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Sunday Reading: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Sunday Reading: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.


This week, Americans will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. In 1965, Renata Adler published a report in The New Yorker on King’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, writing about the participants’ experiences along the way and describing King’s calm and steady presence. At one point, King approached an old man with a cane and asked if he would join them. “I’ll walk one step anyway,” the old man said. “Because I know for every one step I’ll take you’ll take two.” This weekend, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces about King’s legacy and the significance of the upcoming holiday. In “The Hours Before ‘I Have a Dream,’ ” from 1963, Calvin Trillin joins the March on Washington and writes about the events leading up to King’s famous speech. In “When I Met Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who became one of the first black students to integrate the University of Georgia, in 1961, recounts how her meeting with the civil-rights leader that year inspired her. In “The Mission,” David Levering Lewis examines the complicated political alliance between King and President Lyndon Johnson. Finally, in “Martin Luther King Day with Trump,” Jelani Cobb explores how the holiday has taken on a new meaning in our current political climate. We hope that you find these pieces as fascinating—and inspiring—as we do.

—David Remnick


The Hours Before ‘I Have a Dream’ ”

A survey of the March on Washington, in the lead-up to Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s most famous speech.


The Selma March

On the trail to Montgomery.


When I Met Martin Luther King, Jr.

I will always remember that moment and what it taught me about Dr. King and one of his core values: humility.


The Mission

Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s final chapter.


Martin Luther King Day with Trump

The holiday will be presided over by a President who scarcely seems to comprehend King’s principles.



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