Roswell Reads
Roswell Reads
Roswell Reads Burial For A King
About usRoswell Reads Brochure
The BookThe AuthorEvents and Programs
Previous SelectionsBook Clubs
About UsRoswell Reads Brochure
The bookThe AuthorEvents and Programs
Previous SelectionsBook Clubs
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Mission Statement

Roswell Reads promotes the value of reading, literacy, and lifelong learning through the shared community-wide experience of reading and discussing a common book. Readers are able to collectively examine relevant issues, establish bonds, and forge a better understanding of their community and society.

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For information about Roswell Reads or to suggest a book or author for a future Roswell Reads selection, email us at

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City of Roswell
Friends of the Roswell Library
Friends of the East Roswell Library
Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
Roswell Rotary Club

The Book
Burial for a King

Burial For A King

By Rebecca Burns

In the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, riots broke out in 110 cities across the country. For five days, Atlanta braced for chaos while preparing to host King's funeral. An unlikely alliance of former student radicals, the middle-aged patrician mayor, the no-nonsense police chief, black ministers, white churchgoers, Atlanta's business leaders, King's grieving family members, and his stunned Southern Christian Leadership Conference colleagues worked to keep Atlanta safe, honor a murdered hero, and host the tens of thousands who came to pay tribute. On April 9, 1968, nearly 150,000 mourners took part in the largest funeral ever staged for a private U.S. citizen. The ceremonies took place against a national backdrop of war protests and presidential politics and in a still-segregationist South where Georgia's governor surrounded the state capitol with troops.

Burial for A King is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour account of this landmark week. It encapsulates King's legacy, America's shifting attitude toward race, and the emergence of Atlanta as a new kind of Southern city.

Burial for a King is available for checkout in print, ebook and audio book formats at the Roswell and East Roswell Libraries and on Overdrive through the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System website Books are for sale at the Friends of the Roswell Library Bookstore and will be on sale at the Literary Luncheon where the author will sign them.

The Author
Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Burns is a Georgia-based journalist, teacher and author whose work focuses on urban planning and development, civil and human rights and social and economic justice. She has written three books on Atlanta history: Rage in the Gate City, about the 1906 Atlanta race riots; Atlanta: Yesterday & Today, celebrating the city's extraordinary history that earned Atlanta its status as the capitol of the South; and the 2018 Roswell Reads book selection: Burial for a King, which chronicles the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination and his funeral in Atlanta.

After living in Atlanta for 25 years, Burns relocated to Athens, Georgia, where she is publisher of the independent student media organization, The Red & Black and teaches part-time at the University of Georgia.

In Atlanta, Burns served as editor-in-chief of Atlanta magazine from 2002-2009. Under her direction, the magazine received dozens of local, regional, and national awards for its journalism and design excellence. She then spent several years as director of digital strategy for Emmis Publishing, working with editors and publishers on websites, blogs, and mobile applications for the company's family of city and regional magazines, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Texas Monthly.

In 2011, she co-curated the Atlanta History Center exhibit "Atlanta Magazine, 1961-2011: 50 Years of the Changing City" and produced the accompanying digital media project, which won the 2012 national City and Regional Magazine Association award for excellence in multi-platform storytelling. In fall 2012, she returned to Atlanta magazine to serve as deputy editor and digital strategist, working on special projects such as the award-winning Groundbreakers community service awards.

She is working on another book, the working title is Second Burning of Atlanta: The Story of the Great Fire of 1917.

Roswell Reads Events

Calendar of Events

Children's Book Selection & Family Program
Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

By Paula Young Shelton and Raul Colon

In this Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year, Paula Young Shelton, daughter of civil rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child's unique perspective to an important chapter in America's history. Paula grew up in the Deep South, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle Martin (Martin Luther King), Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family--and thousands of others-in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. Poignant, moving, and hopeful, this is an intimate look at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.


About Us

Roswell Reads History

In 2005, Roswell Reads conceptualized as the brain-child of Roswell citizen, Ann Siebert, who expressed interest in starting a literacy program for the community. Originally named One City-One Read, the program was formed by a steering committee with members of the City's Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs and Friends of Roswell Libraries. That same year, members of the committee probed Roswell residents for assistance in picking Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam as the first ever Roswell Reads book.

Since its first year, Roswell Reads has committed to spreading its mission of promoting the value of reading, literacy, and lifelong learning through the shared community-wide experience of reading and discussing a common book. The program has consistently been recognized locally and nationally for its efforts and continues to bring nationally-known authors to Roswell to help fulfill its mission.

Roswell Reads takes place annually in February and March.

Roswell Reads Committee

  • Marilyn Baron
  • Kayron Bearden
  • Deanna Boe
  • Kathy Cioffi
  • Lisa Dossey
  • Andie Gambrel
  • Annelle Gerson
  • Nancy Gore, Chairman
  • Swalena Griffin
  • Simone Hanson
  • Beckie Hawkins
  • Vanya Hristova
  • Becky Lukovic
  • Julia Padgett
  • Marlena Salters
  • Deanna Smith, Co-Chairman
  • Linda Smither
  • Judy Stanton
  • Debbie Weiss

Roswell Reads Selections

Selecting the Roswell Reads Book

The Roswell Reads Steering Committee is made up of 15 members of the community from diverse backgrounds. Members must reside, work or volunteer in North Fulton and must be members of the Friends of the Roswell or East Roswell Library. Besides sharing a love of books, members bring skills in education, public relations, grant writing, and project management to the committee. Branch Managers of the Roswell and East Roswell Libraries and staff from the City of Roswell's Cultural Arts Department are also represented.

The Steering Committee meets at least monthly and is charged with selecting a book for the annual Literary Luncheon in March, where the author is invited to speak. Criteria for choosing the book include:

  • Southern Connection: The author or setting should have a connection to the Southeastern United States.
  • Subject: The subject of the book should be of interest to a broad range of people in the city and to people of various ages. It should stimulate discussion, raise community issues, and examine values.
  • Writing: The book should be well written with compelling issues, characters and themes.
  • Author: The author should be available to attend a Roswell Reads event at a price within the Roswell Reads budget. Explore new authors. Research author's speaking ability.
  • Availability: The book should be in print and readily available. (Ideally in paperback, electronic, audio and large type formats; affordable priced)
  • Length: Ideally, the book should range between 200-350 pages.
  • Diversity: A variety of authors, subjects and themes should be explored.
In addition to selecting the Roswell Read book of the year, the Steering Committee is also charged with planning and promoting the Literary Luncheon along with associated events. These may include a writing workshop conducted by the author; a family program with activities based on a children's book selection that reflects the theme of the Roswell Read book and community outreach to an organization that reflects the concerns addressed in the book selection.

Book Clubs

Roswell Reads encourages area book clubs to plan to leave a month open in their annual book club calendars (January, February or March) to read and discuss the Roswell Reads book selection. Volunteer organizers of the Literary Luncheon make every effort to seat book clubs members together when they register as part of their book club.

If you don't belong to a book club, but would like to discuss the book with a group, you are welcome to join Noonday Nosh at the Roswell Library.

Burial for a King - Book Club Discussion Questions

  1. If you remember the King funeral happening, how does the account you read in the book compare to your memories? What is the same? What's different?
  2. If you only saw the King funeral as a historic event (i.e. you were born after it happened) how does what you read in the book compare to what you saw in historic coverage of the event?
  3. In the aftermath of the King assassination, riots broke out in more than 100 cities around the country, but not in Atlanta. What do you think is the key reason Atlanta did not riot?
  4. The funeral brought together unlikely allies, including young African American activists and Atlanta's older white business leaders and politicians. Describe what you perceive as the motivation for each group in working together.
  5. Coretta Scott King managed a personal tragedy on an international stage. What detail(s) struck you about her handling of this unique situation?
  6. The book details the decisions behind some of the elements that have become iconic visuals of the King funeral, one of the most crucial being the use of the mule wagon to carry King's casket through Atlanta. Do you think public opinion — and historical legacy — would have changed if planners had instead gone with the original idea of using a more ornate carriage?
  7. The book is structured along a very linear timeline, jumping from place to place throughout each of the seven days in the main narrative. Did this format help you follow the action or would you have preferred chapters structured by theme or major personality rather than by day?
  8. How would the funeral have been different if it happened today in the era of social media?

Additional Resources