After putting up a bulletin board in our (elementary) school library for Black History Month I was prompted to read one of our newly purchased biographies on Martin Luther King, Jr. The book is entitled “M.L.K. Journey of a King” and was written by Tonya Bolden who has received numerous awards for her more than twenty books for children and adults. Under the author’s note she describes this book as her “soul’s journey to see, to feel the man…who gave thirteen years of his life marching, preaching, praying for a righteous America. All the while-a bull’s eye on his back.”
I was stirred as I learned of his rich spiritual heritage and personal faith that prepared him to play such a key leadership role in the civil rights movement of his time. The book also shows how this same faith gave him the courage and self sacrifice to persevere through the dangerous and often discouraging road that he traveled to make strides toward his dream of the “beloved community”. Bolden outlines his journey from school days to the pulpit and into the crucible that was to be his life’s work; striving for a society with racial harmony and equal opportunity for all of its citizens.
During his very first sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama back in May 1954 he told the congregation ” I have no great pretense to being a great preacher or even a profound scholar. I certainly have no pretense to infallibility…I come to you only with the claim of being a servant of Christ, and a feeling of dependence on His grace for my leadership.” King strove to bring this servant leadership to his cause as he involved himself directly in sit-ins and marches that got the attention of a nation and proved that the agape way was an effective means of change.
There were many times when he was threatened and even beaten and jailed. At these times there would often be inward struggles and doubts, but Bolden points out how he would lean on the power of prayer. After one such prayer she quoted him as saying “It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying ‘Stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth, and God will be at your side forever.”King realized early on that there was a high probability of losing his life in this struggle and he was willing to lay down his. He paid the ultimate price for this cause.
I highly recommend this book. The lay out is appealing, the large black and white photos evocative, and the text lucid. I hope you will check out a copy from your local library. It may inspire and encourage you to heed God’s call for righteousness in your own sphere of influence.
Sara’s Note: Information to order from Amazon if you want your own copy
M.L.K.: The Journey of a King by Tonya Bolden and Bob Adelman (Hardcover – Jan 1, 2007)
Buy new: $19.95 $13.57 39 Used & new from $4.45
5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
“M.L.K.: JOURNEY OF A KING is a must-have and must-read biography for the twenty-first century.”