Top 10 Martin Luther King Books

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Top 10 Martin Luther King Books

Martin Luther King wished for all citizens of the United States to be evaluated on their personal characteristics rather than their skin color. He was assassinated by a racist bigot in April 1968. He had won the Nobel Peace Prize 4 years before for his nonviolent anti-racism effort. King followed Gandhi’s nonviolence doctrine. In 1955, he launched his campaign to convince the US government to declare the southern states’ racial segregation policies unconstitutional. Racists retaliated violently against black people’s nonviolent actions. 250,000 people marched to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in 1963, when Martin Luther King delivered his iconic “I have a dream” address. The next year, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill outlawing all forms of racial oppression. King, on the other hand, faced formidable foes. When King opposed the administration’s policies in Vietnam, FBI Director John Edgar Hoover had him put under monitoring as a communist, and he lost popularity with the President. It’s still unclear if King’s assassin acted alone or as part of a larger scheme. Martin Luther King is one of the most important visionaries of America and every American citizen should know about them. However, the books in this list go a little more deeply into his life and how he was as a person. So, here are the top 10 best books about Martin Luther King.

1. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Elwood Curtis, a black hamlet in divided Tallahassee, takes Dr. Martin Luther King’s advice to heart as the Civil Rights era starts to approach the black stronghold of Frenchtown. One simple error would be enough to ruin a black boy’s career in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s. Elwood is condemned to the Nickel Academy, which is a horrible chamber of misery for juveniles. Elwood, astonished to learn himself in such a hostile atmosphere, clings to Dr. King’s ringing statement, “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” The conflict between Elwood’s values and his friend’s doubts leads to a decision with long-term consequences. As life at the Academy becomes increasingly dangerous, the conflict between Elwood’s principles and Turner’s cynicism leads to a conclusion with long-term consequences. The Nickel Boys is a disastrous, driven story that demonstrates a great American novelist composing at the peak of its power and “should further solidify Whitehead as one of his decade’s best” based on the true story of a juvenile hall that operated for 111 years and contorted the lives of thousands of children.

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2. The Source of Self Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison speaks for herself in this collection of her most important articles and lectures, covering four decades. Her heartfelt prayer for the 9/11 victims, her Nobel speech on the power of propaganda, her profound reflection on Martin Luther King Jr., and her heart-breaking eulogy for James Baldwin are all included within these pages. She investigates the cultural and political fault lines, including the foreigner, women’s liberation, the press, wealth, “black matter(s),” human rights, the artist in culture, and the Afro-American influence in American literature. Toni Morrison‘s most treasured and everlasting voice shines through in The Source of Self-Regard, an important anthology from an important author, with the literary grace, intellectual ability, spiritual insight, and moral conscience that have made her our most beloved and lasting voice.

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3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a strong new structure for comprehending our country’s past and current problems in a deep work that swivels from the largest questions about U.S history and values to the most personal worries of a father for his son. Between the World and Me weaves together personal narrative, reinvented past, and new, highly emotional reporting to brilliantly expose the past, challenge the present, and give a magnificent vision for the future. Americans have constructed an empire on the concept of “race,” a lie that harms us all but disproportionately affects the bodies of black women and men, who were exploited via slavery and segregation and are now threatened, imprisoned, and murdered in large numbers. What’s it like to occupy a black body and figure out how to survive there? And how can we all come to terms with this tumultuous past and release ourselves from its weight?

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4. MLK: An American Legacy: An American Legacy: Bearing the Cross, Protest at Selma and the FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. by David J. Garrow

Teacher and historian David J. Garrow‘s selection paints a multifaceted and intriguing picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and his task to overturn deeply entrenched biases in societal structure and enact change in the law that would bring African Americans inclusivity one hundred years after their liberation from enslavement. Bearing the Cross follows King’s development from a young pastor who led the 1955–56 Montgomery bus boycott to an inspirational figure of America’s civil rights era, with a focus on King’s pivotal involvement at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King’s appeal, his moral commitment to lead a peaceful battle against racial inequality, and the devastating impact this calling took on his life are all captured in Garrow’s film. In Protest at Selma, Garrow dives further into one of the most pivotal episodes in the civil rights struggle. These protests resulted in the momentous Voting Rights Act of 1965, which, together with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is a crucial part of Martin Luther King’s legacy. Garrow delves into King’s political tactics and awareness of how media coverage—particularly accounts of white brutality against nonviolent African American protestors—arouses sympathy for the cause.

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5. The Promise and the Dream by: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy by David Margolick

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, with their vision and political cunning, set the United States on a course for realizing its goal of freedom and justice for all. Margolick investigates their special link in life and their terrible murders sixty-two days apart in 1968 in The Promise and the Dream. Margolick paints a vivid picture of these two men and their mutual support, discomfort, animosity, and adoration through authentic interviews, oral histories, FBI data, and hitherto untapped contemporary sources. MLK and RFK charted separate but parallel routes to long-term transformation. Even when they weren’t physically engaging, they kept an eye on each other and learned from each other. Their shared story, which each guy worked hard to keep hidden throughout his life, is not only riveting history but also a glimpse into the issues that America continues to face. The Promise and the Dream offers a comprehensive look into the period, with a prologue by award-winning scholar Douglas Brinkley and more than eighty fascinating images by the best photojournalists of the day.

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6. Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws That Changed America by Nick Kotz

A white Texan politician and an American Black clergyman who led a rebellion were the most unlikely of allies. But President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. were able to attain a collective objective by working jointly. In Judgment Days, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Nick Kotz takes a behind-the-scenes look at the tumultuous professional relationship that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, two of America’s most important civil rights laws. Kotz investigates the circumstances that brought the two powerful men together—and the forces that finally pushed them apart—using previously inaccessible resources such as telephone calls, FBI wiretaps, and correspondence between Johnson and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

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7. Killing The Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Gerald Posner

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, by a single gunshot. James Earl Ray, a convicted felon, was spotted running from a rented room that faced the hotel balcony where King was assassinated. Ray was apprehended two months after a worldwide manhunt began. Ray first admitted guilt, but later changed his mind and claimed for the remainder of his life that he was an unwitting pawn in a great plot. Gerald Posner, an excellent investigative journalist, reassesses Ray and the proof in Killing the Dream, including tracking down the mystery guy Ray claimed to be the conspiracy’s architect. Posner rips through fraudulent witnesses, misleading allegations, and a web of misinformation regarding that awful spring day in 1968, beginning with an excellent history of Ray and ending with a dramatic narrative of the assassination and its consequences. He disproves Ray’s plot hypothesis and, in the end, reveals what truly happened on the day King was assassinated.

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8. The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement by Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of America in the King Years trilogy, reads from his massive book, recounting key episodes in the Civil Rights Struggle. The King Years is a masterwork of narrative about race and politics, violence and peace, and common heroes whose tales continue to influence us now. Here is the complete story of an era that changed America and continues to teach us important lessons in today’s society. Branch’s commitment, “For students of freedom and instructors of history,” is well fulfilled in this essential primer.

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9. Becoming King: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Making of a National Leader by Troy Jackson

Troy Jackson shows how Martin Luther King’s formative days as a preacher and campaigner in Montgomery, Alabama, shaped his image as a civil rights icon in his book Becoming King. Jackson examines King’s capacity to reach out to people across racial and class barriers using the keen lens of Montgomery’s fight for racial justice to evaluate his burgeoning authority. King’s friendships with Jo Ann Robinson, a youthful English professor at Alabama State University, E. D. Nixon, a middle-aged Pullman porter and president of the local NAACP chapter, and Virginia Durr, a brave white woman who bailed Rosa Parks out of jail, are highlighted in particular by Jackson.

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10. King’s Dream by Eric J. Sundquist

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comments from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, “I have a dream,” are among the most well-known and constantly repeated. The finely constructed and powerful tone of King’s speech has become symbolism not only for his personal life but also for the whole civil rights struggle. Eric J. Sundquist places the “I Have a Dream” speech in the context of American discussions about racial justice—discussions that date back to the founding of the country—and illustrates how the speech, an exhilarated mix of grand poems and powerful eloquence, perfectly voiced the story of African American freedom. This is the first work to place King’s address in the context of the contemporary and rhetorical practices on which he drew in developing his eloquence, as well as the speech’s key historical circumstances, from the foundation of the republic to the current Supreme Court judgments. Sundquist addresses the transformative impact of King’s “Second Emancipation Proclamation” and its significance for modern debates about fairness at a time when the speech’s substance has been muddled by its exploitation for every possible cause.

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