New York: Signet Books, . First edition thus. Inscribed by the author to his Signet Books publisher: "For Kurt Enoch in appreciation for all you have done to make possible the publication of 'Why We Can't Wait.' Martin Luther King Jr." A Fine copy of the book, complete with the four leaves of images bound in the middle. Many King signatures where done secretarially, this copy with a lovely inscription in the author's hand.
Building on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famed Letter from Birmingham Jail, Why We Can’t Wait promoted peaceful protest and civil disobedience as effective methods for change. It further addresses communities of both colors, pushing against the white majority’s stance that black activists should simply be patient and wait for gradual change to systemic economic, political, and social injustices within the U.S. “Perhaps it is easy for those of you who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your brothers and sisters at whim…when you see the vast majority of twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty, in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park…and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky…then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”
Provenance: From the library of Kurt Enoch, who founded the New American Library and subsequently its Signet and Penguin imprints, and who in the late 1940s invented the mass market paperback, bringing the work of many great authors to a vast and entirely new readership. Fine (Item #2042)
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