Martin Luther King, Jr., is widely celebrated as an American civil rights hero. Yet King's nonviolent opposition to racism, militarism, and economic injustice had deeper roots and more radical implications than is commonly appreciated, Thomas F. Jackson argues in this searching reinterpretation of King's public ministry. Between the 1940s and the 1960s, King was influenced by and in turn reshaped the political cultures of the black freedom movement and democratic left. His vision of unfettered human rights drew on the diverse tenets of the African American social gospel, socialism, left-New Deal liberalism, Gandhian philosophy, and Popular Front internationalism. King's early leadership reached beyond southern desegregation and voting rights. As the freedom movement of the 1950s and early 1960s confronted poverty and economic reprisals, King championed trade union rights, equal job opportunities, metropolitan integration, and full employment. When the civil rights and antipoverty policies of the Johnson administration failed to deliver on the movement's goals of economic freedom for all, King demanded that the federal government guarantee jobs, income, and local power for poor people. When the Vietnam war stalled domestic liberalism, King called on the nation to abandon imperialism and become a global force for multiracial democracy and economic justice. Drawing widely on published and unpublished archival sources, Jackson explains the contexts and meanings of King's increasingly open call for "a radical redistribution of political and economic power" in American cities, the nation, and the world. The mid-1960s ghetto uprisings were in fact revolts against unemployment, powerlessness, police violence, and institutionalized racism, King argued. His final dream, a Poor People's March on Washington, aimed to mobilize Americans across racial and class lines to reverse a national cycle of urban conflict, political backlash, and policy retrenchment. King's vision of economic democracy and international human rights remains a powerful inspiration for those committed to ending racism and poverty in our time.
Opposites in almost every way, mortally suspicious of each other at first, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr., were thrust together in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Both men sensed a historic opportunity and began a delicate dance of accommodation that moved them, and the entire nation, toward the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Drawing on a wealth of newly available sources -- Johnson's taped telephone conversations, voluminous FBI wiretap logs, previously secret communications between the FBI and the president -- Nick Kotz gives us a dramatic narrative, rich in dialogue, that presents this momentous period with thrilling immediacy. Judgment Days offers needed perspective on a presidency too often linked solely to the tragedy of Vietnam. We watch Johnson applying the arm-twisting tactics that made him a legend in the Senate, and we follow King as he keeps the pressure on in the South through protest and passive resistance. King's pragmatism and strategic leadership and Johnson's deeply held commitment to a just society shaped the character of their alliance. Kotz traces the inexorable convergence of their paths to an intense joint effort that made civil rights a legislative reality at last, despite FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's vicious whispering campaign to destroy King. Judgment Days also reveals how this spirit of teamwork disintegrated. The two leaders parted bitterly over King's opposition to the Vietnam War. In this first full account of the working relationship between Johnson and King, Kotz offers a detailed, surprising account that significantly enriches our understanding of both men and their time.
The essential moments of the Civil Rights Movement are set in historical context by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the magisterial America in the King Years trilogy--Parting the Waters; Pillar of Fire; and At Canaan's Edge. Taylor Branch, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning America in the King Years trilogy, presents selections from his monumental work that recount the essential moments of the Civil Rights Movement. A masterpiece of storytelling on race and democracy, violence and nonviolence, The King Years delivers riveting tales of everyday heroes whose stories inspire us still. Here is the full sweep of an era that transformed America and continues to offer crucial lessons for today's world. This vital primer amply fulfills Branch's dedication: "For students of freedom and teachers of history."
During a public career spanning only twelve years, Martin Luther King Jr. transformed the South-and the nation-and reinvigorated American democracy. From the pulpit and from jail, he inspired African Americans to rebel against white supremacy, nonviolently defying racism, bigotry, and brutality. He also sought a better way of life for all poor and powerless people, black and white alike. In this concise and readable biography, Adam Fairclough chronicles the major events of King's life and assesses his achievements as the preeminent leader of the civil rights movement. The biography begins with an examination of King's upbringing in Atlanta, Georgia, and a description of the conditions suffered by black southerners in the 1930s. After tracing King's intellectual growth through college, graduate school, and seminary, Fairclough then tracks his fortuitous involvement in the Montgomery bus boycott and his swift rise to prominence as a spokesman and leader. Subsequent chapters offer incisive accounts of King's major campaigns: the demonstrations in Albany, Georgia, where a wily police chief outwitted him; the militant protests in Birmingham, Alabama, where King transmuted police brutality into a historic victory for African Americans; and the campaign in Selma, Alabama, which paved the way for black political representation throughout the South. Fairclough also looks at other notable triumphs and struggles, from the inspirational "I Have a Dream" speech delivered at the March on Washington rally to King's ill-fated journey to Memphis to help striking sanitation workers. Throughout, Fairclough charts the major stages of King's philosophical and political growth, examining his opposition to the Vietnam War, his response to Black Power, and his growing concern for economic justice. Fairclough rounds out his portrait with an assessment of King's legacy to America and his continuing relevance to the struggle throughout the world for freedom and equality.
This book seeks to reframe our understanding of the lawyer's work by exploring how Martin Luther King, Jr built his advocacy on a coherent set of moral claims regarding the demands of love and justice in light of human nature. King never shirked from staking out challenging claims of moral truth, even while remaining open to working with those who rejected those truths. His example should inspire the legal profession as a reminder that truth-telling, even in a society that often appears morally balkanized, has the capacity to move hearts and minds. At the same time, his example should give the profession pause, for King's success would have been impossible without his substantive views about human nature and the ends of justice. This book is an effort to reframe our conception of morality's relevance to professionalism through the lens provided by the public and prophetic advocacy of Dr King.
More than two decades since his death, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s ideas?his call for racial equality, his faith in the ultimate triumph of justice, and his insistence on the power of nonviolent struggle to bring about a major transformation of American society?are as vital and timely as ever. The wealth of his writings, both published and unpublished, that constitute his intellectual legacy are now preserved in this authoritative, chronologically arranged, multi-volume edition. Faithfully reproducing the texts of his letters, speeches, sermons, student papers, and articles, this edition has no equal. Volume One contains many previously unpublished documents beginning with the letters King wrote to his mother and father during his childhood. We read firsthand his surprise and delight in his first encounter (during a trip to Connecticut) with the less segregated conditions in the North. Through his student essays and exams, we discover King's doubts about the religion of his father and we can trace his theological development. We learn of his longing for the emotional conversion experience that he witnessed others undergoing, and we follow his search to know God through study at theological seminaries. Throughout the first volume, we are treated to tantalizing hints of his mature rhetorical abilities, as in his 1945 letter to the Atlanta Constitution that spoke out against white racism. Each volume in this series contains an introductory essay that traces the biographical details of Dr. King's life during the period covered. Ample annotations accompany the documents. Each volume also contains a chronology of key events in his life and a "Calendar of Documents" that lists all important, extant documents authored by King or by others, including those that are not trnascribed in the document itself. The preparation of this edition is sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta with Stanford University and Emory University.