Nonfiction books need compelling beginnings. And on this day, January 15, there are many from which to choose. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, here are a few momentous moments in history. The books shown complement these moments. (Note: Try as I might, I could not get the sizing right, my apologies!)
On this day in 1810, American abolitionist and feminist Abigail Kelley Foster was born. Her 1850 quote from the Woman’s Rights Convention hangs in my office: “Sisters, bloody feet have worn smooth the path by which you come here!”
On this day in 1896, Matthew Brady, American photographer, died. Think of how different our knowledge of American history and the Civil War would have been without him. His work birthed the entire field of photojournalism.
On this day in 1777, my now-home state of Vermont declared its independence from Great Britain.
On this day in 1870, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party. It stuck.
On this day in 1997, Princess Diana called for an international ban on land mines.
And on this day in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born. I will not attempt to do justice to his life by summing it up so briefly here, but instead will leave you with this MLK quote, delivered upon his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
Personally, I cannot think of a better time to let those words ring in our ears, as we issue in a new political day in our great nation. Think of all the compelling beginnings yet to come.