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A Global History Lesson in Hope

MLK: Why We Can't Wait

"I thought of twenty million black people who dreamed that some day they might be able to cross the Red Sea of injustice and find their way to the promised land of integration and freedom. There was no more room for doubt." Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait

Book cover for Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King Jr.The Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C., officially opened to the public this week. 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.

In celebration of the MLK Memorial Dedication, we are also giving away books by Dr. King. Enter for your chance to win hardcover editions of recent titles released by Beacon Press: Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery StoryWhere Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?Why We Can't WaitThe Trumpet of Conscience, "All Labor Has Dignity," and MLK: In Word and Image. One grand prize winner will receive ALL SIX BOOKS. Five winners will receive one book of their choice. For more information and to enter, see the Beacon Press website.

Today's excerpt is from Why We Can't Wait. Often applauded as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most incisive and eloquent book, Why We Can’t Wait is Dr. King's account of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the spring and summer of 1963. He campaign in vivid detail, while underscoring why 1963 was such a crucial year for the civil rights movement. During this time, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States, but the campaign launched by Fred Shuttlesworth, King, and others demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action. King examines the history of the civil rights struggle and the tasks that future generations must accomplish to bring about full equality. The book also includes the extraordinary “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which King wrote in April of 1963.

The excerpt (if you can't read it below, click this link to read on Scribd) describes the events leading up to King's arrest by Bull Connor in Birmingham on Good Friday. 

Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr., Excerpt