King Legacy

We feel so privileged to announce that our featured books this month are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s timeless works, published by Beacon Press as part of their King Legacy series. Written a decade apart, Stride Toward Freedom and Where Do We Go From Here are intimate reflections from arguably the civil rights movement’s most visionary leader.

With Stride, the first book in his trilogy of political autobiographies, Dr. King chronicles the events of the nonviolent resistance movement in Montgomery, Alabama. In his introduction, Clayborne Carson, general editor advisor to the King Legacy, astutely describes the compassion, intelligence, and patience Dr. King possessed, qualities necessary to effect [ok?] a change that would lead to unrest and tragedy, but a change that would also undoubtedly happen.  

Reading his works it is clear that Dr. King was committed to educating himself about the oppression of all people of color, and all poor people. He understood that economic injustice played as large a role in subjugation as racism and fear. Carson illustrates that Dr. King studied the Marxist (and Communist, to which he was vehemently opposed) factions, the peaceful teachings of Ghandi during times of horrific violence and chaos in Southeast Asia, founding father Thomas Paine’s writings during the American Revolution, and the compassionate Christian tenets upon which his his doctoral education was based, assimilating what he felt were the best influences of each movement, and rejecting the mistakes or severe detriments that accompany any ideology of change. His approach to the ultimate goal of equality was both thoughtful and brilliant. 

Humble, eloquent, and incredibly profound, Dr. King writes at the conclusion of the first book, “The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.”

Vincent Harding, activist, theologian, and friend of Dr. King’s, penned the introduction to Where Do We Go from Here, the final book in the trilogy. The presentation is a deeply personal narrative: “My recollection of how determined Martin was to be fully and creatively engaged with the living history of his time, a history he did so much to help create but also a dangerous and tumultuous history that shaped and transformed how own amazingly brief yet momentous searching life."
Just as Carson described the author, Harding too discusses Dr. King’s commitment to addressing the roots of social injustice from many angles, including his criticisms of capitalism (but his careful avoidance of being characterized as a Communist). Yet Harding delineates the evolution of the man who began in Montgomery, a man who understood that the civil rights fight had transformed from a clear battle for constitutional rights to a nebulous human rights struggle.

Dr. King’s words seem as applicable today as they did a half century ago, just as extraordinary, and just as inspirational. We are so honored to print them for generations to cherish.

To purchase any of the books in this series, please visit Beacon Press at