In honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this week’s Advice For Readers blog post is a collection of books about the people and ideas that inspired Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience: Mahatma Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, Howard Thurman, Bayard Rustin, Pauli Murray, and others.
Also included in our selection this week are some more (and less) recent books that apply Dr. King’s message and methods of nonviolent civil disobedience to contemporary struggles, offering guidance to new generations of people seeking peaceful social change. For some of those who influenced Dr. King, including Pauli Murray, Bayrad Rustin, & Howard Thurman, Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance or Satyagraha (see: Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha) by Mahatma Gandhi) was profoundly influential.
As Mary King details in Mahatma Gandhi And Martin Luther King, Jr. : The Power Of Nonviolent Action, Dr. King also found inspiration in the writings and life of Henry David Thoreau and Thoreau’s ideas of civil disobedience (see: Walden ; And, Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau), as well as in his religious faith.
The books on this week's recommended list offer a window into the lives and struggles of those who influenced Dr. King and how nonviolent social protest can be used today to bring about meaningful and lasting changes. Another great resource for anyone looking to further explore the origins and effects of Dr. King’s ideas is Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, located online at https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu, where you can find information on Dr. King’s life, biographies of his mentors and fellow civil rights activists, links to his papers and important documents, as well as classroom activities, lesson plans, and more.
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Stride Toward Freedom : The Montgomery Story by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s account of the first successful large-scale application of nonviolence resistance in America is comprehensive, revelatory, and intimate. King described his book as “the chronicle of fifty thousand Negroes who took to heart the principles of nonviolence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth.” It traces the phenomenal journey of a community, and shows how the twenty-eight-year-old Dr. King, with his conviction for equality and nonviolence, helped transformed the nation-and the world. -- From the publisher
This book describes the world-historical forces, acting on the periphery of the modern world—in Russia in the 19th century and India in the 20th century which developed the idea of nonviolence in Tolstoy and then in Gandhi. It was from Tolstoy that Gandhi first learned of this idea, but those world-historical forces acted upon and through both men. Tolstoy and Gandhi were at first agents of modern reform, in Russia and India. But then they became rebels against it and led a profound resistance—a resistance spiritually rooted in the traditionalism of myriad peasant villages. --From the publisher
Christian Peace And Nonviolence : A Documentary History edited by Michael G. Long
From the Sermon on the Mount to the twenty-first century, this comprehensive reader recounts the Christian message of peace and nonviolence. Through testimony by the confessors and martyrs of the early church, the voices of medieval figures like St. Benedict and St. Francis, as well as Erasmus, Lollards, Anabaptists, and Quakers abolitionists, Christian Peace and Nonviolence presents a coherent story in which the peace message of Jesus is restored to central place. Later sections highlight many of the great prophets of modern times, including Tolstoy, Dorothy Day, A.J. Muste, Thomas Merton, Daniel Berrigan, and Oscar Romero. Their challenge remains timely and urgent. As John Haynes Holmes observed, If war is right then Christianity is false, a lie. Christian Peace and Nonviolence is not only intellectually compelling but also inspirational. It is more than a reference work. It is a witness. --From the publisher
Why Not Every Man? : African Americans And Civil Disobedience In The Quest For The Dream by George Hendrick, Willene Hendrick
The record of civil disobedience by African Americans, which George and Willene Hendrick recount in Why Not Every Man?, begins soon after slaves were brought legally to the American colonies: they began to run away. Through the years of the abolitionists, the struggle against the Fugitive Slave Act, opposition to Jim Crow laws, and the emergence of the civil rights movement, blacks continued the peaceful protest of their inequality and lack of freedom. In addition to describing these often forgotten episodes, the Hendricks show how the idea of civil disobedience, first suggested in America by Henry David Thoreau, crossed oceans to influence Mohandas K. Gandhi, whose thinking in turn attracted a young divinity student named Martin Luther King, Jr. The impact of these ideas was to be profound, forming a central tenet in Dr. King's movement against segregation and for the civil rights of black Americans. The record of civil disobedience in the service of African Americans is not without its failures, but overall it has been a powerful weapon in their quest for a share of the American dream. This is a succinct history of that story. --From the publisher
Gandhi's Truth On The Origins Of Militant Nonviolence by Erik H. Erikson
In this study of Mahatma Gandhi, psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson explores how Gandhi succeeded in mobilizing the Indian people both spiritually and politically as he became the revolutionary innovator of militant non-violence and India became the motherland of large-scale civil disobedience. --From the publisher
Gandhi And Jesus : The Saving Power Of Nonviolence by Terrence J. Rynne
At a time when so many insist on countering violence with violence, this exploration of the life of Jesus and the (often misunderstood) teachings of Gandhi puts nonviolent action at the very heart of Christian salvation. --From the publisher
Gandhi, An Autobiography : The Story Of My Experiments With Truth translated from the original in Gujarati by Mahadev Desai
Who was Gandhi? In the midst of resurging interest in the man who freed India, inspired the American Civil Rights Movement, and is revered, respected, and misunderstood all over the world, the time is proper to listen to Gandhi himself — in his own words, his own "confessions," his autobiography. Gandhi made scrupulous truth-telling a religion and his Autobiography inevitably reminds one of other saints who have suffered and burned for their lapses. His simply narrated account of boyhood in Gujarat, marriage at age 13, legal studies in England, and growing desire for purity and reform has the force of a man extreme in all things. He details his gradual conversion to vegetarianism and ahimsa (non-violence) and the state of celibacy (brahmacharya, self-restraint) that became one of his more arduous spiritual trials. In the political realm he outlines the beginning of Satyagraha in South Africa and India, with accounts of the first Indian fasts and protests, his initial errors and misgivings, his jailings, and continued cordial dealings with the British overlords. Gandhi was a fascinating, complex man, a brilliant leader and guide, a seeker of truth who died for his beliefs but had no use for martyrdom or sainthood. His story, the path to his vision of Satyagraha and human dignity, is a critical work of the twentieth century, and timeless in its courage and inspiration. --From the publisher
Visions Of A Better World : Howard Thurman's Pilgrimage To India And The Origins Of African American Nonviolence by Quinton H. Dixie & Peter Eisenstadt
In 1935, at the height of his powers, Howard Thurman, one of the most influential African American religious thinkers of the twentieth century, took a pivotal trip to India that would forever change him—and that would ultimately shape the course of the civil rights movement in the United States. When Thurman (1899–1981) became the first African American to meet with Mahatma Gandhi, he found himself called upon to create a new version of American Christianity, one that eschewed self-imposed racial and religious boundaries, and equipped itself to confront the enormous social injustices that plagued the United States during this period. Gandhi’s philosophy and practice of satyagraha, or “soul force,” would have a momentous impact on Thurman, showing him the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance. After the journey to India, Thurman’s distinctly American translation of satyagraha into a Black Christian context became one of the key inspirations for the civil rights movement, fulfilling Gandhi’s prescient words that “it may be through the Negroes that the unadulterated message of nonviolence will be delivered to the world.” Thurman went on to found one of the first explicitly interracial congregations in the United States and to deeply influence an entire generation of black ministers—among them Martin Luther King Jr. Visions of a Better World depicts a visionary leader at a transformative moment in his life. Drawing from previously untapped archival material and obscurely published works, Quinton Dixie and Peter Eisenstadt explore, for the first time, Thurman’s development into a towering theologian who would profoundly affect American Christianity—and American history. --From the publisher
Howard Thurman And The Disinherited : A Religious Biography by Paul Harvey
Teacher. Minister. Theologian. Writer. Mystic. Activist. No single label can capture the multiplicity of Howard Thurman’s life, but his influence is written all over the most significant aspects of the Civil Rights movement. In 1936, he visited Mahatma Gandhi in India and subsequently brought Gandhi’s concept of nonviolent resistance across the globe to the United States. Later, through his book Jesus and the Disinherited, he foresaw a theology of American liberation based on the life of Jesus as a dispossessed Jew under Roman rule. Paul Harvey’s biography of Thurman speaks to the manifold ways this mystic theologian and social activist sought to transform the world to better reflect “that which is God in us,” despite growing up in the South during the ugliest years of Jim Crow. After founding one of the first intentionally interracial churches in the country—The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco—he shifted into a mentorship role with Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights leaders. He advised them to incorporate more inward seeking and rest into their activism, while also thinking of their struggle for racial equality in a more cosmopolitan, universalist manner. Few historical figures represent such diverse parts of the American religious tradition as Howard Thurman did. By telling the story of his religious lives, Paul Harvey gives the reader a window into many of the main currents of twentieth-century American religious expression. --From the publisher
Jesus And The Disinherited by Howard Thurman
In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman (1900-1981) demonstrates how the gospel may be read as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. Jesus is a partner in the pain of the oppressed and the example of His life offers a solution to ending the descent into moral nihilism. Hatred does not empower--it decays. Only through self-love and love of one another can God's justice prevail. --From the publisher
Howard Thurman : Philosophy, Civil Rights, And The Search For Common Ground (E-BOOK ) by Kipton E Jensen
Although he is best known as a mentor to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Howard Thurman (1900-1981) was an exceptional philosopher and public intellectual in his own right. In Howard Thurman: Philosophy, Civil Rights, and the Search for Common Ground, Kipton E. Jensen provides new ways of understanding Thurman's foundational role in and broad influence on the civil rights movement and argues persuasively that he is one of the unsung heroes of that time. While Thurman's profound influence on King has been documented, Jensen shows how Thurman's reach extended to an entire generation of activists. Thurman espoused a unique brand of personalism. Jensen explicates Thurman's construction of a philosophy on nonviolence and the political power of love. Showing how Thurman was a "social activist mystic" as well as a pragmatist, Jensen explains how these beliefs helped provide the foundation for King's notion of the beloved community. Throughout his life Thurman strove to create a climate of "inner unity of fellowship that went beyond the barriers of race, class, and tradition." In this volume Jensen meticulously documents and analyzes Thurman as a philosopher, activist, and peacemaker and illuminates his vital and founding role in and contributions to the monumental achievements of the civil rights era. --From the publisher
Lost Prophet : The Life And Times Of Bayard Rustin by John D'Emilio
One of the most important figures of the American civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin taught Martin Luther King Jr. the methods of Gandhi, spearheaded the 1963 March on Washington, and helped bring the struggle of African Americans to the forefront of a nation's consciousness. But despite his incontrovertibly integral role in the movement, the openly gay Rustin is not the household name that many of his activist contemporaries are. In exploring history's Lost Prophet, acclaimed historian John D'Emilio explains why Rustin's influence was minimized by his peers and why his brilliant strategies were not followed, or were followed by those he never meant to help. --From the publisher
Time On Two Crosses : The Collected Writings Of Bayard Rustin edited by Devon W. Carbado and Donald Weise
In 1956 Bayard Rustin taught Martin Luther King Jr. strategies of nonviolence during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, thereby launching the civil rights movement. Widely acclaimed as a founding father of modern black protest, Rustin reached international notoriety in 1963 as the openly gay organizer of the March on Washington. Long before the March on Washington, Rustin's leadership placed him at the vanguard of social protest. His gay identity, however, became a point of contention with the movement, with the controversy embroiling even King himself. Time on Two Crosses offers an insider's view of many of the defining political moments of our time. From Gandhi's impact on African Americans, white supremacists in Congress, and the assassination of Malcolm X to Rustin's never-before-published essays on Louis Farrakhan, affirmative action, and the call for gay rights, Time on Two Crosses chronicles five decades of Rustin's commitment to justice and equality. --From the publisher
I Must Resist : Bayard Rustin's Life In Letters edited by Michael G. Long ; foreword by Julian Bond
A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi's protest techniques to the American civil rights movement and played a deeply influential role in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to mold him into an international symbol of nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin often remained in the background. He was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. Here we have Rustin in his own words in a collection of over 150 of his eloquent, impassioned letters; his correspondents include the major progressives of his day—including Eleanor Holmes Norton, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Ella Baker and, of course, Martin Luther King, Jr. Bayard Rustin's ability to chart the path "from protest to politics" is both timely and deeply informative. Here, at last, is direct access to the strategic thinking and tactical planning that led to the successes of one of America's most transformative and historic social movements. --From the publisher
Jane Crow : The Life Of Pauli Murray by Rosalind Rosenberg
Throughout her prodigious life, activist and lawyer Pauli Murray systematically fought against all arbitrary distinctions in society, channeling her outrage at the discrimination she faced to make America a more democratic country. In this definitive biography, Rosalind Rosenberg offers a poignant portrait of a figure who played pivotal roles in both the modern civil rights and women's movements. A mixed-race orphan, Murray grew up in segregated North Carolina before escaping to New York, where she attended Hunter College and became a labor activist in the 1930s. [...] In the 1950s, her legal scholarship helped Thurgood Marshall challenge segregation head-on in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. When appointed by Eleanor Roosevelt to the President's Commission on the Status of Women in 1962, she advanced the idea of Jane Crow, arguing that the same reasons used to condemn race discrimination could be used to battle gender discrimination. In 1965, she became the first African American to earn a JSD from Yale Law School and the following year persuaded Betty Friedan to found an NAACP for women, which became NOW. In the early 1970s, Murray provided Ruth Bader Ginsburg with the argument Ginsburg used to persuade the Supreme Court that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution protects not only blacks but also women - and potentially other minority groups - from discrimination. By that time, Murray was a tenured history professor at Brandeis, a position she left to become the first black woman ordained a priest by the Episcopal Church in 1976. Murray accomplished all this while struggling with issues of identity. She believed from childhood she was male and tried unsuccessfully to persuade doctors to give her testosterone. While she would today be identified as transgender, during her lifetime no social movement existed to support this identity. She ultimately used her private feelings of being "in-between" to publicly contend that identities are not fixed, an idea that has powered campaigns for equal rights in the United States for the past half-century. --From the publisher
A finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and longlisted for the National Book Award, The Firebrand and the First Lady is the riveting history, two decades in the making, of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist and the first lady of the United States forged an enduring friendship that helped to alter the course of race and racism in America. In 1938, the twenty-eight-year-old Pauli Murray wrote a letter to the President and First Lady, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, protesting racial segregation in the South. Eleanor wrote back. So began a friendship that would last for a quarter of a century, as Pauli became a lawyer, principal strategist in the fight to protect Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and a co-founder of the National Organization of Women, and Eleanor became a diplomat and first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. --From the publisher
Song In A Weary Throat : Memoir Of An American Pilgrimage by Pauli Murray
First published posthumously in 1987, Pauli Murray’s Song in a Weary Throat was critically lauded, winning the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Lillian Smith Book Award among other distinctions. Yet Murray’s name and extraordinary influence receded from view in the intervening years; now they are once again entering the public discourse. At last, with the republication of this “beautifully crafted” memoir, Song in a Weary Throat takes its rightful place among the great civil rights autobiographies of the twentieth century. In a voice that is energetic, wry, and direct, Murray tells of a childhood dramatically altered by the sudden loss of her spirited, hard-working parents. Orphaned at age four, she was sent from Baltimore to segregated Durham, North Carolina, to live with her unflappable Aunt Pauline, who, while strict, was liberal-minded in accepting the tomboy Pauli as “my little boy-girl.” In fact, throughout her life, Murray would struggle with feelings of sexual “in-betweenness”―she tried unsuccessfully to get her doctors to give her testosterone―that today we would recognize as a transgendered identity. We then follow Murray north at the age of seventeen to New York City’s Hunter College, to her embrace of Gandhi’s Satyagraha―nonviolent resistance―and south again, where she experienced Jim Crow firsthand. An early Freedom Rider, she was arrested in 1940, fifteen years before Rosa Parks’ disobedience, for sitting in the whites-only section of a Virginia bus. Murray’s activism led to relationships with Thurgood Marshall and Eleanor Roosevelt―who respectfully referred to Murray as a “firebrand”―and propelled her to a Howard University law degree and a lifelong fight against "Jane Crow" sexism. We also read Betty Friedan’s enthusiastic response to Murray’s call for an NAACP for Women―the origins of NOW. Murray sets these thrilling high-water marks against the backdrop of uncertain finances, chronic fatigue, and tragic losses both private and public, as Patricia Bell-Scott’s engaging introduction brings to life. Now, more than thirty years after her death in 1985, Murray―poet, memoirist, lawyer, activist, and Episcopal priest―gains long-deserved recognition through a rediscovered memoir that serves as a “powerful witness” (Brittney Cooper) to a pivotal era in the American twentieth century. --From the publisher
Texas native James Farmer is one of the “Big Four” of the turbulent 1960s civil rights movement, along with Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young. Farmer might be called the forgotten man of the movement, overshadowed by Martin Luther King Jr., who was deeply influenced by Farmer’s interpretation of Gandhi’s concept of nonviolent protest. Born in Marshall, Texas, in 1920, the son of a preacher, Farmer grew up with segregated movie theaters and “White Only” drinking fountains. This background impelled him to found the Congress of Racial Equality in 1942. That same year he mobilized the first sit-in in an all-white restaurant near the University of Chicago. Under Farmer’s direction, CORE set the pattern for the civil rights movement by peaceful protests which eventually led to the dramatic “Freedom Rides” of the 1960s. In Lay Bare the Heart Farmer tells the story of the heroic civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. This moving and unsparing personal account captures both the inspiring strengths and human weaknesses of a movement beset by rivalries, conflicts and betrayals. Farmer recalls meetings with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson (for whom he had great respect), and Lyndon Johnson (who, according to Farmer, used Adam Clayton Powell Jr., to thwart a major phase of the movement). James Farmer has courageously worked for dignity for all people in the United States. In this book, he tells his story with forthright honesty. --From the publisher
My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King ; as told to the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds
"The life story of Coretta Scott King--wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and singular twentieth-century American civil rights activist--as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to one of her closest friends. Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising black parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. One of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, a committed pacifist, and a civil rights activist, she was an avowed feminist--a graduate student determined to pursue her own career--when she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs and racial justice goals, she married King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, a marcher, a negotiator, and a crucial fundraiser in support of world-changing achievements. As a widow and single mother of four, while butting heads with the all-male African American leadership of the times, she championed gay rights and AIDS awareness, founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, lobbied for fifteen years to help pass a bill establishing the US national holiday in honor of her slain husband, and was a powerful international presence, serving as a UN ambassador and playing a key role in Nelson Mandela's election. Coretta's is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an independent-minded black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful in the face of terrorism and violent hatred every single day of her life."--Provided by publisher.--From the publisher
My Life With Martin Luther King, Jr by Coretta Scott King
The widow of the dynamic and beloved civil rights leader recounts the history of the movement and offers an inside look at Dr. King, his sermons and speeches, her relationship to him, their children and family life, and more. . --From the publisher
In Struggle : SNCC And The Black Awakening Of The 1960s by Clayborne Carson ;
With its radical ideology and effective tactics, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was the cutting edge of the civil rights movement during the 1960s. This sympathetic yet evenhanded book records for the first time the complete story of SNCC’s evolution, of its successes and its difficulties in the ongoing struggle to end white oppression. At its birth, SNCC was composed of black college students who shared an ideology of moral radicalism. This ideology, with its emphasis on nonviolence, challenged Southern segregation. SNCC students were the earliest civil rights fighters of the Second Reconstruction. They conducted sit-ins at lunch counters, spearheaded the freedom rides, and organized voter registration, which shook white complacency and awakened black political consciousness. In the process, Clayborne Carson shows, SNCC changed from a group that endorsed white middle-class values to one that questioned the basic assumptions of liberal ideology and raised the fist for black power. Indeed, SNCC’s radical and penetrating analysis of the American power structure reached beyond the black community to help spark wider social protests of the 1960s, such as the anti–Vietnam War movement. Carson’s history of SNCC goes behind the scene to determine why the group’s ideological evolution was accompanied by bitter power struggles within the organization. Using interviews, transcripts of meetings, unpublished position papers, and recently released FBI documents, he reveals how a radical group is subject to enormous, often divisive pressures as it fights the difficult battle for social change. --From the publisher
Born To Rebel : An Autobiography by Benjamin E. Mays
Born the son of a sharecropper in 1894 near Ninety Six, South Carolina, Benjamin E. Mays went on to serve as president of Morehouse College for twenty-seven years and as the first president of the Atlanta School Board. His earliest memory, of a lynching party storming through his county, taunting but not killing his father, became for Mays an enduring image of black-white relations in the South. Born to Rebel is the moving chronicle of his life, a story that interlaces achievement with the rebuke he continually confronted. -- From the publisher
Walking With The Wind : A Memoir Of The Movement by John Lewis with Michael D'Orso
In 1957, a teenaged boy named John Lewis left a cotton farm in Alabama for Nashville, the epicenter of the struggle for civil rights in America. Lewis’s adherence to nonviolence guided that critical time and established him as one of the movement’s most charismatic and courageous leaders. Lewis’s leadership in the Nashville Movement—a student-led effort to desegregate the city of Nashville using sit-in techniques based on the teachings of Gandhi—set the tone for major civil rights campaigns of the 1960s. Lewis traces his role in the pivotal Selma marches, Bloody Sunday, and the Freedom Rides. Inspired by his mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lewis’s vision and perseverance altered history. In 1986, he ran and won a congressional seat in Georgia, and remains in office to this day, continuing to enact change.
The late Edward M. Kennedy said of Lewis, “John tells it like it was…Lewis spent most of his life walking against the wind of the times, but he was surely walking with the wind of history.” --From the publisher
His Truth Is Marching On : John Lewis And The Power Of Hope by Jon Meacham ; afterword by John Lewis
John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” From an early age, Lewis learned that nonviolence was not only a tactic but a philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. At the age of four, Lewis, ambitious to become a minister, practiced by preaching to his family’s chickens. When his mother cooked one of the chickens, the boy refused to eat it—his first act, he wryly recalled, of nonviolent protest. Integral to Lewis’s commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God—and an unshakable belief in the power of hope. Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.” A believer in the injunction that one should love one's neighbor as oneself, Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful. In many ways he brought a still-evolving nation closer to realizing its ideals, and his story offers inspiration and illumination for Americans today who are working for social and political change. --From the publisher
Blueprint For Revolution : How To Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, And Other Nonviolent Techniques To Galvanize Communities,
Overthrow Dictators, Or Simply Change The World by Srdja Popovic ; with Matthew Miller
An urgent and accessible handbook for peaceful protesters, activists, and community organizers—anyone trying to defend their rights, hold their government accountable, or change the world
Blueprint for Revolution will teach you how to
• make oppression backfire by playing your opponents’ strongest card against them
• identify the “almighty pillars of power” in order to shift the balance of control
• dream big, but start small: learn how to pick battles you can win
• listen to what people actually care about in order to incorporate their needs into your revolutionary vision
• master the art of compromise to bring together even the most disparate groups
• recognize your allies and view your enemies as potential partners
• use humor to make yourself heard, defuse potentially violent situations, and “laugh your way to victory” --From the publisher
We The Resistance : Documenting A History Of Nonviolent Protest In The United States edited by Michael G. Long ; foreword by Chris Hedges ; afterword by Dolores Huerta
While historical accounts of the United States typically focus on the nation's military past, a rich and vibrant counterpoint remains basically unknown to most Americans. This alternate story of the formation of our nation—and its character―is one in which courageous individuals and movements have wielded the weapons of nonviolence to resist policies and practices they considered to be unjust, unfair, and immoral.
We the Resistance gives curious citizens and current resisters unfiltered access to the hearts and minds―the rational and passionate voices―of their activist predecessors. Beginning with the pre-Revolutionary era and continuing through the present day, readers will directly encounter the voices of protesters sharing instructive stories about their methods (from sit-ins to tree-sitting) and opponents (from Puritans to Wall Street bankers), as well as inspirational stories about their failures (from slave petitions to the fight for the ERA) and successes (from enfranchisement for women to today's reform of police practices). Instruction and inspiration run throughout this captivating reader, generously illustrated with historic graphics and photographs of nonviolent protests throughout U.S. history. --From the publisher
This Is An Uprising : How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping The Twenty-First Century by Mark Engler and Paul Engler
There is a craft to uprising -- and this craft can change the world. From protests around climate change and immigrant rights, to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and #BlackLivesMatter, a new generation is unleashing strategic nonviolent action to shape public debate and force political change. When mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media consistently portrays them as being spontaneous and unpredictable. Yet, in this book, Mark and Paul Engler look at the hidden art behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.
With incisive insights from contemporary activists, as well as fresh revelations about the work of groundbreaking figures such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Sharp, and Frances Fox Piven, the Englers show how people with few resources and little conventional influence are engineering the upheavals that are reshaping contemporary politics.
Nonviolence is usually seen simply as a philosophy or moral code. This Is an Uprising shows how it can instead be deployed as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, we pass up the chance to truly understand how social transformation happens. --From the publisher
The Power Of Nonviolence : Writings By Advocates Of Peace introduction by Howard Zinn ; [authors, Howard Zinn ... et al.]
There is no easy way out of the spiraling morass of terror and brutality that confronts the world today. It is time now for the human race to hold still, to delve into its wells of collective wisdom, both ancient and modern.--Arundhati Roy
The Power of Nonviolence, the first anthology of alternatives to war with a historical perspective, with an introduction by Howard Zinn about September 11 and the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks, presents the most salient and persuasive arguments for peace in the last 2,500 years of human history. Arranged chronologically, covering the major conflagrations in the world, The Power of Nonviolence is a compelling step forward in the study of pacifism, a timely anthology that fills a void for people looking for responses to crisis that are not based on guns or bombs. Included are some of the most original thinkers about peace and nonviolence-Buddha, Scott Nearing, Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience," Jane Addams, William Penn on "the end of war," Dorothy Day's position on "Pacifism," Erich Fromm, and Rajendra Prasad. Supplementing these classic voices are more recent advocates of peace: Albert Camus' "Neither Victims Nor Executioners," A. J. Muste's impressive "Getting Rid of War," Martin Luther King's influential "Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam," and Arundhati Roy's "War Is Peace," plus many others. --From the publisher
French scholar Jacques Semelin has been working on the issues of violence and non-violent action for almost twenty years, and he’s found that most of the questions children ask about this subject deal with day-to-day life: If someone hassles me, what should I do? How do I deal with bullies at school? What if someone attacks me sexually? What about violent kids? Racism? Non-Violence Explained to My Children, following Semelin’s answers to his daughters’ nearly seventy questions, provides concrete responses to a myriad of conflict situations from an ethical and historical perspective. In a clear and accessible manner in conversational format, Semelin explains that non-violence is not passivity, but instead a way of being and a way of acting that seeks to resolve conflicts, fight injustice, and build lasting peace. He provides examples from the U.S. civil rights movement, Solidarity in Poland, and Tiananmen Square in China and the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi and others. Non-Violence Explained to My Children will be an invaluable aid to parents and adults who want to teach children to express themselves and deal with all types of conflict in a non-violent way. --From the publisher
The Nonviolence Handbook : A Guide For Practical Action by Michael N. Nagler
Love Is Stronger Than Hate ''Nonviolence is not the recourse of the weak but actually calls for an uncommon kind of strength; it is not a refraining from something but the engaging of a positive force,'' renowned peace activist Michael Nagler writes. Here he offers a step - by - step guide to creatively using nonviolence to confront any problem and to build change movements capable of restructuring the very bedrock of society. Nagler identifies some specific tactical mistakes made by unsuccessful nonviolent actions such as the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and the Occupy protests and includes stories of successful nonviolent resistance from around the world, including an example from Nazi Germany. And he shows that nonviolence is more than a tactic - it is a way of living that will enrich every area of our lives. --From the publisher
Nonviolence : Twenty-Five Lessons From The History Of A Dangerous Idea by Mark Kulansky ; foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power.
Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a “dangerous” idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a “just war”? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history?
Kurlansky draws from history twenty-five provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. He shows how, time and again, violence is used to suppress nonviolence and its practitioners–Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for example; that the stated deterrence value of standing national armies and huge weapons arsenals is, at best, negligible; and, encouragingly, that much of the hard work necessary to begin a movement to end war is already complete. It simply needs to be embraced and accelerated.
Engaging, scholarly, and brilliantly reasoned, Nonviolence is a work that compels readers to look at history in an entirely new way. This is not just a manifesto for our times but a trailblazing book whose time has come. -- From the publisher
How We Win : A Guide To Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning by George Lakey
In an era of massive worldwide protests for racial and economic justice, it is important to remember that marching is only one way to take to the streets. Protest must be supplemented with the sustained direct action campaigns that are crucial to winning major reforms.
Beginning as a trainer in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, George Lakey has spent decades helping direct action tactics flourish and succeed on the front lines of social change. Now, in this timely and down-to-earth guide, he passes the torch to a new generation of activists. Lakey looks to successful campaigns across the world to help us see what has worked, what hasn’t, and why: from choosing the right target to designing a creative campaign; from avoiding burnout within your group to building a movement of movements to achieve real progressive victories. Drawing on the experiences of a diverse set of ambitious change-makers, How We Win shows us the way to justice, peace, and a sustainable economy. This is what democracy looks like. --From the publisher