MLK: IN HIS OWN WORDS
Each video below is a hand-drawn Illustration of a quote from the speeches, articles, and correspondences delivered at various points in Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.
A quote from a letter to the Editor of the Atlanta Constitution that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote as a sophomore at Morehouse College. The letter criticizes the tendency of "a certain class of people" to encourage a sense of fear about social intermingling and intermarriage between the races, and asserts that these specific issues aren't particularly relevant. Instead, King lists several rights and opportunities that Black people aimed to achieve as the appropriate matters upon which to focus.
A quote from a letter that King wrote to Coretta Scott, then a woman he had begun dating a few months prior. This letter shows King as a young man in love. The piece, however, moves beyond the poetic language that describes King's romantic feelings for Scott. Here, he shares his mind, how he thinks on topics such as the utopian novel Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, and how he intended to approach his role as a preacher.
King delivered The Montgomery Bus Boycott speech, one of his earlier major addresses, to a crowd of approximately 5,000 people, four days after the arrest of Rosa Parks. Here, he urges his audience to commit to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would ultimately last over a year, ending when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public busses is unconstitutional.
From September 1957 until December 1958, King wrote a monthly advice column for Ebony Magazine. In Advice for Living, he responded to a variety of reader questions ranging from the personal to the political. This quote is excerpted from his response to this reader question: “Last Sunday my preacher did something that disturbed me. He mixed a lot of worldly things in his sermon. My question is this: Should God and the NAACP be mixed in the pulpit?”
For much of the month and a half preceding this sermon, King had been traveling, spending much of that time in India. This sermon, delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, moves through space and time and ties Gandhi’s story to King’s own faith tradition while also underlining the argument for nonviolence.”
In Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King addresses criticism, point-by-point, that he received from local religious leaders about the tactics that King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Birmingham’s local civil rights movement used, putting pressure on Birmingham merchants during a busy shopping season, in order to move toward desegregation.
This quote comes from a speech that King Delivered at the Great March on Detroit. The speech would later be described as a precursor to his “I Have a Dream” speech.
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. takes the opportunity to argue that “nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time—the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression."
The Chicago Freedom Movement, supported by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Chicago-based Coordinating Council of Community Organizations sought, a variety of civil rights gains in Chicago. King delivered a speech at the Chicago Freedom Festival, a concert that raised over $100,000 to support the movement, to an interracial crowd of around 12,000. In the speech, he focused on issues impacting Chicago sums and encouraged the audience to participate in nonviolent protest in the spring."
In this address, King makes a connection between the beginning of his pastorate and his speaking out against the Vietnam War. In addition to stating five actions he believed that the United States government should undertake to begin to disengage from the war, he lists “seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of [his] moral vision.”
In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech, he discusses the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. In support of the sanitation workers, he urges the audience to participate in nonviolent direct action as well as use their buying power strategically by supporting Black businesses and businesses that had fair practices. Famously, he ponders his own mortality in this speech given the day before he was assassinated.
We talk about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as a pop culture figure. Also, the words "hot preacher" may have been involved....
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE COLLECTION
In Remembrance of Martin (streaming video)
A PBS documentary filmed in Atlanta on the first federal holiday in his honor. Includes archival footage of Dr. King's life, including being fingerprinted after his arrest during the Montgomery bus boycott, his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial, and his 1964 acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize. Also includes interviews with Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, Desmond Tutu, Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, and more.
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.
A special volume commissioned and authorized by his family, here is the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr., drawn from a comprehensive collection of writings, recordings, and documentary materials, many of which have never before been made public.
The Wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr. (CD)
Contains some of the most important speeches of MLK's life.
Death of a King: The Real Story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year by Tavis Smiley
A dramatic chronicle of the 12 months leading up to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.