A new book about the civil rights movement
In At Canaan’s Edge (Simon & Schuster, $35), Taylor Branch explores the evolution of the civil rights movement from 1965 to ’68 — the year of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Here are some choice tidbits from the 1,039-page tome.
· When former Nation of Islam activist Malcolm X was killed in 1965, The Washington Post called him ”the spokesman of bitter racism” and The New York Times said he’d led a ”pitifully wasted life.”
· In the summer of 1966, Marlon Brando spoke at a pro-civil rights concert in Mississippi, admitting ”I haven’t really participated in this movement, not in the way my conscience gnaws at me that I should.”
· In a poll one year after the Supreme Court struck down antimiscegenation laws in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, three-quarters of Americans opposed interracial marriage.
· During King’s final moments at Memphis’ Lorraine Motel, he requested that one of his favorite songs, ”Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” be played at his next speaking engagement. ”Play it real pretty,” he said.