King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop

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A Stunning Reappraisal of King and His Increased Relevance

Might Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatest accomplishments have been ahead of him? His murder in April 1968 did far more than cut tragically short the life of one of America’s most remarkable civil rights leaders. In this concise biography, Harvard Sitkoff presents a stunningly relevant King. The 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, King’s 1963 soul-stirring address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and the 1965 history-altering Selma march are all recounted. But these are not treated as predetermined high points in a life celebrated for its role in a civil rights struggle too many Americans have quickly relegated to the past. Carefully presented alongside King’s successes are his failures—as an organizer in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida; as a leader of ever more strident activists; as a husband. Together, high and low points are interwoven to capture King’s lifelong struggle, through disappointment and epiphany, with his own injunction: “Let us be Christian in all our actions.” By telling King’s life as one on the verge of reaching its fullest fulfillment, Sitkoff powerfully shows where King’s faith and activism were leading him—to a direct confrontation with a president over an immoral war and with an America blind to its complicity in economic injustice.
 

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Contents

1 Educating a Preacher King 192954
3
2 Baptism by Fire 195556
25
3 These Humble Children of God 195762
57
4 Confronting the Conscience of America 1963
89
5 Redemption and Crisis 1964
115
6 We Shall Overcome 1965
147
7 The Road to Jericho via Chicago 1966
175
8 Seeing Lazarus 196768
207
Bibliographical Essay
235
Acknowledgments
253
Index
255
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Harvard Sitkoff is a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire and the author or editor of more than eight books, including A New Deal for Blacks; The Struggle for Black Equality, 1945–1992 (H&W, 1993); and A History of Our Time.

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