On April 4, 1968, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, depriving the world of one of the greatest moral authorities of the twentieth century. He was thirty-nine. King had achieved so much at such a young age that it is hard to believe that he has been gone longer than the brief time he spent on this earth. He spoke out not only on segregation and racism against African Americans, but about many other issues of the day, from police brutality and labor strikes to the Vietnam War. Given the current state of the world, we would all benefit from hearing Martin's voice, if only he were alive today. . . .
If anyone would have insight into what Martin would say, it would be Clarence B. Jones, King's personal lawyer and one of his closest principal advisers and confidants. Jones—now seventy-seven, has chosen the occasion of this somber anniversary to break his silence—removing the mythic distance of forty years' time to reveal the flesh-and-blood man he knew as his friend, Martin. Jones ponders what the outspoken rights leader would say about the serious issues that bedevil contemporary America: Islamic terrorism and the war in Iraq, reparations for slavery, anti-Semitism, affirmative action, illegal immigration, and the vacuum of African American leadership. Delving deep into his memories of the man he worked closely beside, and with help from the King Institute at Stanford University and reams of formerly top-secret and now declassified FBI files, Jones offers the guidance and insight his friend and mentor would have provided for us in these troubled times.
Many Americans today know of Martin Luther King only from video clips and history books. As Jones so aptly reminds us, this legendary figure was also a warm human being full of life—and more relevant now than ever.
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Clarence B. Jones was recruited by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1960 and worked with him as his principal adviser. The father of five children, Jones lives in Palo Alto, California, where is a scholar in residence at the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.
Joel Engel is the author or coauthor of more than fifteen books. He is a former journalist for such publications as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Southern California.Review:
“What Would Martin Say? never flinches ...A service to King’s legacy, by lifting the layers of oversimplifying myth and legend to reveal a deeper, more complex man.” (Newsweek)
“Bold... The notion of acting as a medium for the departed King is provocative, but Jones is a smooth manager of feisty prose. What’s here is a sort of political parlor game and, like a good parlor game, it will make for lively conversation.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Jones seeks to ‘translate King for a modern audience.’ A gimmick? Absolutely not. The lengthy responses Jones fashions, each one based on his intimate knowledge of King’s vision, are well thought out and great material for discussion. ” (Booklist)
“Clarence B. Jones, Dr. Martin Luther King’s personal attorney and adviser, provides insight into what the slain civil rights leader would say about the state of today’s political affairs. Jones offers provocative views of how King would view racial and religious conflict, illegal immigration, and war.” (Ebony)
“Surprising; Provocative and Historically significant! Clarence Jones knew the inside of Dr. King’s life as his lawyer and confidante.” (Juan Williams, author of Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It)
“Compelling candor and an uncommon grace and dignity.” (Tavis Smiley, Author, Television and Radio Host)
“Clarence Jones is a living legend. His life and witness exemplify the vision of his close friend, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his unsettling words to us must be heard!” (Cornel West, Princeton University)
“With fervor, honesty and eloquence, Clarence Jones faithfully captures the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the modern day, reminding us that his ideals, his vision and dream are far from realized but that his timeless beliefs can still lead us there.” (Donna Brazile, Political Strategist and Commentator for CNN, ABC News and NPR's News and Notes)
“Keeping the memory of MLK alive is one of the most important missions of our history. Because of his personal relationship and knowledge of the subject, Clarence Jones has written a book every American should read.” (Roger Ailes, Chairman & CEO, FOX News Channel)
“One hot potato of a book; thoughtful, controversial, insightful and inciting...but be warned that it’s not one to breeze through in a night. What Would Martin Say? requires thought, reflection and time. Read it and ponder the words of a great man who knew the Great Man.” (Daily Journal/Messenger (Seneca, SC))
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