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Researching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Researching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image source: Library of Congress

Along with other civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped lead a movement that changed America. Dr. King’s historic fight for equal rights continues to inspire and influence today–his words and actions are echoed in our ongoing fight for racial justice and equality. To explore more about Dr. King’s life and work, this post highlights just a small sampling of resources found in our collection and on the web about King’s life and legacy. We also provide tips for continuing your research.

Beginning Your Research

You can find far more resources by browsing our collections online – here are a few ways to get started:

  • Search the library catalog using the subject term: “King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.” You can also choose to limit your search to a particular campus library, or to e-resources only, by selecting a location in the “Library” dropdown menu (see screenshot below).
  • Another option is to use OneSearch, which will help you find a wider variety of types of content. Simply type “Martin Luther King” (or any other keywords relevant to you) into the single search bar. Once on the results page, use the filtering option on the lefthand side to refine your search (see screenshot below or watch a tutorial video).
  • Our African American Studies research guide is also a great place to find recommended resources including books, databases, and primary sources.
An example search of the library catalog using the subject term: “King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.” You can also choose to limit your search to a particular campus library, or to e-resources only, by selecting a location in the “Library” dropdown menu.
Once on the OneSearch results page, use the filtering option on the lefthand side to refine your search results.

Outside of the library’s offerings, we also recommend visiting these web resources:


Note: Some resources included below will require your Fordham AccessIT ID in order to gain access.

Print Books:

E-Books:

Videos:

  •  “Freedom is a Constant Struggle”
    Freely available on YouTube
    • On January 23, 2019 the University of New England hosted a lecture from world-renowned political activist, academic and author Angela Davis as part of its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.
  • “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” 
    Freely available on YouTube
    • The full audio recording of King’s final public speech in Memphis, TN, on April 3, 1968 – the day before he was assassinated. The transcript of this speech is available from the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.
  • “I Have a Dream”
    Freely available on YouTube
    • King’s most well-known speech, delivered at the March on Washington on August 28th, 1963, to an audience of over 250,000. The transcript of this speech is available from the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

Films:

  • I Am Not Your Negro: James Baldwin and Race in America
    Streaming via Kanopy
    • An examination of institutionalized racism in America, this 2016 documentary was inspired by James Baldwin and a book he never had the chance to write. Baldwin intended to write about his friendship with three civil rights leaders, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., and the connections between their assassinations.
  • Interview with Clayborne Carson, Part 1 of 4
    Streaming via Alexander Street Press
    • Clayborne Carson is the Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. Carson is also the author of multiple books about MLK.This 2017 interview is part of the American Experience: Freedom Riders series, which features civil rights activists who worked alongside MLK in the fight for racial equality.
  • 4 Little Girls
    Streaming via Swank Motion Pictures
    • This 1997 documentary by Spike Lee looks at the racially motivated 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which killed four black children in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 15th, 1963. The church was often used as a meeting place by MLK, who also attended their funerals. In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, King had previously stated that Birmingham was “probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States.”
  • King: Montgomery to Memphis
    Freely available via the Internet Archive
    • This 1978 documentary is composed of real archival footage that tells the story of MLK’s life and impact on the civil rights movement.

Need help finding the resources above or have other questions about using library resources? Contact us 24/7 through the Ask a Librarian chat service.

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