THE PAPERS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: BIRTH OF A NEW AGE: DECEMBER 1955-DECEMBER 1956 (VOL. 3) contains an impressive and varied array of documents, including correspondence, minutes of meetings, and articles and sermons by King. What results is an insider’s guide to the major events, feelings, motivations, and personalities that fueled the Montgomery bus boycott. The volume begins shortly after the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to relinquish her seat on a bus to a white passenger. It concludes the following December, when the United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling finding state and city statutes that enforced racial discrimination in transportation unconstitutional. The boycott ended in victory for the protesters and marked the beginning of the civil rights movement to come.
In the course of the boycott, King emerged as the leading spokesperson for racial rights. He set civil rights protest in the context of larger democratic traditions in America. Through his embrace of Gandhian principles of non-violence, he placed the American struggle side-by-side with anti-colonial independence movements. He and his colleagues in Montgomery laid the groundwork for what would become the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and their protests and arrests provided the foundation for the coming mass movement to end segregation. This volume makes the history of these events both personal and accessible. There is something of inspiration for everyone in its pages.
Sources for Further Study
Booklist. XCIII, February 15, 1997, p. 980.
Crisis. CIV, July, 1997, p. 42.
Library Journal. CXXII, March 1, 1997, p. 86.
The Nation. CCLXIV, May 12, 1997, p. 28.