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MLK: Stride Toward Freedom, "The Decisive Arrest"

Book cover for Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr.The Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C., officially opens to the public today. In honor of this historic event, we'll be posting excerpts from books in The King Legacy series on Beacon Broadside every day this week.

Today's excerpt is from Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. According to Dr. King, this memoir is “the chronicle of 50,000 Negroes who took to heart the principles of nonviolence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth.’’ 

In Stride Toward Freedom, King delineates racial conditions in Montgomery before, during, and after the bus boycott which lasted from December 15, 1955 until December 21, 1956. He discusses the origin and significance of the boycott, the roles that residents, civic and church leaders, and community organizations played in organizing and sustaining the movement, and the reactions of Montgomery’s white community. An unparalleled historical account, Dr. King also shares the intellectual influences of thinkers like Hegel, Marx, Thoreau, and especially Gandhi. 

This account of the first successful large-scale application of nonviolent resistance in America is comprehensive, revelatory and intimate. It traces the phenomenal journey of a community, and shows how the twenty-eight year old Dr. King, with his conviction of equality and nonviolence, helped transformed the nation—and the world.

The excerpt posted here today recounts the events surrounding the arrest of Rosa Parks.  

Read an excerpt from Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr., here or on Scribd