Biographies and Autobiographies
“I say to you today, even though we face the difficulties
of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream that is deeply
rotted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will
rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths
be self-evident, that all, men were created equal.’
Good morning/afternoon Mr Gladwin, ladies and gentlemen. Today I stand
before you as not only your sister in Christ but as one equal to your-
selves, created by God.
Incase my enthusiastic introduction has not made you aware, today; my
speech to you will be about a book that portrays the man, Martin Luther
King as a vibrant man of and a strong believer in peace and freedom.
During the preparation for the speech, I found my self reading four
different books on the life of Martin Luther King. Surprisingly, they were
all written very differently. Today I am going to focus on the first book I
read, ‘Free at Last.’
The Author of this book, Angela Bull, wrote this biography on the life of
Martin Luther King to allow an easy reading book for young children between
the ages of 8-12.
The incidents outlined throughout this book where the main and key events
in Martin Luther King’s life. Although this author did not go into depth
with the outlined events, she managed to say what it was she needed to say
and got her point across nicely and clearly written in a way that young yet
proficient readers could understand it.
Michael King was born on January 15th 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age
of five, Michael King was baptized by his father Martin Luther King snr and
was then afterwards given the name Martin Luther King II. As a child, it
was difficult for Martin to grow up in the white American society. Because
the whites saw them selves as superior to the Africans, Martin, although
his best friend was white, was not allowed to attend the same school as his
best friend. And even though his father was a well respected preacher, he
was still forced to take the worst seats of the buses. 70 years before
Martin birth, the black people, as they were known at that time, were
taken, or rather snatched from their peaceful villages and were chained and
‘packed’ below ship decks for the long voyage back to America were the
Africans were to work as slaves. They had no rights what so ever, and were
bought and sold as thought they were animals being sold at the markets.
The white Americans of the time were so racist that they would not have
black people swimming in the same pool as them, or even sitting in the same
train carriages. Signs displaying ‘Whites only’ kept the Africans from
entering shops, schools and even in some cases, churches…now that makes
you think, doesn’t it?
At the age of 15 yrs, Martin was an excellent speaker; he had a strong and
commanding yet gentle and soft way of speaking. He entered a public
speaking competition. It was here he presented his powerful speech about
the Negro and the constitution and won himself first prize. Proud of his
achievements, Martin flung himself on a bus and relaxed ready to return
home to present his parents with his prize. But on the way, the bus filled
up and seats became few. Martin remained in his seat refusing to get up for
any white man. When the bus driver saw that Martin remained in his seat, he
ordered him to get up to allow room for the white people. Martin stayed
strong, that was until his teacher ordered him up. In obedience, Martin
stood and was gently reminded by his teacher of the rule of the day. ‘White
before blacks.’ Martin was furious, it was, according to him, the angriest
he’d ever been in his life!
Martin Luther King’s career was always something that bothered him, he was
talented in many areas, especially that of athletics and public speaking.
Martin longed to help the black people of America and had a strong
Christian faith and so decided to follow his father’s footsteps and began
training to be a Baptist minister.
After studying Mahatma Gandhi throughout college, Martin new the only way
he could achieve freedom was through peace.
Martin met Coretta his wife to be in 1952 on a blind date organized by one
of his close friends, Mary Powell. The couple married in1953 and had four
The book is more or less written to suit the capabilities of younger
readers. It is written in more of a story telling format to allow easy
understanding and stuff. The large fonts also contribute to the easy
reading level of the book.
Free at last was written to provide younger readers with reach vocabulary
and challenging sentence structure. The book also provides additional
information and an alphabetical glossary to keep the reader understanding
what he r she is reading.
In writing this book, Angela Bull has not focused on a particular aspect of
Martin’s life but has simply made a brief account of the some of the events
that took place.
Because the book was written to suit children of about 8-12 yrs, the
setting and background of the book is simple and comprehensible. Angela
managed to portray the time of which Martin was living very well with
excellent use of pictures and other fragments information. Her pictures
also expose and reveal the brutal treatment the people were receiving and
the harshness and apprehension between the whites and the blacks.
Angela Bull writes this book in first person and uses this point of view to
allow the simplicity of the book once again to allow easy reading for the
Reading this book, along with the others read about Martin Luther King has
given me more insight into his life and ministry. ‘Free at last’ has
emphasised Martin’s relationship to God and its affect on his life’s work.
Although the book was well written for the proficient readers of the
younger age groups, I personally do believe that more background
information of Martin’s life and upbringing could have been included.
The reason I chose to do this book was because of it outstanding difference
in tone and style in comparison to the other three books I read
A wise black man once said, ‘When I was born, I was black, when I grew up,
I was black, when I was in the sun, I was black, when I got cold, I was
black, when grew ill, I was black, and when I died, I was black. But you,
when you were born, you were pink, when you grew up, you white, when you
stayed in the sun, you turned red, when you got cold, you went blue and
when you die, you turn grey….and you call me coloured!