Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Clayborne Carson and Peter Holloran, eds.
(New York:Warner Books, 1998)

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., in an letter to his future wife Coretta, wrote, "let us continue to hope, work, and pray that in the future we will live to see a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brotherhood that transcends race or color. This is the gospel that I will preach to the world." Though best known for his civil rights activism, King's explosive preaching remains incredibly relevant in our world today. More than four decades later, his sermons still stand as a profound testament to his prophetic leadership of the struggle against racial and economic oppression.

The eleven sermons featured in this collection present a glimpse into King's evolving preaching career. King enters into the personal in his 1967 sermon "Why Jesus Called a Man a Fool," urges for faith in "Rediscovering Lost Values," and expounds on the church's role in the world in "Guidelines of a Constructive Church." Several of the sermons here are transcriptions of live performances of sermons King included in his book of sermons Strength to Love (1963), illustrating how King adapted a sermon's message to a particular time of the movement.

Also featured in this text are introductions from world-renowned religious leaders, who, reflecting on their own experiences, urge us to continue to listen to Dr. King's words in the twenty-first century. They include Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Reverend Dr. C. T. Vivian, Reverend Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Reverend Dr. Otis Miss, Jr., Bishop T. D. Jakes, Sr., Reverend Floyd H. Flake, Father Theodore Hesburgh, Reverend Billy Graham, Reverend Robert M. Franklin, Dr. Vincent Harding, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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