Why we can't wait

by Jr. Martin Luther King

Other authorsJesse Jackson
Paper Book, 2000


Politics. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:Dr. King�??s best-selling account of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the spring and summer of 1963    On April 16, 1963, as the violent events of the Birmingham campaign unfolded in the city�??s streets, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., composed a letter from his prison cell in response to local religious leaders�?? criticism of the campaign. The resulting piece of extraordinary protest writing, �??Letter from Birmingham Jail,�?� was widely circulated and published in numerous periodicals. After the conclusion of the campaign and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, King further developed the ideas introduced in the letter in Why We Can�??t Wait, which tells the story of African American activism in the spring and summer of 1963. During this time, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States, but the campaign launched by King, Fred Shuttlesworth, and others demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action.   Often applauded as King�??s most incisive and eloquent book, Why We Can�??t Wait recounts the Birmingham campaign in vivid detail, while underscoring why 1963 was such a crucial year for the civil rights movement. Disappointed by the slow pace of school desegregation and civil rights legislation, King observed that by 1963�??during which the country celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation�??Asia and Africa were �??moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence but we still creep at a horse-and-buggy pace.�?�   King examines the history of the civil rights struggle, noting tasks that future generations must accomplish to bring about full equality, and asserts that African Americans have already waited over three centuries for civil rights and that it is time to be proactive: �??For years now, I have heard the word �??Wait!�?? It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This �??Wait�?? has almost always meant �??Never.�?? We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, t… (more)



Call number



New York : New American Library, c2000.

User reviews

LibraryThing member fdholt
Why we can’t wait is Martin Luther King’s essay on the civil rights movement and the events of 1963, a pivotal year in the struggle, the year of the Birmingham protests and the year of the march on Washington when Dr. King told us “I have a dream.” When I first read the book in college, the
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events were fresh. Re-reading the book many years later, I am still impressed by the writing of Dr. King and his message is as relevant today as it was then.

The book explains why the movement decided to focus on Birmingham, perhaps the most oppressive city in Alabama for minorities, and the strategies of nonviolent protest. Included in the book is the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” which is a reply to clergy in Birmingham who asked for moderation. Dr. King explains why that time was now to change America and moderation was no longer acceptable. The events of 1963 led to political action by Lyndon Johnson and other members of Congress. Dr. King then goes on to explain why affirmative action (as we call it today) is necessary and desirable.

The author and TV host Glen Beck holds Martin Luther King Jr. as one of the great men of the 20th century. Whether you agree with Beck or not, take his advice in reading original source materials from Dr. King himself, not what someone else has written about him. On the subject of civil rights, this book is a good place to start.
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LibraryThing member Madamxtra
Dr. King’s words are gems – Profound. Written with the eloquence of Shakespeare and the timeliness of today’s headlines. This book dispels the mythical, classroom teachings that tout the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, as an accidental occurrence – shedding light on the intricate plans,
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tactics and maneuvers of dedicates individuals and groups who understood the gravity of the mission: None are free, until all are free.
Squelching racial bigotry and “Jim Crow” laws was the widely viewed aim of the mission – but Civil Rights are the Basic Rights – Human Rights. These are the rights that so many (including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) sacrificed and died to give to all disenfranchised people, everywhere...SMILE!!!
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LibraryThing member jonbrammer
What’s important to remember when considering King’s legacy is that his vision of social justice changed in the late 60s to an economics of raising up the poor of all races. He knew that racial animosity would continue as long as the middle class could be convinced that the poor, minorities and
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immigrants should be derided and and scapegoated. The last thirty years have seen the economic hierarchy become even more skewed towards the 1%, who have grabbed the reins of political power through their proxies in the Republican Party.
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