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Law Library News for January 14, 2002

Ann Hemmens, editor

Law Library News Archive


Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

Since 1986, the third Monday in January has marked the federal holiday celebrating the life and work of famed civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed federal legislation creating a national holiday (Act of Nov. 2, 1983, Pub.L.No. 98-144, 97 Stat. 917 (making the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. a legal public holiday, codified at 5 U.S.C. sec. 6103(a))). When signing the law, President Reagan commented "Dr. King had awakened something strong and true, a sense that true justice must be colorblind, and that among white and black Americans, as he put it, 'Their destiny is tied up with our destiny, and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom; we cannot walk alone.'" At the signing Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., also spoke:  "America is a more democratic nation, a more just nation, a more peaceful nation because Martin Luther King, Jr., became her preeminent nonviolent commander." (II Ronald Reagan, Pub. Papers, 1529, 1529-30 (1983)(President Reagan's signing statement of Nov. 2, 1983)).

Washington State approved the state school holiday in 1984 and New Hampshire became the last state to officially honor the holiday in 1999.

Born on January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, Martin Luther King Jr. fought segregation through the 1950s and 60s. He was shot and killed on April 4th, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray.

Materials Available in Gallagher Law Library

  • The Trial of Martin Luther King, by Alan F. Westin & Barry Mahoney (Crowell, 1974). KF224.K56W48 at Classified Stacks
    The story of the landmark Supreme Court case upholding Alabama's contempt conviction of Martin Luther King Jr. and others for violating an injunction against parading without a permit on April 12, 1963, Good Friday, in Birmingham, Alabama (Walker v. City of Birmingham, 388 U.S. 307 (1967)). The legal scholars analyzed legal documents and interviewed defendants, witnesses, and lawyers involved in the case.
  • Investigation of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Hearings Before the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, Second Session (U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1979). E185.97.K5A8 1979 at Classified Stacks
    A thirteen volume set containing the Hearings held Aug. 14-Dec. 1, 1978.


  • Martin Luther King Jr., The Seattle Times,, contains Seattle Times articles and photos concerning Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights issues. The site also contains:
    • audio excerpts from three speeches: "I have a dream" (1963), "Let freedom ring" (1963), and "Promised land" (1968)
    • dozens of photos of King and civil rights demonstrators participating in freedom marches and sit-ins throughout the country
    • civil rights movement timeline (e.g., in 1978 Seattle became "the largest city in the United States to desegregate its schools without a court order; nearly one-quarter of the school district's students are bused as part of the "Seattle Plan." Two months later, voters pass an anti-busing initiative. It is later ruled unconstitutional.")
    • collection of websites (in the Interactive Classroom section) to sites such as the King Center, the National Civil Rights Museum, and photos from the Life magazine tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service at the University of Washington,, a website providing details about the organized community volunteer activities for UW students, faculty, staff, and alumni to engage in on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday (Monday January 21, 2002). People across America will be participating in similar volunteer activities in recognition of the civil rights leader's commitment to service.

Book(s) of the Week

If you are looking for inspiration about different roles in the practice of law, you might enjoy these biographies and autobiographies of lawyers (all of which are located in the Classified Stacks):

  • A Season for Justice: The Life and Times of Civil Rights Lawyer Morris Dees, by Morris Dees with Steve Fiffer (Charles Scribner�s Sons, 1991. KF373.D43A3 1991
  • Ould Fields, New Corne: The Personal Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Lawyer, by Erwin N. Griswold (West Publishing, 1992). KF373.G745A3 1992
  • Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights, by Genna Rae McNeil (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983). KF373.H644M3 1983
  • William M. Kunstler: The Most Hated Lawyer in America, by David J. Langum (New York University Press, 1999). KF373.K8 L36 1999
  • Lawyer: A Life of Counsel and Controversy, by Arthur L. Liman with the assistance of Peter Israel (Public Affairs, 1998). KF373.L496A3 1998
  • Law and Justice in the Reagan Administration: The Memoirs of an Attorney General, by William French Smith (Hoover Institution Press, 1991). KF373.S59A37 1991
  • Rebels in Law: Voices in History of Black Women Lawyers, edited by J. Clay Smith Jr. (University of Michigan Press, 1998). KF299.A35R43 1998
  • Gerry Spence: Gunning for Justice, by Gerry Spence & Anthony Polk (Doubleday, 1982). KF373.S64A34 1982
  • A Question of Choice, by Sarah Weddington (Putnam�s, 1992). Q767 .W38 1992

For additional descriptions of selected books see the Book of the Week Archive.