What was Martin Luther King Jr. really like? In this ground breaking volume, Lewis V. Baldwin focuses on the man himself. Drawing on the testimonies of friends, family, and closest associates, this volume adds much-needed biographical background to the discussion, as Baldwin looks beyond all of the mythic, messianic, and iconic images to treat King in terms of his fundamental and vivid humanness. Special attention is devoted to King's personal insecurities and struggles, his humility and affinity to common people, his delight in pleasant and passionate conversation, his insatiable love for the precious but ordinary things of life, his robust appetite for artfully-prepared and delicious soul food, his enduring appreciation for music and dance, his cheerful and playful attitude and spirit, his abiding interest in games and sports,-and his amazing gift of wit, humor, and laughter. King emerges here as an ordinary human being who enjoyed and celebrated life to the fullest, but was never bigger than life. Here we see the personal qualities of King-as a real, fleshly human being-and also as a man shaped by his social and cultural experiences and locations.
Lewis V. Baldwin is emeritus professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. His works include, from Fortress Press, There is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1991); To Make the Wounded Whole: The Cultural Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1992); and Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (2010).