Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the opening quote from the book.
The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Find a quote from page 56.
Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't
select their favorite, coolest, or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading. This is the book I'm reading right now---
Title: Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
January 15, 1929
Baby boy born,
Came into this "Jim Crow" world
brought daylight to
this unfair world,
this legal-to-cheat blacks world,
with God-given gifts:
that could see something special
in tomorrow's promise.
March 29, 1968
Dozens of guardsmen
have been beckoned
to keep at bay
who are hard-pressed
to lay down
of their dignity,
Still they march,
I AM A MAN.
Comments/Review: This beautifully illustrated poetry book is a requiem for Martin Luther King, Jr. The poems cover the Sanitation Workers Strike in Memphis, Tennessee in March and April 1968. This was the last strike/march that King participated in because his life was cut short by an assassin on April 4th as he was stepping out of the Lorraine Motel on his way to get some supper. In the days leading up to his death he seemed to have a premonition that his life-line was short. On April 3rd he made a speech to assembled striking sanitation workers and others. His words we so prescient:
"And I've looked over;
and I've seen the promised land.
"I may not get there with you,
"But I want you to know tonight,
as a people,
will get to the promised land.
"I'm not fearing any man,
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
Just days after his assassination, Coretta Scott King, Martin's grieving widow, finished what her husband had started and led the I AM A MAN march with the striking sanitation workers. By the next week the strike was settled and the men returned to work with better conditions and pay guaranteed to them.
Brian Pinkney illustrated the book with lovely watercolor paintings that give shape and color to the rainy weather, the mass of humans on strike, and the dignity of a people.
Andrea Davis Pinkney wrote the poems of a cherished leader's final days. They also speak of a time in history when African Americans faced a very uncertain future. She called her narrative form docu-poems. Many of them caught me unprepared and I found myself weeping over several of them.
The book contains a timeline of King's last month and a timeline of his life. It also contains photos taken of the sanitation strike, including one showing Coretta Scott King marching with them and her children just days after King's death.
I highly recommend this book. It looks like a children's book, but it is really an everybody book. In fact, I think the poems are really geared towards teens and adults.