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review 2019-05-13 23:40
The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr
The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Martin Luther King Jr.

This is a collection of insightful and inspirational quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr’s (MLK) writings, sermons and speeches. Like any such collection, this is not an end-in-itself work but more of an opener for a deeper and more contextual dive into MLK’s life and work.

 

It’s a short collection, less than 20K words; the quotations take up about 55% of the book, with the rest of the space given over to Coretta Scott King’s introduction, a chronology of MLK’s life, and the Proclamation of MLK Day text.

 

The quotes are organized by subject headings, such as Racism, Peace, Civil Rights and the Community of Man; all are thought-provoking and some of my favourites are:

 

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?

 

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.

 

I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.

 

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

 

A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.†

 

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.

 

A doctrine of black supremacy is as evil as a doctrine of white supremacy.

 

The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but with no morals.

 

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

 

There is so much frustration in the world because we have relied on gods rather than God.

 

St. Augustine was right—we were made for God and we will be restless until we find rest in Him.

 

The belief that God will do everything for man is as untenable as the belief that man can do everything for himself. It, too, is based on a lack of faith. We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition.

 († this quote brings to mind Socrates’ “an unexamined life is not worth living”)

 

The books mentioned in the chronology as authored by MLK are:

  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (Sep 1958)
  • Strength to Love (Jun 1963)
  • Why We Can’t Wait (Jun 1964)
  • Where Do We Go from Here? (Jan 1967)

 

 

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text 2019-05-03 19:25
May 2019 TBR
The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do - Kathie Reimer
7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind - Anthony Selveggio
Always on: Language in an Online and Mobile World - Naomi S. Baron
The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome - Susan Wise Bauer
The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Martin Luther King Jr.
The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Glass Houses - Louise Penny
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart
Snowdrift and Other Stories - Georgette Heyer

After more than three years of reading my books any old how, creating a TBR list again has brought on a nice purposeful feeling. And how much nicer if I complete the whole thing ;)

 

For May 2019, I hope to complete:

 

  • The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do - K Reimer/L Whittle
  • 7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind - Anthony T Selvaggio
  • Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World - Naomi S Baron
  • The History of the Ancient World - Susan Wise Bauer
  • The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr (ed. Coretta Scott King)
  • The Magician's Nephew - C S Lewis
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C S Lewis
  • Glass Houses - Louise Penny
  • The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Snowdrift and Other Stories - Georgette Heyer

 

Seven of these are from my paid TBR, and would be a score if I can finish them. The Louise Penny I'm very late in reading; when it first came out I wasn't in a good reading mindset and before I knew it another book had come out, and still another is due later this year in August. At least I have time to catch up without rushing.

 

The Georgette Heyer collection of stories was a serendipitous library find just now. I don't own it (I think that's the only one) but I've been waiting for a sale before I buy it. It came to mind as I was finalizing my TBR list. I checked my library, thinking no way they would have it but the little doubter was not rewarded, a happy turn of affairs. I know what I'll be doing tonight ;)

 

What are you most looking forward to reading this month?

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review 2019-02-02 18:01
A concise introduction to a life cut short
Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life - Marshall Frady

Like that of most famous men, Martin Luther King Jr.'s life is one largely remembered as a series of events: the Montgomery bus boycott, the Birmingham marches, his "I Have a Dream" speech, his march in Selma, and his assassination in Memphis. While this list includes its most triumphal moments, it does little to cover the full range of his activities or the private life he lived. This is what Marshall Frady provides in this brief book. In a little more than 200 pages, he conveys the span of King's tragically short life, from his Atlanta boyhood through his early ministry to the activism that made him famous and helped to transform the nation. Though the familiar highlights are there, he adds to the reader's understanding elements that King's achievements have overshadowed, such as his failed campaign in the Georgia town of Albany, or the brutal resistance his efforts faced in St. Augustine, Florida. Their inclusion certainly qualifies the scope of what Kind accomplished, but it also helps readers to better understand the size of the challenge King and other protestors faced in challenging Jim Crow segregation.

 

Frady adds little that is new to the story of King's life, yet his analysis is informed by his personal experiences covering King as a young reporter in the 1960s. His account of the St. Augustine protests is a particular highlight of his book for that reason, as he recounts the events he covered there with his firsthand observations of the events he chronicles. These he uses to inform his portrait of a fatalistic, sometimes depressed figure, one who felt fully the burden of expectations and embarked upon his many campaigns with the expectation that he would die as a result. That loss stalks its pages may reflect an excessive degree of hindsight on Frady's part, but it helps to underscore the risks King took throughout his life and the loss we all suffered with his assassination barely a dozen years after he first emerged as a leader of the civil rights movement. For anyone seeking an accessible introduction to that life and an overview of what he achieved in it, Frady's book is a good place to start.

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text 2019-01-21 00:26
Reading progress update: I've read 143 out of 224 pages.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life - Marshall Frady

I'm familiar with the events of Montgomery and Birmingham. I was ignorant of Albany, Georgia and St. Augustine, though, and reading Frady's description of them (the latter of which he witnessed firsthand) had far too many uncomfortable echoes with the present.

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text 2019-01-20 04:46
Reading progress update: I've read 71 out of 224 pages.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life - Marshall Frady

I came across a copy of Marshall Frady's biography of Martin Luther King Jr. on the clearance shelf of one of our local Half Price Books earlier today, and given that it's MLK Day weekend and I haven't read much about him until now I felt inspired to purchase it. So far it's giving me the background that I've long needed, though the floridness of Frady's prose is a little annoying.

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