For this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, The New Yorker compiled various pieces on the man and his legacy in their Sunday Reading:
This week, Americans will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. In 1965, Renata Adler published a report in The New Yorker on King’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, writing about the participants’ experiences along the way and describing King’s calm and steady presence. At one point, King approached an old man with a cane and asked if he would join them. “I’ll walk one step anyway,” the old man said. “Because I know for every one step I’ll take you’ll take two.” This weekend, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces about King’s legacy and the significance of the upcoming holiday. In “The Hours Before ‘I Have a Dream,’ ” from 1963, Calvin Trillin joins the March on Washington and writes about the events leading up to King’s famous speech. In “When I Met Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who became one of the first black students to integrate the University of Georgia, in 1961, recounts how her meeting with the civil-rights leader that year inspired her. In “The Mission,” David Levering Lewis examines the complicated political alliance between King and President Lyndon Johnson. Finally, in “Martin Luther King Day with Trump,” Jelani Cobb explores how the holiday has taken on a new meaning in our current political climate. We hope that you find these pieces as fascinating—and inspiring—as we do.