—Martin Luther King Jr.
I forgot what exactly made me pick this up, other than it's a very important story told by one of the (if not THE) pivotal figures of the Montgomery bus boycott. It's not particularly worth rehashing here (since you might as well read it yourself!) but it remains a key moment in history that, unfortunately perhaps, remains topical and important today.
It's a good introduction to the nonviolent struggle plus the planning, logistics, issues, etc. all surrounding how to implement a boycott of this size at this point in history. It was a good reminder that it's a long and often difficult struggle, and sometimes it means scary moments, damage, threats of violence (or actual violence), and more. And in relation to current events, it also served as a contrast: sometimes these types of works do not always get the results the participants want or seek and sometimes can end very badly, as MLK was assassinated eventually.
And while others have mentioned, while it is MLK's work and book and his perspective, it would have been nice to see more of his wife's perspective/thoughts. This is a personal matter, as I had recently read CSK's book so I couldn't help but wonder and think about her role here.
It's not for everyone but certainly I think if you have any interest at all in MLK (no matter HOW you feel about him, positive, negative, etc.) or the concept of nonviolent resistance, this is a good book. Borrowed from the library and that sounds about right for me.
In light of the recent holiday it seemed like it would be a good idea to read this (it was also recommended to me). The reader learns more about non-violence, an expansion on the title on why black people can't wait, about Dr. King's thoughts and reasoning, plus the Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
I don't want to rehash the material since it's worth reading. And while I'm glad I read it, I will say that I agree with other reviewers that it's repetitive. It was good to read more about the thoughts and reasoning. It was also helpful to understand the time, effort, labor, planning, etc. that goes into these methods. In today's world a lot of people find it easy to sign an online petition or maybe go to one protest they read about on Facebook.
But the methods that were used in the fight for Civil Rights were more in depth, more detailed and required a lot more work. This is something that is perhaps lost on today's generation and this was a good reminder of the history and the work that we should not forget.
It's a relatively short book and it might not be for everyone. But it's important to read and remains highly relevant today.
“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
And the famous......
“I Had a Dream....”
And can never forget.....
"Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last."
If you don't know the voice to these quotes then you need to either go back to school or locate your library as quick as you can. The visionist who, with courage, spoke these words to the ears of every person on the planet. Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. as you know is well known for his speaking for civil rights movement in the time when folks didn't "get along well with other" because of the skin color. Back in the day it was unheard of for White folk and Black folks could be seen together in a public place; for them to sit casually in a resturant and just eat breakfast. Today...we hardly ever have this problem. Kids in school can understand what their teachers mean by "segregated" "racial differences". To fully understand what really happened back in the day, what took place and how the "people" felt it's always best to go to a non-fiction book. And I, as your librarian, have the perfect book for the young minds that are trying to understand who, what, where when and the why. Why We Can't Wait by the man himself, Martin Luther King Jr.
Why We Can't Wait talks about the Birmingham, Alabama (which was well known as the most racially segregated city in the United States at that time) druing the 1963 which was a very crucial year for the civil rights movement. King demonstrated with many other outspoken people to the world the power of nonviolent direct action by examining the history of the civil rights struggle and the tasks that furture generations (like us) must accomplish to bring about full equality.
The other reason why this book is perfect for young minds trying to understand what went on during that time frame is that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote most of this book was written along with a "Letter from Birmingham Jail" King wrote in April of 1963. Trying to get inside the mind of one of the great outspoken leaders of our time? Try your local library and ask about Martin Luther King Jr. You might find something you weren't even looking for!!!
That this wasn't an actual autobiography made me a bit hesitant in reading, but it seemed like it was worth reading what was supposed to be King's words culled from his speeches, writings, etc. Admittedly I only know the basics of King's life and it seemed like this might be a good place to start as a foundation read.
I found most of the book awful in terms of writing and just not very readable. There is something very stilted, something not quite right with the style of writing and I couldn't help but feel the editor (Clayborne Carson) is either not a very good writer or perhaps was very aware of the fact that he was culling this from other writings, speeches, etc. but not the man himself. King's own writing was of course great to read in the context of his career and times (Carson admits that it's not very personal) and I personally found the timelines posted at the beginning of each chapter quite helpful. But this isn't a work like Malcolm X's autobiography where Haley knew and interviewed Malcolm X.
However, as a reference and/or as a guide I thought the book was helpful. As I wrote I am sadly quite uninformed about King's life and work and found it quite fascinating. It's helpful that the book is divided into major events/periods such as his early personal life, his time at various schools, churches, the events of Atlanta, Selma, Birmingham, etc. As a primer I found that very helpful instead of just a headlong book that just tells the story with little regard to how much the reader does/does not know.
That said, I wish the editor had approached it a bit differently or had written an actual biography of King instead. I'll keep an eye out for another book on King but would recommend you borrow this from the library and/or buy it cheap if you want it as a reference instead.