Published in 1958, Stride Toward Freedom is the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott told by the man at the forefront of its occurrence and whose involvement increased not on its impact, but also its meaning for the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. was approached by publishers a year earlier with offers to transform the boycott into a narrative that capable of placing the boycott into historical context by writing about not just the event taking place during the boycott, but by revealing the perspective of systemic racism that directly led to the decision to enact the boycott.
Stride Toward Freedom also reveals that it took far more than those who took on the starring roles in the Montgomery Bus Boycott to bring about the kind of economic change capable of creating wholesale change in the more intangible arena of self-respect and self-esteem. As such, Stride Toward Freedom wind up becoming a narrative of a major moment—a true turning point—in the Civil Rights Movement. At least 50,000 people of color respected the providence of non-violence as the proper means of protesting the failure to accurately estimate the worth of a human being by a system representing the mindset of a major metropolitan area in the United States, nearly a century after slavery had finally been abolished.