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The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Paperback – January 1, 2001
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About the Author
Dr. Carson was born in Buffalo, New York. His wife, Susan Ann Carson, is managing editor of theKing Papers Project.The Carsons, who live in Palo Alto, have two grown children.
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After reading this book I wrote the following reflection on MLK's life and legacy. This reflection was shaped by Phillips' work but it is not a review or sample of Phillip.
Martin Luther King, Jr. saw himself as a prophet of his day and like the prophets in the Bible he guided his nation’s moral compass to make sure that it pointed true, right, and straight. What else should we have expected from someone that was named after the father of reformation, Martin Luther.
MLK was a second generation preacher and when he received his call to ministry it was a call to challenge the status quo and permanently change the course of our history. He often quoted the prophets, probably because he identified with them, and like the prophets he held the nation accountable. He identified with their message and from a Birmingham Jail he wrote a letter to white ministers who criticized his work and stated, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.”
When he delivered his most remarkable speech, “I have a Dream” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963, he quoted the prophet Isaiah and Amos. In fact, the key verse of Amos’s oracle was King’s primary proof text. Citing Amos, King preached, “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
MLK did not just identify with the prophets of old, he also worked with the prophets of his day. Including Billy Graham. MLK spoke and prayed at Billy Graham’s crusades. Furthermore, Graham recounts a conversation where King said, you fight from the stadiums and I’ll fight from the streets.”
He also identified with Paul who wrote to the Corinthian’s listing all the torture and violence he has received as a result of his message. King probably had Paul’s words in mind when he wrote, “Due to my involvement in the struggle for the freedom of my people, I have known very few quiet days in the last few years. I have been arrested five times and put in Alabama jails. My home has been bombed twice. A day seldom passes that my family and I are not the recipients of threats of death. I have been the victim of a near-fatal stabbing.” We know that on April 4, 1968 at a motel in Memphis, TN the assassin’s bullet took his life and Martin Luther King Jr. entered the ranks of those called martyrs who gave their life to make the world a better place. As king was entered into eternal rest his life became synonymous with the lives of Lincoln, Ghandi, and Kennedy. King often urged his followers to “Meditate on the teachings and life of Jesus”, and I am certain that on the day King entered the gates of heaven he heard the words of Jesus saying, “Well Done! My good and faithful servant”.
Every detail of this man; his birth, his "dream" speech, his assassination, as well as Kenedy's, it's all in here.
I plan on using this book as a basis for a very special stage musical project, just like Lin Manuel Miranda once did when he made the Hamilton Musical, using a 600 page book on Hamilton.
5 stars total, and a 9.5 out of 10 for this autobiography.
..."free at last, free at last. Thank God almight, we're free at last".
On a side note, the book is quite good. I was lucky enough to get a paperback version of it to read. It's a lesson in history as well as a lesson in leadership. The leadership leads more to social/group leadership than business leadership. I think everyone should read it to understand how our country had created a system of racism and subjugation.
"True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power, as Niebuhr contends. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflictor of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart." - "The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr." Edited by Clayborne Carson, Pg. 26