This Goodly Land
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929–April 4, 1968)
Other Names Used
- Michael King, Jr.: birth name
- Montgomery, Montgomery County: adult residence, organized boycott of segregated bus system
- Birmingham, Jefferson County: organized demonstrations against segregation, jailed for leading demonstration march
- Selma, Dallas County: organized and participated in the Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York: Harper, 1958. Rpt. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Measure of a Man. Philadelphia: Christian Education Press, 1959. Rpt. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. Strength to Love. New York: Harper & Row, 1963.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. Letter from Birmingham City Jail. Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1963. Rpt. as Letter from the Birmingham Jail. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1994. An online version of Letter from Birmingham Jail is available from Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. Why We Can't Wait. New York: Harper & Row, 1964. Rpt. New York: Signet Classic, 2000. Rpt. New York: New American Library, 2000.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?. New York: Harper & Row, 1967. Rpt. Boston: Beacon Press, 1989.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Trumpet of Conscience. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. Rpt. of Conscience for Change. Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Co., 1967.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Ed. Clayborne Carson. New York: Intellectual Properties Management in association with Warner Books, 1998.
- Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Foundation and The Saturday Review, 1959, for Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story
Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Ga., and was originally named Michael King, Jr. His father, a Baptist minister, changed both their names to Martin Luther King after a trip to Germany. King had a prodigious memory and did well in school, skipping the ninth grade and entering Morehouse College at age fifteen. He graduated from Morehouse with a BA in sociology in 1948 and from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, with a BD in 1951. King also studied theology at Boston University, earning a PhD in 1955. In 1954, King became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. King served as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott after the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955. Stride Toward Freedom was his account of the boycott. In 1957, King was a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which organized nonviolent campaigns to combat segregation and racial discrimination. In 1959, King returned to Atlanta. The following year, he began to serve as the co-pastor of his father’s church but continued his work with the SCLC.
In April of 1963, King was arrested during an anti-segregation campaign in Birmingham. His “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” was published as a response to critics who wanted to end the campaign. “Letter” was reprinted in Why We Can’t Wait, which also included an account of the Birmingham campaign and a justification for the Civil Rights Movement. In August of 1963, King helped organize and participated in the March on Washington where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The following year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his civil rights work. King was a key participant in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights and gave a speech at the State Capitol building. In 1966, he and his family moved into a Chicago slum to dramatize the SCLC campaign to end neighborhood segregation. The following year, King began publicly speaking against the Vietnam War and also began planning another march on Washington. Early in 1968, King went to Memphis, Tenn., to support a strike by black sanitation workers. He was shot and killed at his Memphis hotel the day after he gave his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.
Interests and Themes
The sermons, speeches, and essays of Martin Luther King, Jr., on topics of racial equality and social justice were influential during the Civil Rights Movement and still have relevance today.
For More Information
Please check your local library for these materials. If items are not available locally, your librarian can help you borrow them through the InterLibrary Loan program. Your librarian can also help you find other information about this author.
There may be more information available through the databases in the Alabama Virtual Library. If you are an Alabama citizen, AVL can be used at your public library or school library media center. You can also get a username and password from your librarian to use AVL at home.
- Dyson, Michael Eric. I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Free Press, 2000.
- Farris, Christine King. My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Illus. Chris K. Soentpiet. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003. For younger readers.
- Graves, Kerry A. I Have a Dream: The Story Behind Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Most Famous Speech. Philadelphia: Chelsea Clubhouse, 2004. For younger readers.
- Hansen, Drew D. The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Speech That Inspired a Nation. New York: Ecco, 2003.
- Haskins, Jim. I Have a Dream: The Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press, 1992. For younger readers.
- Lischer, Richard. The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Word That Moved America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
- Myers, Walter Dean. I've Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Illus. Leonard Jenkins. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004. For younger readers.
- Oates, Stephen B. Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Harper & Row, 1982. Rpt. New York: HarperPerennial, 1994.
- Rappaport, Doreen. Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Illus. Bryan Collier. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2001. For younger readers.
Reference Book Chapters and Encyclopedia Entries
- "King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1929-1968"; Something About the Author. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Research, . 108-111.
Reference Web Sites
Location of Papers
- Boston University
- The King Center, Atlanta, Ga.
- Woodruff Library for Morehouse College, Atlanta, Ga.
Photo by Marion S Trikosko; courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection, LC-DIG-ppmsc-01269.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.