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Black History Month: The Fight for Civil Rights

We continue our Black History Month series by looking at Beacon's books covering the Civil Rights Era, in particular the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The King Legacy is the home of the writing of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Beacon Press. A partnership between the King Estate and Beacon, the series has brought out six books in the past two years: "All Labor Has Dignity," Why We Can't WaitThe Trumpet of ConscienceStride Toward FreedomWhere Do We Go from Here, and "Thou, Dear God."  With the assistance of General Editorial Advisor Clayborne Carson, who currently serves as Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, Beacon Press is publishing both new editions of work published during King's lifetime as well as whole new collections of his writing.

Like the King Legacy on Facebook to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s writing and life, and watch this interview with Beacon Press Executive Editor Gayatri Patnaik to learn more about the King Legacy. 

KING-WhyWeCantWaitWhy We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Often applauded as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most incisive and eloquent book, Why We Can’t Wait recounts the Birmingham 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.

Read an excerpt from Why We Can't Wait on Scribd.

View the teacher's guide: PDF or HTML

Read about all of the books in the King Legacy series.


CoverMLK: A Celebration in Word and Image by Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Bob Adelman

MLK: A Celebration in Word and Image is an unprecedented collection of black-and-white photographs combined with stirring quotations by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This treasured collection includes images by legendary photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bob Adelman, and Flip Schulke, and is an unparalleled photobiography that presents intimate moments from King's personal and public journey. We see King in all his manifestations-as a new father and doting husband, as a civil rights champion leading racial protests, and as a charismatic speaker preaching electrifying sermons. Triumphant events like King delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech and marching in Montgomery are beautifully captured, as are private moments of him reflecting on his Nobel Peace Prize or working in his study.

Threaded together, these words and images chronicle how Dr. King was not only a driving force for change but also a continually evolving individual. A collection to savor and celebrate, these great photographs are an enduring testament to the life and legacy of an international icon.

Watch the book trailer for MLK: A Celebration in Word and Image on YouTube.

Watch an interview with Bob Adelman on CBS News.


0059Nobody Turn Me Around: A People's History of the March on Washington by Charles Euchner

"The March on Washington was a demand to make the Constitution of the United States work for black people—to cash the blank check, as Dr. King put it that day …Euchner’s superb book brings it all back in vivid detail."
-Roger Wilkins, author of Jefferson's Pillow

On August 28, 1963, over a quarter-million people-two-thirds black and one-third white-held the greatest civil rights demonstration ever. In this major reinterpretation of the Great Day-the peak of the movement-Charles Euchner brings back the tension and promise of the march. Building on countless interviews, archives, FBI files, and private recordings, this hour-by-hour account offers intimate glimpses into the lives of those key players and ordinary people who converged on the National Mall to fight for civil rights in the March on Washington. 

Watch a video about the book at YouTube.

Listen to an All Things Considered story about the book at NPR.org.