The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement

The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement

Taylor Branch

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1451662467

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.”

Detroit: An American Autopsy

Law, Labor and Ideology in the Early American Republic

The Naked Heart: The Bourgeois Experience Victoria to Freud

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation


















deliver the next line of his prepared text, which, by contrast, opened its lamest and most pretentious section (“And so today, let us go back to our communities as members of the international association for the advancement of creative dissatisfaction”). Instead, extemporaneously, he urged them to return to their struggles (“Go back to Mississippi. Go back to Alabama . . .”), to believe that change would come “somehow” and that they could not “wallow in the valley of despair.” There was no

gas guns. Within half an hour, the Highway Patrol units impounded the tents and dragged from the cleared field a dozen unconscious stragglers. They revived a three-year-old boy from Toronto, Canada. Hysteria lingered in the haze. Observers called the violence “worse than Selma,” and Episcopal priest Robert Castle of New Jersey wondered out loud “if democracy in Mississippi and perhaps in the United States was dead.” Two friends held up Carmichael, who had collapsed and kept repeating

see Americans as strange liberators,” he said. His historical sketch grew relentlessly more intimate past the “tragic decision” of 1945 to revoke independence with a nine-year attempt to reestablish French colonial control. “Now they languish under our bombs,” said King, “and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, their real enemies.” He filtered out geopolitical labels to highlight personal realities on the ground. “They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their

Levison. “That’s too much to ask.” King, like James Lawson, said the movement was distorted by unstable myths in the press. For years, stories suggested that most American black people accepted nonviolence, when in fact only a tiny fraction practiced its severe leadership discipline. Then stories perceived a massive shift from the presumed weakness of “Negro nonviolence” to the projected virility of black power, although even tinier numbers accepted political violence. Still, King told Levison

Kennedy, while cultivating his essential Democratic base in the white “solid South,” did place a sympathetic phone call to King’s wife, Coretta. Political experts, including Nixon in defeat, later isolated Kennedy’s gesture as the cause of a razor-thin victory. The “miracle” phone call elevated King in national politics. He became the Negro whose name determined a president. In 1961, President Kennedy took office with a youthful pledge of leadership toward a “New Frontier.” After his disastrous

Download sample