Martin and Malcolm

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved as he who helps to perpetrate it.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


This Monday (January 21st) is the day we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was a brilliant theologian, orator, and leader. It is far too easy for us to forget to remember his life and the lives of other key members in the Civil Rights Movement. If you would like to join others in remembrance of Dr. King then be sure to go to the 17th Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Birthday Commemoration of Litchfield County. This wonderful celebration will be held on Sunday, January 20th from 4-6pm at Trinity Episcopal Church in Torrington.

Another way that we can remember and pay tribute to the lives of Civil Rights leaders is to continue learning about them. My favorite way to do this is by looking at their words and the words others have written about them. Here are some favorites:

Dr. King’s groundbreaking Letter from Birmingham Jail is present in two separate volumes at OWL: The Best American Essays of the Century and Great Documents in Black American History (814.508 BES & 301.451 DUC respectively). If you have not read this incredible essay then do so NOW and if you’re already familiar with it make a point to read it again–think of it as the perfect way to celebrate Dr. King’s birth.

If you have any children in your home, or if you just love beautiful artwork, check out Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. JB KING


In addition to continuing your education on the life and works of Dr. King, you should also consider learning about the lives of additional Civil Rights leaders, most notably Malcolm X. I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until college that I was introduced to the life and words of this powerful and complex man. Malcolm X is controversial and therefore “tough to teach”–as a result many of us who weren’t alive when he was are not aware of the impact he had on the Civil Rights Movement and American society in general.

OWL’s Thursday Book Group will be discussing The Autobiography of Malcolm X at our next meeting (February 14th at 3). Pick up a copy of the book at the front desk and join us for an open and interesting conversation. If you can’t make it to the meeting–we’ll surely miss you–BUT, you should still read the book as it is immensely important to our knowledge of American history.

Another way to learn about Malcolm X is through his extraordinarily powerful speeches. You can listen to many of these at the website: I suggest beginning with The Ballot or the Bullet; it is phenomenal.

You can read Malcolm X’s Speech at Harvard Law School Forum of December 16, 1964 in the previously mentioned volume: Great Documents in Black American History. 301.451 DUC



Another stunning collection of writings about the Civil Rights Movement is: Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights Reader 323.1 EYE which includes documents, speeches, and firsthand accounts.

In celebration of Dr. King’s birthday (and early celebration of Black History Month) I’ve placed the aforementioned titles and several works by James Baldwin and Toni Morrison on our blog display table. Check them out today!

Batgirl was a librarian!~Tricia is the youth librarian at OWL and a proud lifelong learner.

3 thoughts on “Martin and Malcolm

  1. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved as he who helps to perpetrate it.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

    This is such an important quote. Think of how many of the great human tragedies have happened because people passively allowed evil to grow because they thought that it would never reach them. Questioning authority is a great American tradition, and one that has allowed the Repuplic to survive, yet after all of these years, many still have to learn this lesson.

    Awesome blog entry!

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