Who is the most important and influential American of the 20th century? It’s an impossible question to answer with certainty as many intelligent minds may provide different responses. But it seems to me that nearly everyone would have Martin Luther King, Jr. on his or her short list.
There are a number of useful studies of King’s life and legacy. Currently, River City Books has one of them on sale at a deep discount. The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation by Drew D. Hansen is priced at just $6.99 in hardcover. Not a bad a deal, I would say. In fact, that’s precisely what I am saying.
Says Booklist of The Dream: “Hansen examines King’s speech on numerous levels and in many contexts, revealing the confluence of forces that account for its unprecedented impact. He explores King’s theological and intellectual focus and his roots in the tradition of black Baptist sermons. Hansen uses King’s speech to examine the competing elements of an American society divided along North-South, black-white lines and to explore the contradictions of such interests along a moral continuum. King’s speech provided a common code of moral respect, but not consensus of action, as diverse elements agreed to its greatness or purpose but not its call to act. Readers interested in the moral issues tied to the civil rights struggle will enjoy Hansen’s analysis.”