With this Monday being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it would be easy for us to give you a guide of how to spend that time with family and friends, or doing hobbies, or just enjoying your day off of work. But this time around we want to do something a little different.
This year, we want you to take advantage of the time you have off to re-familiarize yourself with some of the best work done about Dr. King’s life, and some of the best work Dr. King produced during his life.
This year, don’t just vaguely remember the incredible work this man did for Civil Rights in this country, take a few minutes and listen to his words, or the words said about him. Take the time to really internalize the impact this man had on all of our lives by digesting media created by him and about him.
There have been countless books written about Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement, his impact on America during the Civil Rights Movement, and everything in between. Here are a couple to get you started:
If you REALLY want to get down to the nitty gritty of it all and dive deep into this man’s life, there is no better place to start than this Taylor Branch trilogy. These books take you through nearly 3,000 pages of biographical information, seminal moments and landmark speeches with an incredible level of detail. For those who want a good foundation of knowledge, start here.
If you want to know about Dr. King, but are a little daunted but a three-part series, give this Marshall Frady biography a spin. Frady was the unofficial reporter of the Civil Rights Movement and with such a close vantage point to Dr. King, he is able to skillfully combine Dr. King’s political influence, cultural influence, and legacy into a relatively short 216-pages perfect for a quick intro.
There are many movies about the Civil Rights Movement, and its major players, to choose from but we’re going focusing on movies directly related to Dr. King himself. That means we are leaving out masterpieces like “Malcolm X”, “In the Heat of the Night”, “Freedom on My Mind”, and “Mississippi Burning” which are all well worth your time.
This historically accurate movie chronicles the famed march by Dr. King From Selma to Montgomery, AL in the name of equal voting rights for African Americans. It was nominated for the “Best Picture” Academy Award, which should tell you all you need to know.
This mini-series covers pretty much everything you would expect from a mini-series. Given its four-and-a-half-hour runtime, there aren’t many stones left unturned in this telling of Dr. King’s life and if you have the time to check it out, you should.
It’s hard to know where to begin with his speeches but I’m going to give it my best shot.
His seminal speech, and maybe the most well-known speech in modern American history, this is a must-read every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If you’ve never heard or read it before, there’s no better time than the present. I’ll save you from spoilers. Go read it.
Widely considered to be Dr. King’s most controversial speech (which, considering the speeches he gave, and the time he gave them, is really saying something), this one touches on his belief that the United States stop its involvement in the Vietnam war.
This is the last speech given by Dr. King and it focuses on the Memphis Sanitation Strike. This speech calls for unity, boycotts, and non-violent protests, and for America to live up to its ideals.
This speech also carries with it a level of eeriness-- some would say prophecy-- because he alludes to the possibility of an untimely death near the end of this speech, which he was met with the very next day.
Don’t feel the need to check out all of these works, but pick at least one. It’s the least we could do to commemorate one of the most influential live in American history.
Until next time – I have a dream.