reading for change: stride toward freedom.

It’s here, it’s here! You might remember this post on the first of the month, inviting you to read with intention in the month of February. Many of you, regardless of whether you joined in the books I read, have only been reading books by black authors in honor of Black History Month.

So, tell me: how has your experience been? 

What have you seen and learned, and how have you changed? 

How will you walk away from your reading endeavors of the past month a different person 28 days later?

If you’re a regular follower of the blog, this week will look different: because it’s all about the books, ’bout the books, ’bout the books, no treble… 

You picking up what I’m putting down?

Alexandre Dulaunoy

Today we’ll jump into Martin Luther King, Jr’s Stride Toward Freedomor any other “piece of history” books by black writers. I’m keeping it simple: if you have something to add to the discussion, leave a comment below. If you’re a blogger and you blogged about it, include a link to your blog. Enter into community by reading and responding to each other’s comments. Sound good?

And, the fun will continue this week, with Purple Hibiscus (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) on Tuesday,  Trouble I’ve Seen (Drew G. I. Hart) on Wednesday, and Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson) on Thursday. I look forward to reading your thoughts!

I’ve long wanted to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. Undoubtedly the namesake of the Civil Rights Movement, I’ve always known about the man, but I hadn’t given him justice and actually studied him. I hadn’t taken the time to learn from him.

This book was my opportunity to sit at his feet, and friends, sit at his feet I did. Stride Toward Freedom reads as more of a memoir than an autobiographical account, because the thread of psychological drama is woven throughout his recounting of the events surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Did you know that the local boycott, which started when Rosa Parks wouldn’t give up her seat on the bus, lasted for more than a year? Did you know that the MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association), which guided the campaign and elected King its president, organized carpools, held weekly meetings and rallied to register black voters? And did you know that white southern women were some of the biggest carpool drivers during the boycott …all because they couldn’t do without their black employees?

Mmm mmm mmm.

I could go on, but King’s words need no explanation. See for yourself:

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.” How have you seen this play out in your own life? How have you seen it play out between different groups of people?

“The tensions are not between the races , but between the forces of justice and injustice.” This is not a tension of black against white or vice versa, but this is a tension between justice and injustice. When I read a sentence like this, it makes that much more sense, wouldn’t you agree?

“Love must be our regulating idea.” Truth. How have you seen this play out in your life?

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love…Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.” What does this mean for the #blacklivesmatter movement today? What does it mean for our country’s future?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Harm to one is injury to all. So, what injustice do YOU see in your world today? How might you be called to action?

I know, I’m going all English teacher on y’all …but friends, King’s words were powerful, true and heart-palpitatingly necessary for me to read.
I trust they did the same for you.
So,  Stride Toward Freedomwhat did it mean to you? How did it, or another book like it, change you? Enter the conversation and leave a comment below – then, be sure to continue dialoguing with one another through the comments section! Also, if you wrote a blog post about it, be sure to leave it in your comment so we can check it out. See you tomorrow for the Purple Hibiscus discussion! 

6 thoughts on “reading for change: stride toward freedom.

  1. I read Purple Hibiscus several years ago and really liked it. Another good novel, Kindred, by Octavia Butler would fit your theme this month. I love the great ideas you’re giving me. Keep ’em coming!

    1. I’ll definitely add Kindred to my list. And definitely come back tomorrow and post your thoughts (if you remember them) about Purple Hibiscus! 🙂

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician.


  2. Wow. This one sounds powerful – need to add it to the list…! I’m so looking forward to this week and all the thoughts!! (Even though I’m totally behind – need to pick up Brown Girl Dreaming from the library…)

    1. Oh man. Brown Girl Dreaming is so good – and so quick. If you’re blogging about Purple Hibiscus tomorrow, will you send me the link today? I’ll then put it in the post …or just come back tomorrow and share your thoughts!

      Cara Meredith

      writer, speaker, musician.


  3. This week the “Salt.” collection of poetry by Nayyirah Waheed is FREE on Kindle over at Amazon. I follow her on IG so I’ve been reading her poetry over the month and it is gorgeous. Short. Wise. Incisive. I appreciate her voice.

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