Parting the Waters : America in the King Years 1954-63
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In volume one of his America in the King Years, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a masterly account of the American civil rights movement.
Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American civil rights movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations.
Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War.
Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King's rise to greatness and illuminates the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, maneuvers, betrayals, and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder.
Epic in scope and impact, Branch's chronicle definitively captures one of the nation's most crucial passages.
colognes, European accessories, and brisk executive style, and Harrington with the weathered impish face of an Irishman who had been discussing socialism every night for ten years in the same New York bar, wearing blue jeans and a Dodgers baseball cap. Together, they briefed King about the past month’s infighting among the local civil rights activists. On Sunday, July 11, the day before the convention officially began, King, Randolph, and Wilkins led a march of about five thousand people—two or
them there. A very old Negro man waited helplessly for one of the two women volunteers to reply, but both of them also stood speechless with fear. Moses finally spoke up from behind. “They would like to try to register to vote,” he said. The registrar questioned Moses about his interest in the matter and then told them all to wait. While they did, curious officials came by for silent looks at the oddities who were making themselves the chief topic of the day’s conversation. The sheriff stopped
aides, Tom Watkins, and the President, despite frequent asides with his brother, could not catch up with the third-hand conversation. This gave Barnett an opening to suggest that Kennedy wait for the Barnett aide—“really an A-1 lawyer,” said the governor—to bring his unspecified idea personally to Washington. Kennedy agreed to have the Attorney General receive him, but asked what Barnett intended to do about the Tuesday deadline. “I want to think it over a few days,” Barnett replied. “Well, of
good,” King drawled. “We put him to rest.” George Thomas was one of a tiny minority of Negro students who lost interest in the Dialectical Society precisely because Jim Crow and other political matters were relegated to the joke period. With Douglas Moore, his only steadfast ally among the Negro graduate students, Thomas organized what they called “spiritual cell movements” to further the cause of world peace. They fasted together against the Korean War, denounced the atomic bomb at campus
after the founding luncheon. Handwritten misur notes of May 18, 1962, FL-NY-5-NR. forty-fifth birthday: Summers, Goddess, pp. 270f. Archbishop Makarios: Invitation to White House luncheon on June 5, 1962, and King’s response by Dora McDonald, A/KP14f4 and A/KP26f6; NYT, June 6, 1962, p. 1. crash near Paris: AC, June 3, 1962, p. 1 (Special Extra Edition), and June 4, 1962, p. 1. “Demand and get”: ADW, June 5, 1962, pp. 1, 2; NYT, June 5, 1962, p. 29. Smith promptly died: ADW, June 6, 1962, p.