Because of his sudden death at the age of 39, Martin Luther King was never able to write an account of his own life. Nevertheless, this book is an autobiography, as for the most part it is based on the books, speeches, articles, letters, interviews, unpublished manuscripts and other sources of Martin Luther King himself.
This autobiography takes the reader through all the important events in King’s short but turbulent life: the racist humiliations during his childhood, his student years, his decision to become a minister, the introduction to Gandhi’s doctrine of non-violence, his marriage to Coretta Scott, his early years as a minister in Alabama and, of course, the various protest campaigns and his patient efforts to improve the civil rights of the African American community. The book offers a well-balanced account, looking at both the victories and the defeats. The many quotes and excerpts from King’s texts go some way to bringing him alive again in this book. Some passages are very personal, like his doubts about certain decisions and his admiration for nature, which bring King really close to us.
The texts were selected by Clayborne Carson, who was chosen by King’s wife Coretta Scott. Carson is director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.