Today, in the U.S., we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.
In honor of the occasion, here’s a list of books and authors that inspired Dr. King–most of which can be downloaded for free. It’s not an exhaustive list, mind you (no books on Gandhi, for example). Nonetheless, the following are works he studied, returned to, learned from, and taught . . .
Civil Disobedience | Henry David Thoreau | “[Civil Disobedience was my] first intellectual contact with the theory of nonviolence and resistance.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Social Contract | Jean Jacques Rousseau
The Nature and Destiny of man | Reinhold Niebuhr | “Niebuhr helped me to recognize the complexity of man’s social involvement and the glowing reality of collective evil.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Bible | “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Republic | Plato
Nicomachean Ethics | Aristotle
The City of God | Augustine (“on the law of Heaven and Earth”)
Summa Theologica | Thomas Aquinas
The Prince | Niccolo Machiavelli
Leviathan | Thomas Hobbes (“Of the Natural Condition of Mankind”)
Treatises on Civil Government | John Locke
Critique of Practical Reason | Immanuel Kant
Principles of Morals and Legislation | Jeremy Bentham
Utilitarianism | John Stuart Mill
‘The Formative Influences of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,‘ Peace Magazine v17
Dr. King’s ‘Social Philosophy Seminar outline,’ The King Center