Not-So-Monthly Book Review: MLK’s Autobiography

In honor of celebrating Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day in January, La Puma, in conjunction with the library, recommends to students The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is important for students to read this book for several reasons. 1st, MLK is a very influential person, and even today, long after his death, the opinions he held have a lot of sway over people. If one looks back at the riots that occurred this past summer, there was a controversy around his quote, “A riot is the language of the unheard,” and what exactly he meant by it (for the record, he was against violence and riots), which I think is proof of the heavy importance of understanding his beliefs and how they came to be.

2nd, it is equally important to come to understand his life and his actions, as most people know he was a civil rights leader and public speaker, but not much else about him. This book provides great insight into his life. I must say it is extremely engaging; I was hooked as soon as I started reading.

The only unfortunate negative regarding the book is that while MLK wrote the text and none of it was severely altered, he was tragically shot and killed before he could complete it. The King family then hired a historian at Stanford named Clayborne Carson to edit it and to prepare it for publication. The only reason this would be a negative to the book’s quality is that it means that King did not finish it himself, and therefore it could be said that the book is not a perfect place to look for his opinions and the finer details of his life. However, I personally don’t agree with that stance, seeing as, again, MLK himself wrote the actual text in the book, and it would be the best direct source available, but if that is a concern for you, then it’s good to know.

Overall, I give it a 9.5/10 and recommend it to any students at Campo with an interest in social justice, civil liberties, and history, or just anyone curious about the life of Martin Luther King Jr.