Mar 24, 2022 - Sale 2598

Sale 2598 - Lot 182

Price Realized: $ 23,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000
(CIVIL RIGHTS.) Martin Luther King. Why We Can't Wait, inscribed warmly to famed civil rights lawyer Jack Greenberg. 4 leaves of photographs. xii, [2], 178 pages. 8vo, publisher's cloth-backed boards, minimal wear; minimal wear to contents, pencil marks on 7 pages; inscribed on front free endpaper by King. In original dust jacket with minor wear. New York: Harper & Row, [1964]

Additional Details

First edition of King's reflections on his 1963 Birmingham campaign, including the text of his "Letter from Birmingham Jail." He inscribed this copy "to my good friend Jack Greenberg, in appreciation for tremendous legal ability, your genuine humanitarian concern, and your unswerving devotion to the principles of freedom and justice, Martin."

Jack Greenberg (1924-2016) was the longtime head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which provided legal assistance to Dr. King on a regular basis, including on the Birmingham campaign. As King recounts in Why We Can't Wait, after Birmingham's school system had suspended more than a thousand demonstrators from their schools, on 22 May 1963, "we decided to take the issue into the courts and did so, through the auspices of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund. . . . The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals . . . strongly condemned the Board of Education for its action. . . . It was a jubilant moment, another victory in the titanic struggle. The following day, in an appropriate postscript, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled Eugene 'Bull' Connor and his fellow commissioners out of office, once and for all" (pages 115-116). Greenberg and the Legal Defense Fund represented King while he was in the Birmingham Jail and helped secure his release. A year after Why We Can't Wait was published, Greenberg and three Legal Defense Fund colleagues drafted the route for the famed march from Selma to Montgomery and filed the plan with the State of Alabama.

Provenance: consigned by Jack Greenberg's adopted son William Cole.