. New York: University of New York, 1986. A critical exposition and evaluation of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence.

Cooney, Robert and Helen Michalowski. Power of the People: Active Nonviolence in The United States. Philadelphia: New Society, 1987. An informative history of the Nonviolent movement in this country.

Desai, Narayan. Towards A Nonviolent Revolution. Canton: Greenleaf Books.

Gandhi, Mahatma. Nonviolent Resistance. New York: Schocken, 1961.

Gandhi, Mahatma. Gandhi: An Autobiography. Boston: Beacon Press, 1957.

Gregg, Richard. The Power of Nonviolence. Canton: Greenleaf Books, 1984.

Holmes, Robert L. ed. Nonviolence In Theory and Practice. California: Wadsworth, 1990. A history of nonviolence and the people who practice it as a way of life.

Hornsburg, H.J.N. Nonviolence and Aggression: A Study of Gandhi’s Moral Equivalent of War. London: Oxford University, 1968. A critique of armed force and a general analysis of the requirements of an acceptable substitute.

Lakey, George. Powerful Peacemaking: A Strategy for a Living Revolution. Philadelphia: New Society, 1987.

Seeley, Robert. The Handbook of Nonviolence. New York: Lakeville Press, 1986. Includes Aldous Huxley’s Encyclopedia of Pacifism.

Sharp, Gene. Politics of Nonviolent Action. Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1974. A major exploration of the nature of nonviolent struggle. There are three volumes: Power and Struggle, The Methods of Nonviolent Action, and the Dynamics of Nonviolent Action.

Thoreau, Henry David. “Civil Disobedience.” New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1970. Thoreau’s classic essay on nonviolent resistance.

Tolstoy, Leo. The Law of Love and the Law of Violence. This book was written shortly before Tolstoy’s death and is his statement on the necessity of nonviolent collective action to stop escalating violence in the world.