Except for “Sparkling-eyed Child,” an introductory poem about Martin Luther King’s childhood, and “Rejoice the Legacy,” which celebrates the designation of Martin Luther King Day on January 15th, the book zooms in on events taking place between February 1 and April 16, 1968. Andrea Davis Pinkney begins with the death of city sanitation employees working in unsafe conditions, leading to a month-long strike in Memphis, Tennessee. As the strike drags on and loses momentum, a friend calls Dr. King to visit Memphis and inspire the peaceful protests of mostly black workers. His home-away-from-home was the Lorraine Motel, one of the few places where blacks were allowed to rent a room; and where he was ultimately assassinated. Pinkney sets the tone for the period with a running record of the unusually bad weather that spring. Her poems are filled with foreboding and peppered with prophetic King quotes. The text is complemented by the intensity of Brian Pinkney’s watercolor and ink illustrations. Notes and photographs of King’s last months on earth spell out the information alluded to in poems. The book concludes with a time line of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and, more specifically, the ten weeks covered in this book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI