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TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

New biography examines Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from a fresh perspective

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Copies of Jonathan Eig’s book, “King: A Life”, are sold at “Reconstructing King: An Evening with Jonathan Eig”, September 19, 2023 (Thai Pham/Staff Photographer)

In the 55 years after his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been portrayed as a hero, a legend and a monument.

However, in his latest book “King: A Life,” Jonathan Eig revealed a different perspective—one that emphasizes Dr. King’s flaws, the complexities of his life and his humanity.

Eig’s account of King’s life is the first major biography of the slain civil rights leader in three decades.

“I really wanted to write a book that was more an intimate portrait where you could see all his flaws, where you could feel his pain, where you could understand his struggles,” Eig said during a forum Tuesday evening at TCU. “And I thought maybe [readers] would understand his courage more when that was the case.”

Jonathan Eig, a former senior writer for The Wall Street Journal and the author of “King: A Life,” speaks at TCU’s “Reconstructing King: An Evening with Jonathan Eig” on September 19, 2023. (Thai Pham/Staff Photographer)

Eig documented King’s infidelities in his marriage. King had several affairs, although he knew he was under surveillance of the FBI. 

Eig acknowledged that King plagiarized in some speeches and sermons, but he explained that King may have seen his actions in a different light. 

“He grew up in this culture in which you heard a great sermon and then you tried to deliver the same sermon the next week because that was seen as a compliment,” said Eig. “And he never tried to hide his plagiarism because I think he thought that was the way you learned.”

Eig spent six years researching and writing the book. He said he conducted more than 200 interviews, including with people who knew and observed King, and scoured archival materials.

He said Jesse Jackson, King’s protege, said King was likely clinically depressed. Friends suggested professional help and medication, but he declined out of fear that the FBI might discover his treatment.

“He had depression and he went through it for a long time,” Eig said. “He never overcame it, he struggled through it and he was hospitalized numerous times.”

“King: A Life” debuted at No. 7 on the New York Times Bestseller and was listed among Barack Obama’s summer 2023 reading list. 

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