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Why We Can't Wait

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  2,654 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

“Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim…when you see the vast majority of twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Signet (first published 1963)
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Walter
This is one of the - if not the - best of King's books, as it details the crucial Birmingham campaign and features at its heart the incredible Letter from Birmingham Jail. Although always positive in tone, it deals with the realities of a campaign that is now viewed as pivotal to the success of the American Civil Rights Movement but that was anything but assured in its own time. That King acknowledges this reality while placing it in a constructive context all the while advancing his positive, f ...more
Amber
I think that every American should read this book. MLK, Jr. was an amazing man who was in love with God and who had a heart for people. He had an amazing understanding of what Jesus Christ would do and, I believe, was a great example of what a Christian should be. As I re-read "Letters From a Birmingham Jail", I was reminded how loving and forgiving of a man he was, even to the people who despised him the most. He had a vision of a world where everyone was treated equally, no matter what the col ...more
Daniel Namie
"Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another's flesh."
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The concluding words from Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.’s were written in his book entitled "Why We Can't Wait." The words illustrate the everlasting struggle of humanity to regain its humanity from the inherited corru
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Laine (librarianscanreadtoo)
Laine (librarianscanreadtoo.blogspot.com) Review:

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

And the famous......

“I Had a Dream....”

And can never forget.....

"Free at last, fr
...more
Benjamin Zapata
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." - Martin Luther King Jr. A beautiful book with an everlasting message of love and non-violence; a classic exploration of the events and forces behind the Civil Right movement by someone that was there,one of the greatest human soul to walk on our planet,an enduring testament to the wise and courageous vision of Martin Luther King Jr. A must read for everyone!!!
Andrea
I can't believe I hadn't read this before, but how amazing to readjust what I think I know, my ideas of someone I think I know, writing in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement, describing 1963 as the great year of revolution when:
The Negro also had to recognize that one hundred years after emancipation he lived on a lonely island of economic insecurity in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. Negroes are still at the bottom of the economic ladder. They live within two concentric cir
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Jim
Wow. How sad is it that I live in Alabama, and I never knew that in 1963, Birmingham was considered to be the most segregated city in America?

Martin Luther King, Jr's Why We Can't Wait is an excellent treatise on the race issues still facing our country 50 years ago - 100 years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

This book is about non-violent revolution. About some of the turning points in American history 50 years ago, especially in Birmingham.

Please read this. We, especially those of
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Kei
I read this book in high school at a time when I was just beginning to truly understand the Civil Rights movement. This book changed my life. I don't care if that sounds cliche or whatever, but there is no way a person can read a book like Why We Can't Wait, and experience Dr. Martin Luther King's more than deeply profound rhetoric of freedom and equality and then turn around and aim for mediocrity. I have a lot more to say but I shall save my thoughts and pour them into action.
أحمد سعيد البراجه
هل لك أن تتخيل أنه وقبل حوالي خمسين عامًا من الآن كان السود في أمريكا يعاملون معاملة أقل مما تُعامل به الحيوانات ؟

لا بد أن الكثيرين عاشوا ثورة السود من أجل حقوقهم المدنية وذهبوا لانتخاب أوباما وشاهدوا رجلًا أسود يرأس أقوى دولة في العالم ،، الفكرة في حد ذاتها مثيرة.

الكتاب يعتبر مرجع للعمل السلمي الثوري ،، باستخدام قطاع كبير من الشعب
اقرأه إن كنت تبحث عن إجابة لسؤال ( مصر رايحة على فين ؟ )
Lotz
For the last few years, I have normally felt that I’ve figured out most of what needs to be figured out concerning people. Everywhere I go, everyone I meet, the same basic petty, High School nonsense resurfaces. People say one thing and do another; people smile in your company, and chatter behind your back. I don’t mean to sound bitter—it’s fun. I simply wish to say that daily life is singularly devoid of heroism and nobility. It’s just imperfect people doing the best they can to get through the ...more
Anoud
Wow ..I am totally fascinated by dr. king, words …

In this book dr. king, the leader of the civil-rights movement, talked about the conditions and the social, political, religious and economic circumstances that crystallized the birth of the new Negros' revolution, and how things started in Birmingham 1963.

He described the extreme oppression and injustice that they used to face. While I was reading this book, my mind just couldn't stop picturing an endless series of scenes. I've never been influe
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Vincent
In Why We Can’t Wait Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his account of the Birmingham campaign, which sought to dissolve the Jim Crow status quo. From the outset of his campaign, however, tensions were present not only within the black communities, but also with whites who supported their cause. When he began to plan his strategy for nonviolent demonstrations he found that “there was tremendous resistance to [their] program from some of the Negro ministers, businessmen, and professionals in the c ...more
Dchavez06
Post-"I have a dream" and pre-Civil Rights act of 1964, this book is a powerful call to action for equality. It has obvious and incredibly strong parallels to gay rights today. I was inspired by MLK's statement about how one should not be "grateful" for advances in obtaining "the same basic rights owed to one's birthright as an American and a member of the human community." I now have a hard time accepting the mainstream, centrist view that advances in civil unions or the repeal of DADT are anyt ...more
Kevo Rivera
This book is crucially important as a primary source/field guide/case study to any society still aching with the growing pains of revolution and in need of more wholistic justice (aka all societies). As important as it is to understand the process toward African American equality in the US in and of itself, King provides enough proverbial wisdom to incite sparks of revolutionary nonviolent action for any minority cause in which systematic injustice is the norm.
Casey Phillips
Distinguished, inspiring, eloquent. Apart from the Dream speech, I have not read much of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work. He is intelligent and compassionate. He speaks without hate, without bitterness.

Racism and prejudices are still deeply woven into our society. There are patches that are so tightly sewn together. Much of Dr. King's words still ring true today, "For too long the depth of racism in American life has been underestimated. The surgery to extract it is necessarily complex and detail
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Leroy Seat
This is a great book, and I was especially moved by reading (again?) the fifth chapter, "Letter from Birmingham Jail," written in April 1963.

The book is mostly about "the Negro Revolution" that centered in Birmingham in 1963. What we know now that King didn't know when he wrote the book, is that his and others' actions in 1963 led to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which did much to overcome racial segregation in this country.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day this year, we should ta
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Kristin
I have to admit to, even respecting King while going into this, I was still surprised by how much I enjoyed what I suspected to be an important but dry book. That's was so wrong, King writes marvelously. I learned a lot of details about the movement, particularly in Birmingham, but also more broadly, how it was structured and how they lead the campaigns, and it was all very interesting, engaging, and wonderfully said. (I must admit to being a bit disappointed with the last chapter on where to go ...more
Paul Demetre
"Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself...", Martin Luther King Jr.

This is just one of the great lines of this powerful work.

Why We Can't Wait is a concise and eloquent account of the events in Birmingham in 1963, as well as an explanation of the civil rights movement, its causes, methods and aims. This is a good reminder of how far we have come in the last fifty years, and how we still have a ways to go.

Martin Luther Kings belongs
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Happyreader
Insane that Dr. King had to justify timely organizing for equal rights a hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation but racism is insane like that. Part political thriller, part moral treatise, part organizing manual for speaking truth to power and enriching your soul, his eloquent recounting of the 1963 Birmingham protests pulls you in and pulls no punches. Includes Dr. King’s brilliant Letter from Birmingham Jail, written 50 years ago this week, proclaiming “Injustice anywhere is a thre ...more
Bala
Regretfully, I once failed to comprehend why MLK Jr. was so revered. I think I attributed his lasting prominence to equal parts merit as well as token symbolism enhanced by martyrdom. Then I read his writing...

His eloquence is unbelievable...so poignant and moving that some passages even bring tears to my reticent and cynical eyes. Its worth reading simply to read the power of King's rhetoric and his masterful ability to relate profound emotional expression. After reading "Why We Can't Wait," I
...more
ShelbyLibrary
“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

And the famous......

“I Had a Dream....”

And can never forget.....

"Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last."
...more
Eric Zandona
I'm glad that I read it but I expected a little more from the writing. The best chapter is his letter from the Birmingham Jail, it demonstrates that he was a smart man who read quite a bit. The last chapter is also good and I can understand why some in the FBI were following him and concerned that he might be a communist. Ultimately I wanted more about the philosophy of non-violent direct action and how they taught people to not respond to violence with violence.
blereader
Written for an audience of any color, creed, and orientation. The most eloquent book I know of to date that explains the urgency and need of the Civil Rights movement. He explains how sensitive times were, in 1963, when there were so many frustrations, unjust murders and daily humiliations. To such confusion was added a fluster of suggested remedies--from emigrating to Africa, to being satisfied with slow progress, to the black "elite" pushing forward, to ripping a part of the U.S. away in the m ...more
Sahar Abdel-Hameed
Wow...
I am deeply touched by the struggle of Martin Luther King and his companions and the philosophy behind it is much more impressive. The emphasis on non violence and striving for the sake of freedom and equality through means of peace rather than hatred and means of grudge and destruction show the best of humanity...
Heidi
This book made a strong impression on me. It made me realize how little I knew about the Civil Rights movement, how much it accomplished, and what amazing people the leaders of the movement were. The S.C.L.C. was well-organized, well-funded, and intelligently led. The nonviolence they practiced took tremendous courage, and volunteers that failed to live up to the high standards were not allowed to participate in demonstrations. I will encourage my own children to read this in high school, and wi ...more
Charles Stephen
I was surprised and delighted by my first look into Why We Can’t Wait, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He made many points in the span of less than two hundred pages. First, he explained thoroughly his decision to go to Birmingham with the SCLC and launch a series of nonviolent demonstrations in “the most segregated city in America.” One of the most eloquent parts of his explanation is the chapter comprising his famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” his answer to moderate white clergymen who ...more
Kristi
This should be required reading for every American. Such a well reasoned and insightful historical account of the civil rights movement.
Kylos
Jul 03, 2007 Kylos rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone too shallow to get it on their own
afterwards, some things are just better understood.
and other things are infinitely more depressing.
Mike
I didn't pick this book up because of Michael Brown or Eric Garner, but it certainly was timely. There are many relevant passages herein, but one in particular stands out to me as it pertains to the non-indictments in Missouri and New York.

Many well meaning people point out the riots as an unacceptable response to the grand juries' decisions. MLK says "No one can pretend that because a people may be oppressed, every individual member is virtuous and worthy." Let's not let the small crimes of a
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Keith
Fantastic book by Mr. King writing as events were unfolding in the civil rights movements in the 1960's. He basically defends the black non-violent protesting via boycotts and other methods. The black person has been waiting for over 100 years for justice and to be treated fairly and equally. Mr. King's book argues the case and depicts the brutality of the whites who don't want equality for reasons unknown to all of us. Excellent book. Should be required reading in high school, in my opinion. We ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Different page number for a book 4 29 May 27, 2013 03:38PM  
Indian Readers: Martin Luther King's 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' 3 15 Apr 17, 2013 09:15AM  
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Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement. King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His ef ...more
More about Martin Luther King Jr....
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from the Birmingham Jail A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches Strength to Love I Have a Dream / Letter from Birmingham Jail

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