At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68

At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68

Taylor Branch

Language: English

Pages: 1056

ISBN: 0684857138

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


At Canaan's Edge concludes America in the King Years, a three-volume history that will endure as a masterpiece of storytelling on American race, violence, and democracy. Pulitzer Prize-winner and bestselling author Taylor Branch makes clear in this magisterial account of the civil rights movement that Martin Luther King, Jr., earned a place next to James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in the pantheon of American history.

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supper for Brown Chapel, arriving at 8:28 P.M. Monday evening, but he did not follow his usual practice of slipping into the pastor’s study before making an entrance to the mass meeting. James Bevel was exhorting a crowd of five hundred to be ready for a foot pilgrimage all the way to Montgomery, and King debated how and when to respond from the pulpit. Still undecided whether to embrace or deflect the call for such prolonged, vulnerable exposure on Alabama highways, he hesitated for six minutes

country sees it. Can there be no reformation?” He convened planters in Charleston, South Carolina, to resolve that masters could address slaves as brothers or sisters in Christ without endangering the temporal order, but the opposition gentry swiftly imported the eminent Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz, to deliver a withering counterattack. “The brain of the Negro,” Agassiz told the Charleston Literary and Philosophic Society in 1845, “is that of the imperfect brain of a 7 month’s infant in the

democracy’s institutional core. In Bond v. Floyd, the Supreme Court weighed the argument by Georgia that criticisms of the Vietnam War, rather than Julian Bond’s color per se, left the state representative-elect short on the sincere character required to take his oath of office. “We are not persuaded,” Chief Justice Warren wrote tartly, “by the state’s attempt to distinguish between an exclusion alleged to be on racial grounds and one alleged to violate the First Amendment.” A unanimous ruling on

of terror,” President Johnson declared on Thursday, July 27, announcing the bipartisan study commission to be headed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. Forty-three people were killed in downtown Detroit. Groping for perspective, a shell-shocked New York Times editorial observed that the cumulative toll from Newark and Detroit fell far beneath the Pentagon’s latest casualty report in Vietnam, which was the lowest weekly total for 1967: 164 Americans killed and 1,442 wounded. Selective panic hushed

march “through that narrow street” in Chicago as thousands of screaming people threw rocks even from the trees, when his police guards themselves ducked at once, the other from the commemorative march to the Neshoba County courthouse in Mississippi, when voices growled that the killers of the three young civil rights workers were standing close behind. “I just gave up,” said King, but his talk of surrender to death turned playful. “Well, it came time to pray,” he intoned, “and I sure did not want

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