The Legal Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:  

Selected Resources


by Lyonette Louis-Jacques and Patricia Sayre McCoy


D'Angelo Law Library

"M.L.K.:  Living the Legacy": 

The University of  Chicago Martin Luther King, Jr. 2005 Commemoration

January 10-17, 2005



The Influence of Martin Luther King, Jr. : A Select Bibliography



Archer, Jules. They had a dream :  the civil rights struggle, from Frederick Douglass to Marcus Garvey to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. New York : Viking, 1993.

E185.96.A730 1993  Regenstein


Baldwin, Lewis V. The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. : the boundaries of law, politics, and religion. Notre Dame, Ind. : University of Notre Dame Press, 2002.

E185.97.K5L35 2002 D’Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


---. To make the wounded whole : the cultural legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 1992.

E185.97.K5B3530 1992 Regenstein


---. Toward the Beloved Community : Martin Luther King, Jr. and South Africa. Cleveland, Oh. : Pilgrim Press, 1995.


Bell, Derrick A. Race, racism, and American law. 5th ed. New York : Aspen Publishers, c2004.

XXKF4757.B352 2004 D'Angelo Law Library


Branch, Taylor. Parting the waters : America in the King years, 1954-1963. New York:  Simon and Schuster, 1988.

E185.61.B79140 1988 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


---. Pillar of fire : America in the King years, 1963-1965. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.

E185.61 .B7915 1998 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Carnahan, Douglas G. "Dr. King's legal legacy : his work reshaped the justice system." The Los Angeles Daily Journal. 108 (January 13, 1995) : no.9, p.6, col.3.


Chappell, David L. Inside agitators : white southerners in the Civil Rights Movement. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins Press, 1996.

E185.61.C543 1996 D’Angelo Law Library


---. A Stone of hope : Prophetic religion and the death of Jim Crow. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

E185.61.C5435 2004 D’Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Clark, Leroy D. “A tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. : a man of peace and wisdom.”  Widener Journal of Public Law. 2 (1993) : 431-446.


Cook, Anthony E.  "Beyond Critical Legal Studies : the reconstructive theology of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." Harvard Law Review. 103 (1990) : 985-1044.


---. "Critical Race Law and affirmative action : the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." Harvard Blackletter Journal. 8 (1991) : 61-97.


---.  "King and the Beloved Community : a communitarian defense of black reparations." George Washington Law Review. 68 (2000) : 959-1014.


---. The least of these : race, law, and religion in American culture. New York : Routledge, 1997.

BR115.P7C646 1997 D’Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


The dangers of domestic spying by federal law enforcement : a case study on FBI surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King. Washington, D.C. : Washington National Office, American Civil Liberties Union, 2002.


"Dr. Martin Luther King's life in proactive engagement : the lawyer as social activist in the community." (Symposium, Southeast/Southwest Teachers of Color Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, May 7-9, 1998) Alabama Law Review. 50 (1998) : 1-133.

(articles by Steven H. Hobbs, Helen Bishop Jenkins, Blake D. Morant, and Cheryl L. Wade)


Dudziak, Mary L. Cold War civil rights : race and the image of American democracy.  N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000.

E185.61.D85 2000 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Dyer, Edgar. "A 'Triumph of Justice' in Alabama : the 1960 perjury trial of

Martin Luther King Jr." Journal of African American History. 88 (2003) : 245-267.


Eyes on the Prize : America at the racial crossroads. PBS Home Video, 1992.

[VidCass]E185.61.E956 1992 D’Angelo Law Library, LawMic


Eyes on the Prize : America’s civil rights years. Alexandria, Vir. : PBS Video, 1986.

[VidCass]E185.61.E955 1986 D’Angelo Law Library, LawMic


Garrow, David J. Bearing the Cross : Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. New York : W. Morrow, 1986.

E185.97.K5G360 1986 Regenstein


---. The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. : From "Solo" to Memphis. New York : W.W. Norton, 1981.

E185.97.K5G370 1981 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


---.  Protest at Selma : Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press, 1978.

JK1929.A2G370 Regenstein


Greenberg, Jack. Crusaders in the courts : how a dedicated band of lawyers fought for the civil rights revolution. New York : Basic Books, 1994.

XXKF4757.G6990 1994 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein

(covers the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund's civil rights reform initiatives).


---. Crusaders in the courts : legal battles of the Civil Rights Movement. New York :  Twelve Tables Press, 2004.

XXKF4757.G6992 2004 D'Angelo Law Library


---. "Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Law". Congressional Record. 114 (1968) : 17109.

J11.R D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Haines, Andrew. “Why law schools should celebrate the contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” National Black Law Journal. 10 (1987) : 224-236.

KA1.B65 D'Angelo Law Library


Hampton, Henry and Steve Fayer with Sarah Flynn. Voices of freedom : an oral history of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s. New York : Bantam Books, 1990.

E185.61.H2240 1990 D'Angelo Law Library, Harper


Kennedy, Randall. “Martin Luther King’s Constitution : a legal history of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.” Yale Law Journal. 98 (1989) : 999-1067.


Klarman, Michael J. From Jim Crow to civil rights : the Supreme Court and the struggle for racial equality. New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.

XXKF4757.K58 2004 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Kotz, Nick. Judgment days : Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the laws that changed America.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.


Legacies of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Bernard Grofman, ed. Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 2000.

XXKF4757.L44 2000 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Lewis, Harold S., Jr. and Elizabeth J. Norman. Civil rights law and practice.  2d ed.  Hornbook series. St. Paul, Minn. : Thomson/West, 2004.

XXKF4749.L495 2004 D'Angelo Law Library, Reserve Reading Room


Luban, David. “Difference made legal : the Court and Dr. King.” Michigan Law Review.  87 (1989) : 2152-2224.


Oppenheimer, David Benjamin. "Kennedy, King, Shuttlesworth and Walker : the events leading to the introduction of the Civil Rights Act of 1964." University of San Francisco Law Review. 29 (1995) : 645-679.


---. "Martin Luther King, Walker v. City of Birmingham, and the Letter from Birmingham Jail." U. C. Davis Law Review.  26 (1993) : 791-851.

(includes the text of the "Letter from Birmingham Jail" at pages 835-851)


---. "Martin's march." ABA Journal. 80 (June 1994) : 54-57.


Peake, Thomas R. Keeping the dream alive : a history of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from King to the nineteen-eighties. New York : P. Lang, 1987.

E185.61.P40 1987 Regenstein


Perea, Juan F. and Richard Delgado, Angela P. Harris, and Stephanie M. Wildman. Race and races : cases and resources for a diverse America. St. Paul, Minn. : West, 2000.

XXKF4755.A7P47 2000 D'Angelo Law Library


Pillsbury, Samuel H. “Creating freedom : Birmingham, 1963, a legal sermon in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, January 15, 1999.” Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. 33 (2000) : 747-774.


Reflections of the dream : 1975-1994, twenty years of celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Clarence G. Williams, ed. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1996.

E185.97.K5R44 1996 Regenstein


Smith, Beverly McQueary. “Ethics, the legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and the movement toward environmental justice.” Environmental Law Journal. 1 (1994) : 1-14.


Sunstein, Cass R. "What the Civil Rights Movement Was and Wasn't (with Notes on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X)." University of Illinois Law Review. 1995 : 191-209.


“Symposium in Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Columbia Law Review. 68 (1968) : 1011-1048.

(articles by David L. Bazelon, Charles L. Black, Jr., Stanley H. Fuld, William T. Gossett, Earl Johnson, Jr., Louis Lusky, William D. Rogers, Albert J. Rosenthal, and J. Skelly Wright).


"Symposium : Thirtieth Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act." University of San Francisco Law Review.  29 (1995) : 631-740, 875-910.

(articles by Quang D. Nguyen, John Minor Wisdom, Roger K. Newman, David Benjamin Oppenheimer, Llewellyn E. Thompson, II, Mary C. Dunlap, Jack W. Londen, Pedro A. Noguera, Robert F. Drinan, and John A. Powell; also called "Thirty Years Later . . . Civil Rights in America : Dreams vs. Reality")


Turner, Ronald. "The Dangers of Misappropriation : Misusing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy to Prove the Colorblind Thesis." Michigan Journal of Race & Law. 2 (1996) : 101-130.


Weisbrot, Robert. Freedom bound : a history of America's Civil Rights Movement. New York : Norton, c1990.

E185.61.W3940 1990 Regenstein, Harper


Westin, Alan F. and Barry Mahoney. The trial of Martin Luther King. New York : Crowell, [1974].

KA653.Z9K38W3 D'Angelo Law Library

E185.97.K5W4 Regenstein, Harper


Whalen, Charles W. and Barbara Whalen. The longest debate : a legislative history of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Washington, D.C. : Seven Locks Press, 1985.

XXKF4756.A315A1680 1985 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Williams, Juan. Eyes on the prize : America's civil rights years, 1954-1965. New York, NY: Viking, 1987.

XXKF4757.W520 1987 D'Angelo Law Library, Regenstein


Other Books and Articles:


"A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." (Long Island University)


"The American Civil Rights Movement" (The British Library)



Library Catalog Subject Headings on Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement



King, Martin Luther, Jr.,1929-1968 (also specific subdivisions such as –Influence, --Political and social views, --Views on law, etc.)

African American civil rights workers.

African-Americans—Civil rights.

African Americans—Legal status, laws, etc.—United States.

Afro-Americans—Civil rights.

Birmingham (Ala.)—Race relations.

Civil rights movements—Alabama—Birmingham—History--20th century.

Civil rights movements—Alabama—Montgomery—History--20th century.

Civil rights movements—Alabama—Selma—History--20th century.

Civil rights movements—United States.

Civil rights workers—United States.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington, D.C., 1963.

Memphis (Tenn.) —Race relations.

Montgomery (Ala.)—Race relations.

Race discrimination—United States.

Race discrimination—Law and legislation—United States.

Racism—United States.

Segregation in transportation—Alabama—Montgomery (use for the Montgomery Bus Boycott)

Selma (Ala.)—Race relations.

United States.  Civil Rights Act of 1964.

United States—Race relations.



Primary Source Documents



Act of November 2, 1983, P.L. 98-144, 5 U.S.C. §6103(a)

"To amend title 5, United States Code, to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a legal public holiday."


(see "M.L.K.:  Living the Legacy"  The University of Chicago Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemoration (January 10-January 17, 2005), at <>, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Committee at <>, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service page at


The Civil Rights Act of 1964

July 2, 1964, P.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, 42 U.S.C. §2000a note


The Voting Rights Act of 1965

August 6, 1965, P.L. 89-110, 79 Stat. 437, 42 U.S.C. §1971, 1973 et seq.


Walker v. City of Birmingham, 388 U.S. 307 (1967)

(violation of temporary injunction to prevent Martin Luther King, Jr. and others from protesting in Birmingham)


"Letter from Birmingham Jail" (April 16, 1963; reproduced by Stanford University)

(Martin Luther King, Jr. responding to a letter from eight Alabama clergymen, "An Appeal for Law and Order and Common Sense," April 12, 1963, at


"Beyond Vietnam:  A Time to Break Silence" (April 4, 1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. speech)


"The Quest for Peace and Justice" (December 11, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture)


Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts:  Subject:  Martin Luther King, Jr. (FBI files)

(see also FBI security investigation of Stanley Levison, an advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. at <>)


Investigation of Recent Allegations Regarding the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, June 2000)


King Assassination Conspiracy Trial (CourtTV)






Birmingham Civil Rights Institute


Black Studies (City College of New York; includes civil rights links)


"Citizen King" (PBS' American Experience two-hour documentary film)


Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)


Civil Rights Documentation Project (University of Southern Mississippi)

(includes oral history transcripts and audio clips)


Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive


Civil Rights (Cornell University)


Civil Rights Movement Veterans


The Civil Rights Project (Harvard University)


Civil Rights Resources


Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)


Internet Resources:  "The Civil Rights Movement" (C&RL News, September 2004)


The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change


Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law


Leadership Conference on Civil Rights


Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project (Stanford)

(includes links to selected full texts of the multi-volume series, The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., at;

also biographical information, texts of documents, speeches, and audio clips, a "King Encyclopedia", an interactive timeline, chronologies of major events, classroom resources, etc.)


Multicultural/Civil Rights Links


NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.


National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP)


"Racial Justice" (American Civil Liberties Union)


Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)


Southern Poverty Law Center (Civil Rights Memorial Online)


U.S. Commission on Civil Rights


We Shall Overcome:  Historic Places of the Civil  Rights Movement