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Recent and Recommended Books about Dr. King and the Crusade for the Ballot Box

Protest at Selma: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
By David J. Garrow

A thorough and insightful account of the historic 1965 civil rights protest at Selma, Alabama, from the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “Bearing the Cross.” Vivid descriptions of violence and courageous acts fill David Garrow’s account of the momentous 1965 protest at Selma, Alabama, in which the author illuminates the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in organizing the demonstrations that led to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Beyond a mere narration of events, Garrow provides an in-depth look at the political strategy of King and of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He explains how King’s awareness of media coverage of the protests — especially reports of white violence against peaceful African American protesters — would elicit sympathy for the cause and lead to dramatic legislative change.

Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Laws that Changed America
By Nick Kotz

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nick Kotz offers the first thorough account of the complex working relationship between Lyndon Baines Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. Tracing both leaders’ paths, from Johnson’s ascension to the presidency in 1963 to King’s assassination in 1968, Kotz describes how they formed a wary alliance that would become instrumental in producing some of the most substantial civil rights legislation in American history: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Drawing on a wealth of newly available sources–Johnson’s taped telephone conversations, voluminous FBI wiretap logs, and secret communications between FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and the president — Kotz examines the forces that drew the charismatic men together and those that eventually drove them apart.

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?
By Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this important work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, we find King’s acute analysis of American race relations and the state of the movement after a decade of civil rights efforts. King lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. Today, as African American communities stand to lose more wealth than any other demographic during this economic crisis, King’s call for economic equality and sustainability is especially pertinent. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, asserting that humankind—for the first time—has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March
By Lynda Blackmon Lowery

A memoir of the Civil Rights Movement from one of its youngest heroes — now in paperback with an all-new discussion guide. As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed 11 times before her 15th birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King Jr. for the rights of African Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history. Straightforward and inspiring, this beautifully illustrated memoir brings readers into the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, complementing Common Core classroom learning and bringing history alive for young readers.

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