Cover image for King : the photobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
King : the photobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Johnson, Charles, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking Studio, 2000.
Physical Description:
288 pages : illustrations ; 32 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.97.K5 J57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
E185.97.K5 J57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
E185.97.K5 J57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ
E185.97.K5 J57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Oversize
E185.97.K5 J57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
E185.97.K5 J57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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King is the first true photobiography of a hero's journey. Never before has his life been so richly chronicled from so many different points of view. A powerful collection of photographic images combined with text by National Book Awardwinning writer Charles Johnson detail the pivotal events of King's public life--as well as his family life--in a rich & stirring format. In this book, we see Martin Luther King, Jr., in all his aspects: as son & student, husband & father, powerful preacher & courageous leader of the civil rights movement, martyr for the cause of racial justice, & finally American icon. Photographer Bob Adelman & photo editor Robert Phelan have compiled an impressive & comprehensive array of images depicting this great man's life & times. We see King standing before a packed congregation at the Dexter Baptist Church during the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, or in his own backyard playing with his children. In one moment we observe King peering calmly through the bars of the Birmingham jail after one of his arrests; the next, strapping sandals on the feet of his young daughter. There is the tragic scene in Memphis seconds after his assassination, with anguished witnesses pointing in the direction of the gunshots, & the aftermath in Atlanta, a crush of mourners following his horse-drawn casket through the streets. And of course, the indelible image of King speaking the immortal words "I have a dream..." on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Through hundreds of photographs, we see a country being changed, an era & legacy being formed, but above all, we are given a privileged look at the man himself--at his most human & humanitarian.

Author Notes

Charles Johnson 's books include the National Book Award-winning novel Middle Passage , Dreamer , and Africans in America . He is currently the Pollock Professor of English at the University of Washington.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Martin Luther King was only 39 years old when he died, but, in his case, a short life can be a full and resonant one. The 32 years since his death have not decreased our interest in the public and private Dr. King, and such a photogenic figure as he proves a perfect subject for a "photobiography." This photo album leads us from Atlanta to Montgomery to Selma to Washington, D.C., tracking King's never-inactive life as he exercised his commitment to the cause by engaging in vigils, arrests, marches, speeches, and boycotts. But some personal quiet moments are also captured. More than 300 photographs appear, many never before published and some never before printed from the negatives. Textual accompaniment by distinguished writer Johnson gives informational grounding to the images; and as Johnson so philosophically states in his introduction, "Each and every photo on the pages that follow is a portal--a doorway--into a watershed life produced by America's ongoing, unfinished experiment in democracy." --Brad Hooper

Library Journal Review

This photobiography's sharp and usually sober black-and-white images, insightful introduction, and 18 essays reveal martyred civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68), from the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56 to his funeral in 1968. The National Book Award-winning Johnson (Middle Passage) supplies the thoughtful text, while veteran photojournalist Adelman (Down Home, Camden, Alabama) depicts Civil Rights struggles in a rural Black Belt town and supplies the single largest source of the approximately 200 pages of selected shots by leading U.S. photographers. The words and images together recall the gritty details of King's dangerous and often grim daily struggle for peace with justice. Virtually alone as a King photobiography, this striking volume puts a face on the man and the movement now blended with him. For photojournalism/history and Civil Rights collections.DThomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-An intimate portrait of the man, the myth, the persuasive preacher, influential civil-rights leader, caring father and husband, writer, and preeminent moral philosopher. Throughout the book, Johnson and Adelman's text and King's own words are combined with black-and-white photographs to illustrate how Dr. King helped transform an era and inspired a generation of young people to work for change. The more than 300 photographs come from the authors' personal files, AP archives, and Life magazine files. This photographic account of King's life is a major addition to the literature not only on the life of the leader but also on the history of the civil rights movement and civil strife in America. A welcome addition to any library.-ayo dayo, Chinn Park Regional Library, Prince William, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.