Pillar of Fire : America in the King Years 1963-65
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From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch, the second part of his epic trilogy on the American Civil Rights Movement.
In the second volume of his three-part history, a monumental trilogy that began with Parting the Waters, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Taylor Branch portrays the Civil Rights Movement at its zenith, recounting the climactic struggles as they commanded the national stage.
a conventional power struggle over spoils of succession. Only baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson tried to see in Malcolm the schisms of a newborn religion colliding with the intermingled love and war of the movement era. Disparaged by Malcolm as a tool of the white man, Robinson struck back at a vulnerable spot. “Whom do you think you are kidding, Malcolm, when you say that Negro leaders ought to be ‘thankful’ that you were not personally present in Birmingham or Mississippi?” Robinson asked in his
attacks, sometimes against his own sympathies. When the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins threatened to denounce COFO as infiltrated by the National Lawyers Guild, Lowenstein hurried to New York to pacify him with the traditional argument that defendants had a right to counsel of their choice, Communist or not. He delivered more speeches about Mississippi as a historic crucible of American democracy. “My roommates were positively awed, and they don’t awe easily,” wrote an admiring correspondent from Yale. At
plantation evicted the Hamers from their shack of the past eighteen years, not so much on his own account, he told the Hamers—he could understand why somebody might want to vote—but for the gossip her action instantly stirred against him among the neighbors. Hamer presented herself as a refugee at a registration meeting, never to return home. The hostile climate stifled any sympathy local whites felt for her, and clerks at the welfare office declined even to accept her application for emergency
officially”: Sharrieff telegram of Dec. 7, 1964, as printed in the Chicago Crusader of Dec. 12, 1964, and circulated to FBI HQ by Chicago LHM dated Dec. 15, 1964, FMX-NR. “That was Elijah”: Malcolm X speech of Feb. 15, 1965, in Perry, Last Speeches, p. 117. Louis X of Boston called Malcolm: MS, Dec. 4, 1964, cited in Perry, Malcolm, p. 332, and Clegg, An Original Man, p. 226. “Malcolm shall not escape”: Ibid. Also Goldman, Death and Life, p. 247. “Top Stories of ’64”: MS, Jan. 15, 1965, p.
quixotic campaign against the Franco dictatorship. In Washington, movement workers arrived by bus and caravan at Howard University for a Thanksgiving SNCC conference. Two U.S. representatives of Lowenstein’s acquaintance had agreed to sponsor a public forum on the political meaning of the Mississippi mock election earlier that month, but the assassination wiped out the planned agenda. To a crowd of onlookers and movement veterans, a nervous volunteer delivered his assigned press analysis of the