Martin Luther King Jr. is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. These titles from our digital collections show you how he fought for justice.
"The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people in the class struggle taking place in capitalist societies. . . . The response of the radical King to our catastrophic moment can be put in one word: revolution--a revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life, and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens. . . . Could it be that we know so little of the radical King because such courage defies our market-driven world?" --Cornel West, from the Introduction.
April 16th. The year is 1963. Birmingham, Alabama has had a spring of non-violent protests known as the Birmingham Campaign, seeking to draw attention to the segregation against blacks by the city government and downtown retailers. The organizers longed to create a non-violent tension so severe that the powers that be would be forced to address the rampant racism head on. Recently arrested was Martin Luther King, Jr.. It is there in that jail cell that he writes this letter; on the margins of a newspaper he pens this defense of non-violence against segregation. His accusers, though many, in this case were not the white racist leaders or retailers he protested against, but 8 black men who saw him as "other" and as too extreme. To them and to the world he defended the notion that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".
This comprehensive documentary traces King's life and the development of his philosophies, set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement.