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Why We Can't Wait

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  4,917 Ratings  ·  284 Reviews
Dr. King’s best-selling account of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the spring and summer of 1963
In 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States, but the campaign launched by Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action. 
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Kindle Edition, 209 pages
Published (first published 1963)
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Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Benjamin Zapata
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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!!!
Soul Survivor
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: almost-favorite
This was a terric book that deserves 5-stars but I only rated it 4-stars because it became too detailed and covered minutia that didn't interest me . It included Dr. King's full ' Letter from a Birmingham jail ' , which is rare and was enlightening .

I was particularly interested in the four pillars on which his dogged , non-violent movement was based : 1 . Collection of facts to identify injustice ;
2. Negotiation ;
4. Direct Action .

I was simply astounded at the leng
Daniel Namie
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
حسين إسماعيل
أظنّ أن مارتن لوثر كنغ غنيٌّ عن التعريف فلا حاجة للخوض في تفاصيل حياته وأنشطته الحقوقية. هذا الكتاب يقدّم بشكل موجز طبيعة الحراك النضالي للأمريكيين "السود" في ستينات القرن الماضي. يتبحّر م.ل.ك في الهموم والمشاكل والإخفاقات والنجاحات التي لازمت حراكهم، ويركز بشكل خاص في هذا الكتاب على المطالبات الحقوقية في مدينة برمنغهام في ألاباما، وهي على حد تعبيره أكثر مدينة مفصولة عرقياً في أمريكا.

على الرغم من أن الكتاب صغير الحجم نسبيا، إلا أن الكاتب يقدّم لمحة جميلة لأفكاره ويدعّمها بأمثلة من الواقع فيما يق
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 05-star, 2018, favorites
5++++ stars
Laine The Librarian
“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 las
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race, struggle
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
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
is it enough to say i kept gasping after turning every single page?
"He marched to heal a nation."
Matthew Mitchell

I’m glad to read Dr. King’s thoughts in his own words. I’ve settled too long for secondary sources.

This book tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement, especially the events of the year 1963. It centers on the events in Birmingham and includes King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” King explains what their aims were, what philosophy guided them, what tactics of direct action through nonviolence they employed, and what the results were. He does a masterful job of carrying the reader
Roy Lotz
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
عبدالله  المصري
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 ؟ )
Courtney Mosier Warren
This book is brilliant. It should be required reading. As deeply saddening as it is, much of the book applies to racial relations today. It shows how far we have come, but how far we have to go. Engrossing.
Robin Friedman
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martin Luther King's Why We Can't Wait

A new anthology on Martin Luther King's political philosophy, "To Shape a New World" (2018) edited by Harvard University professors Tommie Shelby and Brandon Terry has inspired me to read or reread the five books that King published during his life. Published in 1964, King's third book, "Why We Can't Wait" focuses on the 1963 Civil Rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. King and others had described Birmingham as the most segregated city in America. The nat
This was the first book by the great civil rights leader that I have ever read, and it was not only brilliantly-written, but evocative and poignant. It's not only a detailed narration of facts, but an incisive exposition of the African-American soul.

There are two introductions. The first was written by Dorothy F. Cotton, who was the Education Director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the time, and worked closely with Dr. King.

The second introduction was written by King, and is
This book is exquisite, pure and simple.

There is a word that we frequently use in the Baptist church: "convicted". Not in the criminal sense of the word but in the sense that one is so strongly gripped by a feeling or event that one is forced to act. I felt convicted by this book, every page of it.

Like most Americans, I am somewhat familiar with King's writings from school. I have never read any of his writings in depth, however. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Eloquent and concise,
Evie Rhodes
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is brilliance of insight into the human spirit, and then there is brilliance. Here that particular brilliance is so aptly reflected in Dr. Martin Luther King's words in his book, "Why We Can't Wait" he states, "when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait."

Dr. King is quite possibly the greatest Orator of our time!

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
Paul Haspel
When reading Why We Can't Wait, one gets a sense of what Martin Luther King Jr. faced at a crucial point in his civil-rights activism; and Dr. King emerges from the pages of this book not as a distant icon, but as a great, and humanly great, individual. He is also a brilliant writer, and one of the greatest rhetoricians in all of American history, as Why We Can't Wait amply demonstrates.

The central subject of Why We Can't Wait is the civil-rights activism that Dr. King led in Birmingham, Alabama
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wise words from a wise man of sending a message of peace and love in turbulent times - and words that are still quite applicable today.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you think NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem is unpatriotic, this book will change your mind. Dr. King’s account of the civil rights struggle of 1963 shows us the deep love for America and the patriotism involved in nonviolent protest. Here is one of my favorite passages:

“I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so tha
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I celebrated MLK Day by reading Dr. King’s book, and I am so happy I did. This book is phenomenal!

One of the most poignant reads I have read that gives light to some of the most pivotal moments during the Civil Rights Movement. There is so much passion and weight found in Dr. King’s words that it is almost impossible for you to not be inspired while reading.
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: racism, non-fiction
I read this immediately after reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and it was quite a whiplash in terms of tone and style.

It's clear from the first paragraph that King is a reverend. Every word he writes has the feel of grand, cosmic sermon to it. I can understand why the grandiosity and reverence and innate optimism of his style might have been alienating to people who were angry or hopeless or very legitimately jaded. I can understand why his style was a better fit for the rural south than
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the most well-written and comprehensive book I have read on the Civil Rights Movement and continuing issues of injustice in our country. It speaks to the purpose and process of the 1960s movement and is still undeniably relevant for today. It's one that I feel every student should be required to read and discuss in school. Dr. King is a powerful writer and his reasoning is unflinching and unafraid in the cause of justice for all people, especially those who have been consistentl ...more
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
That Martin Luther King, he sure knew how to write.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy Vol. 1
  • The Nature and Destiny of Man, Vols 1-2
  • The Sweet Science
  • The Promise of American Life
  • Black Power: The Politics of Liberation
  • The Taming Of Chance (Ideas in Context)
  • Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965
  • The Contours of American History
  • Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910
  • In the American Grain
  • Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War
  • A Preface to Morals
  • Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
  • Vermeer
  • Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
  • Selected Essays
  • Melbourne
  • Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin
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
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