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Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  848 ratings  ·  134 reviews
This book is an account of a few years that changed the life of a Southern community, told from the point of view of one of the participants. Although it attempts to interpret what happened it does not purport to be a detailed survey of the historical and sociological aspects of the Montgomery story. .

This is not a drama with only one actor. More precisely it is the chroni
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 1987 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published November 30th 1957)
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Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lately many politicians have been preaching the politics of fear and hate. It may be time to have a look back and remember what history should have taught us. Hate begets hate, violence begets violence...
Roy Lotz
Martin Luther King, Jr. has made the improbable journey from periphery to national hero, embraced (at least verbally) by everyone from the left to the right. As a result, it has become difficult to understand King as he was: a radical and controversial figure. This transformation has required some omissions. While King is widely celebrated for his civil rights activism, his criticisms of economic inequality have attracted far less attention. In school it was not mentioned that King delivered his ...more
robin friedman
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martin Luther King's Stride Toward Freedom

April 4, 2018, marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With the annual January holiday dedicated to his memory together with the commemoration of his death, King is receiving a great deal of attention this year. Among new books examining King is an anthology "To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr" (2018), (edited by Tommie Shelby and Brandon Terry) in which philosophers
Deborah Pickstone
You know, I never read this before! The autobiographical account of the Montgomery bus boycott story. MLK's writing is really lovely so it is a literary treat and not just an account of a passive resistant movement that worked. Reading it - plus The Autobiography of Malcolm X - also led me into reading comparative thoughts about MLK and Malcolm X. ...more
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing

While this first of Martin Luther King’s books primarily deals with the details of the Montgomery bus boycott, which he helped lead and later thrust him into the national spotlight, it also has a variety of instantly recognizable themes that would be a feature of King’s public life. From economic inequality, systemic racism, love and compassion for your oppressor while never passively accepting oppression, this book is an early marker of the man King would become over the rest of his all too s
Grace Mead
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot adequately summarize--let alone "review"--this book. But I highly recommend it. ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fascinating. The Civil Rights Movement generally gets only a few pages in one's history book, which means the Montgomery bus boycott is reduced to a sentence or two. Hearing a detailed account of the logistics and all of the challenges along the way made me better appreciate what an undertaking it was. It's amazing that MLK Jr. survived the entire year of the boycott — he received constant death threats, his house was bombed once (and there was a failed second attempt), and he genuinely ...more
Marissa Morrison
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The excellence of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s writing--his vocabulary, the cadence, the way he exposes injustice after injustice without ever ranting angrily--makes this book a delight to read.

Rosa Parks was not sitting at the front of the bus at the time of her arrest. She was in the black section but was expected to get up and stand when a white man stepped onto the bus and found the white section full. At that time, black people had to step onto the bus through the front door to pay their dimes
A powerful and eloquent witness showing how self-sacrificing love can change hearts filled with hate. It’s worth buying the book just to read the chapter, “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” (which is also reprinted in “Radical King”) explaining how MLK came to believe in the theory of nonviolent resistance.

The list of books that should be required reading for students keeps getting longer...
 Ariadne Oliver
This book gave me a good overview of the Montgomery bus boycott and a solid introduction to the basic concepts of nonviolent resistance. I especially enjoyed the bits where King talked about his philosophical and theological influences. It was clearly written and very accessible.
Jeremiah Lorrig
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wish every American in 2020 would read this book.

King knows the evil of racism, calls on each of us to do more, and also rejects the hate and violence that can come with either side’s frustrations.

His foundations are profoundly inspiring and his heart and compassion for others are deeply needed today.

The more I read in this book, the more I’m inspired. King’s impact on history and his place in the pantheon of great Americans is properly celebrated by reading his story and admonitions.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars (liked a lot)

I picked up the Audible audio version of this book when it was on sale on M.L.K. Day and am really glad I did.  I thought it was an exceptionally well-written and well-narrated account of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the concept of non-violence in the struggle for civil rights.  Although I was already familiar with the Boycott, this book provided a more complete picture from MLK's viewpoint.  In clear and concise detail, he reviews the planning and implementation as well
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The soulful words of wisdom will take the reader through the progression of the Civil Rights Movement, recognizing and acknowledging the strategies used to strive over the hurdles America came to grips with the real horrors of racism.

This is a powerful read especially for our current time to learn the struggle for equality in America is continuously an evolution forged in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Seth Townsend
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I was not surprised by the amazing story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as much as I was about why and how the civil rights era begun with this one town and this one man. Martin Luther King’s ideas are as radical and neglected as they were 60 years ago and they hold the key to the civil rights movement. While this idea can be summed up in two words the length of its effects are still stretching into today: Nonviolence resistance.
MLK talks about how he arrived at this conclusion, mainly thr
Per Berggreen
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
An exceptional account of what community and solidarity is when acted out in real life in an American struggle that has ongoing for centuries. It is also an honest personal account of feeling fear, nearly giving up, of deep crisis and of great success - it much more than a historical account.
The depth and foresight of King jr. are illustrated by a quote from the book that points directly into our current world situation of non-sustainable neoliberalist capitalism - and mind you this was experien
Larry Bassett
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, history
This audible book was recorded just recently although the original book was published in 1958 about the 1955–56 events in Montgomery Alabama. The book is predominantly about the Montgomery bus boycott that led to the Supreme Court decision ruling that segregation on buses was unconstitutional. More importantly I thought the book covered the beginning of the career of Martin Luther King Junior and his determined commitment to nonviolence. The narration of the Montgomery events were presented in a ...more
Mack Hayden
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another enthralling and inspiring book from MLK! Some of the highlights here are passages enumerating why he adheres to a philosophy of nonviolence and how to carry it out, paragraphs critiquing the "white moderate" as perhaps the most frustrating element of racial injustice (that certainly hasn't changed) and the overarching narrative dedicated to telling the story of how the Montgomery bus project managed to transform a society. It's crazy to think how black people in the Civil Rights Era foun ...more
Nathan Harris
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-influential
A great book that includes not only the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but also some of Dr. King’s philosophy on nonviolent resistance and integration. It gives a helpful vision of what things were like in Montgomery during the protest. “Stride Toward Freedom” not only shows us what race relations were like 65 years ago in the south, but also helps us understand that today’s race relations didn’t come out of a vacuum.
It's sad that so much of what MLK wrote about is very appropriate for today. His words are so inspiring and forced me to look at my own feelings of retaliation when faced with oppression rather than focusing on healing. I loved his descriptions of non-violence as active not passive. "It's either non-violence or non-existence." I look forward to reading his other works. ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story of the bus strike in Montgomery, Alabama told by Martin Lurther King Jr. himself. A must read for anyone wishing to understand the civil rights movement. ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are many times throughout our lives we read about Martin Luther King, Jr and his philosophies. I think this book is a wonderful opportunity to read about his philosophies in his words. I highly recommend this book for all, but especially for those interested in strategies for social justice.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing opportunity to gain insight into the mind of, and divine inspiration supporting, MLK as he transitioned from grad student to civil rights leader. I thought the foreword and the final chapter distracted a bit from the book, but even they contained some inspirational nuggets.
Joy Pierce
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sixty years later, this book is still SO relevant. I could hear Dr. King’s voice is every page. Wish this was required reading in our high schools today.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I planned it out to finish this book on the MLK Jr. Holiday and I feel blessed to have listened to the final hours of it on a day honoring the author for his remarkable vision and leadership, which first took the national stage during the Montgomery Bus Boycott from December 1955 to Dec 1956.

I first read this, Dr. King’s first published book on the civil rights movement, nearly 30 years ago while working on my undergraduate senior thesis, which focused on the Montgomery bus boycott’s short-term
Danie Botha
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a liberating read!

Published for the first time in 1958, this book still holds true today, more than ever.
Stride Toward Freedom is Martin Luther King Jr.’s autobiographical account of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, which was planned to last one day. In the end it continued for 386 days!
MLK gives a sober exposition of why nonviolence was the only moral route for them to follow in Montgomery. In spite of incredible odds stacked against them, including humiliation, abuse, bombings and impri
Steve Johnson
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is recommended reading by The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and I’m glad I took the time to read it. It is the first of three major books in The King Legacy series written by Martin Luther King Jr. Reading it felt a bit like having an opportunity to read MLK’s diary of the events that led up, took place during, and occurred just after the Montgomery Bus Boycott. More than that, MLK is quick to share credit for the success of the movement he led, naming, listing, and describi ...more
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not sure why it took me so long to come across this and read it, but I finally did and I loved it! I obviously knew a little about the Montgomery story (not just from school, but my Dad was born and raised there), but I learned so much more I didn't know. This is so much more than just a story obviously and I am still digesting all that I learned from it. Although there are many potential takeaways throughout, these are just a few of my favorites:

“[Nonviolence] is directed against forces of evil
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dr. King's account of The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a beautiful account of this historical event. The narrative was engaging. His tone was confident, yet hopeful.

Largely, this is a story that has powerful lessons to be learned and adapted to ANY and ALL conflicts.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Really what can you say about a gripping first hand account of one of the most momentous points in American history?
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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

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“[Nonviolence] is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.” 29 likes
“There are several specific things that the church can do. First, it should try to get to the ideational roots of race hate, something that the law cannot accomplish. All race prejudice is based upon fears, suspicions, and misunderstandings, usually groundless. The church can be of immeasurable help in giving the popular mind direction here. Through its channels of religious education, the church can point out the irrationality of these beliefs. It can show that the idea of a superior or inferior race is a myth that has been completely refuted by anthropological evidence. It can show that Negroes are not innately inferior in academic, health, and moral standards. It can show that, when given equal opportunities, Negroes can demonstrate equal achievement.” 4 likes
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