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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Looking at King's last years

Taylor Branch completes series on civil rights leader

Two new resources enrich our observance of February as Black History Month. The distinguished author Taylor Branch published the third (and last) 1,000-page volume in his history of Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the civil rights movement, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 (Simon & Schuster, 2006).

A paperback edition is just released, too, and there also is an audio CD. (The previous volumes, Parting the Waters and Pillar of Fire, cover the periods 1954-63 and 1963-65.) All are widely available.

Canaan takes the full measure of King as a leader and as a man, complete with human frailties. It also shows that he faced opposition on all sides, including within the movement. Some colleagues thought even peaceful demonstrations were too provocative. Others argued that nonviolence was inadequate. The book makes clear just how much King had to overcome.


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