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

At Canaan's Edge by Taylor Branch
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Jun 29, 10

bookshelves: history
Recommended for: U.S. Citizens
Read from June 10 to 28, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

This volume begins with the voting rights crusade, the violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the march to Montgomery. Martin Luther King wrote from jail that February 1965: "This is Selma, Alabama. There are more Negroes in jail with me than there are on the voting rolls."

Little did anyone know that this was going to be the apex and last significant event of the civil rights movement. The Movement was broken by two things: the rejection of nonviolence in the philosophy of Malcolm X along with the rise of the "black power" movement under Stokley Carmichael, and the Vietnam War and the resulting anti-war movement. Both drained personnel, energy, and dollars from MLK's Movement.

The day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour, reporting of the end of March and early April 1968 is painful to read and remember.

I came to read all three volumes of this history of the civil rights movement after reading "The Bridge" by David Remnick which is a biography of Barack Obama. John Lewis, the hero of Bloody Sunday, said on January 19, 2009, "Barack Obama is what comes at the end of that bridge in Selma." He was there, and continued for the next 44 years to be a part of progressive political action in the U. S. The Civil Rights Movement may not have directly led to Obama's Presidency, but certainly he would not have achieved it without that Movement.
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