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The Civil Rights Movement

On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous speech calling for an end to racism in America with the words we know well: “I have a dream.” Over 50 years later, we look back to remember Dr. King and his influence on the American Civil Rights Movement, as well as look ahead while still fighting to make his dream a reality. 

 

Looking Back...

The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement by Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch 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.

                       

   In a Single Garment of Destiny: A Global Vision of Justice by Martin Luther King Jr. and edited by Lewis V. Baldwin

 From the pages of this extraordinary collection, Dr. King emerges not only as an advocate for global human rights but also as a towering figure who collaborated with Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert J. Luthuli, Thich Nhat Hanh, and other national and international figures in addressing a multitude of issues we still struggle with today: from racism, poverty and war to religious bigotry and intolerance.

 

 Judgement Days: Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws That Changed America by Nick Kotz

Nick Kotz offers the first thorough account of the complex working relationship between Lyndon Baines Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. Tracing both leaders’ paths, from Johnson’s ascension to the presidency in 1963 to King’s assassination in 1968, Kotz describes how they formed a wary alliance that would become instrumental in producing some of the most substantial civil rights legislation in American history: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 

 The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory edited by Renee C. Romano and Leigh Raiford

The movement for civil rights in America peaked in the 1950s and 1960s; however, a closely related struggle, this time over the movement's legacy, has been heatedly engaged over the past two decades. How the civil rights movement is currently being remembered in American politics and culture—and why it matters—is the common theme of the 13 essays in this unprecedented collection.

 

 Waking From The Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King Jr. by David L. Chappell

In this arresting and groundbreaking account, David L. Chappell reveals that, far from coming to an abrupt end with King’s murder, the civil rights movement entered a new phase. It both grew and splintered. These were years when decisive, historic victories were no longer within reach—the movement’s achievements were instead hard-won, and their meanings unsettled.

 

 An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Todd S. Purdum

In a powerful narrative layered with revealing detail, Todd S. Purdum tells the story of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, recreating the legislative maneuvering and the larger-than-life characters who made its passage possible. From the Kennedy brothers to Lyndon Johnson, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen, Purdum shows how these all-too-human figures managed, in just over a year, to create a bill that prompted the longest filibuster in the history of the U.S. Senate yet was ultimately adopted with overwhelming bipartisan support.

 

 The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act by Clay Risen

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in American history. This critical turning point in American history has never been thoroughly explored in a full-length account. Now, New York Times editor and acclaimed author Clay Risen delivers the full story, in all its complexity and drama.

 

 Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales by Julian Cox, Rebekah Jacob and Monica Karales

"Controversy and Hope" commemorates the civil rights legacy of James Karales (1930-2002), a professional photojournalist who documented the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights with a dedication and vision that led the New York Times to deem his work "a pictorial anthem of the civil rights movement."

 

Looking ahead...

 Hate Thy Neighbor: Move-In Violence and the Persistence of Racial Segregation in American Housing by Jeannine Bell

Despite increasing racial tolerance and national diversity, neighborhood segregation remains a very real problem in cities across America. Scholars, government officials and the general public have long attempted to understand why segregation persists despite efforts to combat it, traditionally focusing on the issue of “white flight,” or the idea that white residents will move to other areas if their neighborhood becomes integrated.

 

 Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America by Beryl Satter

The "promised land" for thousands of Southern blacks, postwar Chicago quickly became the most segregated city in the North, the site of the nation’s worst ghettos and the target of Martin Luther King Jr.’s first campaign beyond the South. In this powerful book, Beryl Satter identifies the true causes of the city’s black slums and the ruin of urban neighborhoods throughout the country: not, as some have argued, black pathology, the culture of poverty or white flight, but a widespread and institutionalized system of legal and financial exploitation.

  The Past is Never Dead: The Trial of James Ford Seale and Mississippi's Struggle for Redemption by Harry N. MacLean

On May 2, 1964, Klansman James Ford Seale picked up two black hitchhikers and drowned both young men in the Mississippi River. Seale spent more than 40 years a free man, before finally facing trial in 2007. There could have been two defendants in the resulting case: James Ford Seale for kidnapping and murder, and the State of Mississippi for complicity—knowingly aiding, abetting and creating men like Seale.

 

 Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It by Lisa Bloom

This riveting courtroom drama shines a bright light on a case we only thought we knew. The only nonwhite juror tells her story of painful isolation in the jury room. Rachel Jeantel, the state's star witness, reveals how poorly the state prepared her to testify and what went through her mind on the stand. The medical examiner reveals scientific evidence he wasn’t allowed to present. And a new examination of Trayvon's school suspensions raises questions about racial profiling, all in a country divided over issues of race, gun laws and violence.

 

 Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed by Jason L. Riley

In "Please Stop Helping Us", Jason L. Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend. In theory these efforts are intended to help the poor—and poor minorities in particular. In practice they become massive barriers to moving forward.

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