Martin Luther King Jr. was only 39 years (and 2 months and 19 days) old when he was murdered. Thirty-nine. I never realised this — until I am 39 myself now.
When he died he had already received a Nobel prize and over 100 honorary degrees from all over the world, but more importantly, he had changed America forever.
Much has been written about MLK and by MLK. And it is especially the latter I am interested in.
This small book is a collection of (Christmas) lectures he wrote and presented on Canadian radio in 1967 — the so-called famous Massey Lectures. This collection itself was published less than a month after he was murdered (which makes reading the foreword by his wife and widow quite chilling to read).
The Dutch translation is a bit rough and outdated. But if you ever heard MLK speak there is very little imagination necessary to hear the man’s voice. It is so powerful that it cuts through time and languages.
The themes he discusses are familiar, but what is most prominent is the very, very long journey that he still saw ahead and that he was not so sure we would ever get there. These lectures help in understanding what MLK saw as the ultimate goal and also pinpoint the root of the problem. A goal which is sadly enough still utterly relevant. And a root cause that is still around.
You don’t have to read the book, here is a YouTube playlist I created with all five speeches where you hear the man himself.
Also published on Medium.