Lauren Casper »

Recommended Reading this MLK Day and Beyond


Here we are again, it’s MLK Day quotes are flying around the internet. Things like, “I’ve decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear.” and “I have a dream that one day man will be judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character.” These quotes are beautiful and true, but removed from their context they are also stripped of some of their power. I’m learning more and more that they are what Bernice King (his daughter) calls, “MLK lite.” And she’s asking us to wean ourselves of this. To instead read the entirety of the speeches and letters that these quotes are pulled from. I’m a big fan of reading things in context in order to uncover greater meaning and deeper understand. So with that in mind, here is some recommended reading not just for this holiday, and not just for when we get to Black History Month, but for all year long.

Martin Luther King Jr. Speeches and Letter

+Letter from a Birmingham Jail

+Beyond Vietnam 

+The entire I Have a Dream speech



+The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

+Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson 

+The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

+Collected Essays of James Baldwin 

+I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

+The writings of W.E.B. Du Bois 

This is obviously just a start, but an important one. Ignorance gives the flames of hate and prejudice a place to grow – education helps stomp them out. Today our family marched for love. True love. The kind of love that is a choice to serve others and fight for them and listen to them. MLK’s legacy of love wasn’t one of complacency and compliance, but one of active resistance to hate and intolerance. May we strive to honor that legacy by joining him.

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What would you add to the list?

xo, Lauren

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