June 23, 2009 / 3:48 AM / 10 years ago

Martin Luther King books, sermons to be published again

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Out-of-print books and writings by Martin Luther King will be brought back onto the shelves from next year under a deal between a U.S. publisher and the African-American civil right leader’s family.

A man watches the "Recommitment March" to the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, April 4th, 2008, marking the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King there in 1968. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Beacon Press said it will print new editions of previously published King titles and compile his writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into new editions with introductions by scholars in a series called “The King Legacy.”

King, who pioneered efforts to deliver racial equality through civil disobedience and other non-violent means, was assassinated in April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, aged 39.

“His vision and his message are more essential than ever in a world where, despite great gains, the global aspects of the radical inequities Dr. King devoted his life to exposing and addressing are all too apparent,” said Helene Atwan, director of independent publisher Beacon Press, in a statement.

King’s youngest son, Dexter Scott King, representing the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s estate, said Boston-based Beacon Press would be the dedicated public outlet for his father’s work.

“(This) will help bring his urgently needed teachings of nonviolence and human dignity, and his dream of freedom and equality to a new global audience,” King said in a statement.

The first titles in the series will be published on the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States in January next year when he would have turned 80, with the Beacon Press planning on publishing two to three new works each year.

The first books to be republished after being unavailable since the 1990s will be:

* “Stride Toward Freedom,” about the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 that opposed racial segregation on the public transit system and that was first published in 1958.

* “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?,” King’s last book published in 1967 in which he analyzed the state of American race relations and the movement after a decade of U.S. civil rights struggles.

* “Trumpet of Conscience,” five lectures delivered by King in November and December 1967.

* “Strength of Love” a collection of his sermons delivered in the late 1950s and 1960s that was published in 1963.

Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy

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