Martin Luther King Jr. : The Book Which Made Me Teary
I have heard and read of many accounts of people moved with tears or weeping because of a story in a book but I cannot remember ever experiencing the same. When I picked up Martin Luther King Jr. by Rob Lloyd Jones for my January Theme Read, I did not expect to turn the last page with tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and inhaling to prevent my tears from falling. I do not understand my reaction because it is my second time reading (first time in 2009) and I do not recall feeling these emotions.
Martin Luther King speaks on the life of King to the segregation in the USA and the Civil Rights Movements. Even when the story opens with his birth and childhood there are echoes of the limited rights of black and their second class citizenship. When the account climax into his adulthood, I could not help but put myself in the shoes of black Americans then. I am black but I not American but I share similar history/heritage of slavery and my people transitioning into freedom and suffrage. After Martin Luther King’s house became destroyed after a bomb, he said
“Love,” he shouted, “I want you to love our enemies. We can’t let their hate stop us.”
My heart could not handle how a man could be so peaceful after someone almost killed his wife and daughter and he lose his home. The vivid account of Rosa Parks arrest when she refused to give up her sit on a bus after her day of work and the children hurt in Birmingham for holding hands and singing. What moved me the most (I am teary eyes as I am writing), is reading part of his ‘I have a dream speech’. Blacks attained the right to vote in August 1965 but that part of his speech of togetherness still does not exist. The book ends with the murder of Martin Luther King and his funeral and my heart wept. I think the current situation of police brutality of blacks and gun violence that I see via the news and in my country made reading this time more evocative and raw.
If you are looking for a book on segregation in the USA and Martin Luther King I recommend, especially if you are reading on the topic for the first time. Hence my vote for this book for children for an overview of the part of the Civil Rights Movement. It is very simple to understand thus an easy read, the type of book you would read in one short sitting. In addition, the author had a History Consultant, so it is a credible reading. Most of what I read in the book, I came across in other media. One of the most attractive pull of the book for me is its hard cover, many illustrations/photographs and page design. I love hard cover books, it is just a preference. The photographs make the story feel personal, you see people running in fear, Martin Luther in various stages of his life, they are all the real photographs from the period. In addition, there is a map of the South of the USA that I appreciate very much. Whenever, the author mentioned a place, I could quickly flip back to know the exact location of the place . If you are not familiar with area, it is a perfect illustration. Lastly the pages were all stained in different colours, it is beautiful.
Beautiful read, beautiful book.