The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Selected by Coretta Scott King)

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This book is a compilation of more than 100 striking quotations and excerpts from speeches and writings of Martin Luther King. Each chapter focuses on a separate theme like racism, civil rights, religion, peace and non-violence. In this way readers obtain a clear view of the values and ideas for which Martin Luther King fought. The texts also reveal more about the most memorable moments of King’s career as a minister and a civil rights activist.

The book devotes special attention to two of King’s most famous speeches: the world-famous ‘I have a dream’ speech in 1963 and King’s final speech, ‘I’ve been to the mountaintop’.

The texts were selected by King’s wife Coretta Scott, who also wrote the introduction, in which she gives an account of her husband’s life without becoming very personal. At the end she does, however, give the reader the following message:

“Martin always pleaded for positive, constructive action. The triple evils of poverty, racism, and war were his concerns wherever they were found in the world. He devoted his life to the process of uprooting them. By reaching into and beyond ourselves and tapping the transcendent ethic of love, we shall overcome these evils. Love, truth, and the courage to do what is right should be our own guideposts on this lifelong journey.”

The book ends with an extensive chronological biography featuring all the high points of King’s life.

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