Strength to Love, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s collection of sermons, boasts an unconventional origin story. Though King had pitched the book to an editor at Harper & Brothers in 1957, it wasn’t until he was forced to spend a fortnight in jail in 1962 that he had time to write. Stanford University’s King Online Encyclopedia explains that after being “arrested for holding a prayer vigil outside Albany City Hall,” he began drafting the sermons in his jail cell.
Harper & Brothers published the book the following year, but not before omitting many of King’s “anti-military and anti-war statements.” This coupled with King’s belief that “a sermon is not an essay to be read but a discourse to be heard” left him concerned for the book’s future. But over 50 years later, Strength to Love remains in print and continues to have a powerful impact on readers.
To celebrate MLK Day, we created a gallery of quotes from the book. Enjoy browsing the images, and click here to view a printer’s proof of the first edition.