Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, January 17, the United States will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, marking the birth of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Want to learn more about his life and legacy? Check out some of our featured titles from across our collections. 

For Adults 

The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel E. Joseph 
The Sword and the Shield is a dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King that transforms our understanding of the twentieth century’s most iconic African American leaders. Peniel E. Joseph reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives. This is a strikingly revisionist biography, not only of Malcolm and Martin, but also of the movement and era they came to define. Print 

My Life My Love My Legacy by Coretta Scott King 
The life story of Coretta Scott King–wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist–as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds. Print 

A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
His speeches stirred a generation to change – and outlined a practical way to economic freedom and true democracy. His words would help bring about the end of a brutally unequal system – and would show a timeless method for achieving fairness and justice for all. Print 

Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last 31 Hours by Joseph Rosenbloom 
Redemption is an intimate look at the last thirty-one hours and twenty-eight minutes of King’s life, drawing on dozens of interviews by the author with people who were immersed in the Memphis events. It features recently released documents from Atlanta archives and includes compelling photos. The fresh material reveals untold facets of the story including a never-before-reported lapse by the Memphis Police Department to provide security for King. It unveils financial and logistical dilemmas and recounts the emotional and marital pressures that were bedeviling King. Also revealed is what his assassin, James Earl Ray, was doing in Memphis during the same time and how a series of extraordinary breaks enabled Ray to construct a sniper’s nest and shoot King. Print  

Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Final Year by David Ritz 
Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King’s life, revealing the minister’s trials and tribulations — denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country’s black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few — all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy. Ebook 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: A Historical Perspective 
This documentary offers a one-of-a-kind examination of Dr. King’s extraordinary life. Using rare and largely unseen film footage and photographs, this film explores how Dr. King’s ideas, beliefs and methods evolved in the face of the rapidly changing climate of the Civil Rights Movement. Streaming on Kanopy 


For Teens 

A Time to Break Silence: The Essential Works of Martin Luther King Jr. for Students 
A Time to Break Silence presents the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most important writings and speeches-carefully selected by teachers across a variety of disciplines-in an accessible and user-friendly volume for students. Arranged thematically in six parts, the collection includes eighteen selections and is introduced by award-winning author Walter Dean Myers. Included are some of Dr. King’s most well-known and frequently taught classic works, like “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream,” as well as lesser-known pieces such as “The Sword that Heals” and “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?,” which speak to issues young people face today. Print 

Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson 
James Earl Ray and Martin Luther King, Jr. had two very different life journeys – but their paths fatally collide when Ray assassinates the world-renown civil rights leader. This book provides an inside look into both of their lives, the history of the time, and a blow-by-blow examination of the assassination and its aftermath. Print 

Martin Luther King, Jr.: A King Family Tribute by Angela Farris Watkins 
Martin Luther King Jr.’s family comes together for the first time to share their reflections and memories of the great civil rights leader. Included are contributions from his sister (the only surviving member of his immediate family), his children, his in-laws, his nieces and nephews, and even his grandchildren, who, although they never met him, explain what his legacy means to them. Unlike the iconic persona normally associated with the man, the book presents a more personal, warm, and loving portrait: wrestling with his brother on the bed (despite their being in their thirties), sneaking naps during holiday meals, as well as playing games with his nieces and nephews. Alongside these tributes are never-before-published family photos of Dr. King, as well as new photographs of the memorial dedicated to him in August 2011 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Print 

For Children 

Martin Luther King Jr. by Laurie Calkhoven 
Martin Luther King Jr. will always be remembered for his famous “I have a dream” speech, which he gave during the March on Washington in 1963. But his life before and after that big event, and his other enormous contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, largely go unspoken. In this biography for kids ages 8-12, learn all about MLK–from his early family life and experiences in education, to his untimely death and the worldwide mourning and riots that followed. Print 

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Sally Lee 
Discusses the history and importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as well as ways that Americans celebrate it. Print 

Martin Luther King Jr. by Ma Isabel Vegara Sanchez 
Little Martin grew up in a family of preachers: his dad was a preacher, his uncle was a preacher, his grandfather was a preacher…so maybe he’d become a great preacher too. One day, a friend invited him to play at his house. Martin was shocked when his mother wouldn’t let him because he was black. That day he realized there was something terribly unfair going on. Martin believed that no one should remain silent and accept something if it’s wrong. And he promised himself that – when he grew up – he’d fight injustice with the most powerful weapon of all: words. Print 

Martin Luther King Jr.: Civil Rights Leader by Andrew Santella 
Examines the life of the famous civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., from his early family life and experiences in education to his history-shaping speeches and the international responses to his assassination. Print  

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford 
Featuring a dual narrative of the key moments of Dr. King’s life alongside a modern class as the students learn about him, Carole Weatherford’s poetic text encapsulates the moments that readers today can reenact in their own lives. See a class of young students as they begin a school project inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learn to follow his example, as he dealt with adversity and never lost hope that a future of equality and justice would soon be a reality. As times change, Dr. King’s example remains, encouraging a new generation of children to take charge and change the world . . . to be a King. Print 

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein  
The true story behind the writing of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Print | eBook 

Martin’s Big Words 
Using quotes from some of his beloved speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to life in stunning collage art and vibrant watercolor paintings in this profound and important biography about beliefs and dreams and following one’s heart. Streaming on Kanopy 

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