The only signed copy of this religious work we have ever seenMartin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, orator, and leader and architect of the nonviolent Civil Rights movement, A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, King was among the twentieth century’s most influential figures. King was also the author of several books, including Strength to Love, which was published in 1963 as a collection of his finest and best-known sermons, primarily on the topic of racial segregation in the United States. He originally proposed the book in early 1957, but initially found little time to submit a working draft to his publishers. King was finally able to start working on the sermons in July of 1962 while in jail during the Albany Movement. Having been arrested for holding a prayer vigil outside Albany City Hall, King and Ralph Abernathy shared a jail cell for 15 days that was, according to King, “dirty, filthy, and ill-equipped”, and “the worse I have ever seen.” While behind bars, he was able to spend a fair amount of uninterrupted time preparing the drafts for the sermons “Loving Your Enemies,” “Love in Action,” and “Shattered Dreams,” and continued to work on the volume after his release. King sent the first part of the manuscript to his publisher in the early fall 1962, and it included several sermons that had become King standards, such as “Paul’s Letter to American Christians” and “What Is Man?”As the first volume of sermons by an African-American preacher widely available to a white audience, Strength to Love was a landmark work and remains a concrete testament to King’s lifelong commitment to preach the social gospel. His fusion of Christian teachings and social consciousness remains in print and continues to promote King’s vision of love as a potent social and political force for change, the efficacy of religious faith in surmounting evil, and the vital need for true human integration, or, as he defined it, “genuine intergroup and interpersonal living.” This volume brought to the forefront King’s identity as a compelling, well educated, and compassionate preacher at a time when many whites knew him only as a civil rights leader.Book signed, Strength to Love, by Martin Luther King, Jr., inscribed to "Mrs. Blanche Pennington. With Best Wishes, deep respect, great admiration and warm Personal Regards. Martin Luther King, Jr." This is the only inscribed copy of Strength to Love we can recall seeing. The recipient was the mother of a woman friend of King’s, with whom he had an intimate relationship for years. (Inventory #: 11112)
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