MAJOR PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF LEADING BLACK HISTORIAN LERONE BENNETT'S 1964 BIOGRAPHY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., WHAT MANNER OF MAN, INSCRIBED BY CORETTA SCOTT KING TO THE U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NORWAY, WHO WELCOMED THEM TO OSLO WHEN DR. KING RECEIVED THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
(KING, Coretta Scott) (TIBBETTS, Margaret) BENNETT, Lerone, Jr. What Manner of Man. A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Chicago: Johnson, 1964. Octavo, original gray cloth, original dust jacket. $1200.
First edition of "one of the first major biographies" of King, published only weeks before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, an especially memorable presentation/association copy inscribed by Coretta Scott King to American Ambassador Tibbetts, who welcomed them to Oslo and was present at King's acceptance speech, warmly inscribed by Mrs. King, "To Ambassador Tibbetts, With deep appreciation and warm personal regards—Coretta Scott King."
What Manner of Man, by preeminent black historian Lerone Bennett, Jr., was issued the same year Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This early authoritative work "captures the meaning of King's personality and faith. Bennett, a fellow graduate of Morehouse College and distinguished black historian and editor of Ebony, shares many details of King's childhood and intellectual development… presenting King as a man driven by ideals and willingness to sacrifice" (Magill, ed., 20th Century, 1974). Bennett, "a leading scholarly voice during the racial ferment of the 1960s… [was] working on the student newspaper when it published some of the early writings of another Morehouse student, Martin Luther King Jr. Bennett graduated in 1949, the year after King did," and began a distinguished career as editor, publisher and author of his best-known history, Before the Mayflower (1962) (New York Times).
In What Manner of Man, "one of the first major biographies" of King, Bennett draws on interviews with both King and Coretta Scott King, as well as trusted friends, members of SCLC, and many more (Washington Post). He vividly describes King's leadership in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his work with the Freedom Riders, his commitment "to a fight to the finish," and his electrifying I Have a Dream speech at the 1963 March on Washington, printed herein. Bennett prophetically concludes, four years before King's assassination that "an air of incipient martyrdom, of precariousness and fragility, hangs over him… King has taught us, all of us, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, not only how to die, but also, more importantly, how to live." First edition, first printing: with no statement of edition or printings on the copyright page. Containing Bennett's preface; introductory essay by Benjamin E. Mays of Morehouse College; double-page frontispiece and over 50 pages of photographic illustrations. With Ambassador Tibbetts' bookplate on the same page as Mrs. King's inscription. On December 8, shortly after President Lyndon Johnson appointed Tibbetts ambassador to Norway, she "greeted the party of Martin Luther King, Jr., as he arrived in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony… hosted a reception for Dr. King and Coretta Scott King… [and] witnessed King's Nobel acceptance speech" (DeRoche, in Maine History V.4: 262, 272). In 1971 Tibbetts, one of America's first women diplomats, "was awarded the Distinguished Honor Award, the highest decoration bestowed by the U.S. Department of State" (Sun Journal).
Book fine; light edge-wear to bright dust jacket; rear flap expertly reinforced on verso of seam.