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READING ON CIVIL RIGHTS

Here is a brief list of recent books about Martin Luther King, his influence, and the civil-rights movement he inspired.

PARTING THE WATERS: AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS, 1954-1963

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by Taylor Branch, Simon & Schuster, 1989

A monumental study, this book explains the civil-rights movement and Martin Luther King in the '50s and '60s.

AND THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

by Ralph David Abernathy, New York: Harper & Row, 1989

This is an insider's chronicle of the trials and troubles of a trumpeter for justice, but, for many, four pages of Dr. King's relations with women spoil the treat.

RACIAL MATTERS: THE FBI'S SECRET FILE ON BLACK AMERICA, 1960-1972

by Kenneth O'Reilly, New York: Free Press, 1989

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The title of this book aptly describes its purpose: to discuss the FBI's use of spying, intruding, and undermining from within to destroy black activist personalities from King to Malcolm X during the 1960s.

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EX-COLORED MAN

by James Weldon Johnson, New York: Vintage, 1989

Originally published in 1927, Johnson describes his experiences in traveling throughout America and into foreign lands. He depicts dramatically the lives of Negroes in a segregated Southern society, in the North, and in European countries.

FIGURES IN BLACK: WORD SIGNS AND THE `RACIAL' SELF

by Henry Louis Gates Jr., New York: Oxford University Press, 1988

To gain insight into styles, language, and words and signs that indicate the black ``racial'' self, read this book.

THIS IS MY CENTURY: NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS

by Margaret Walker, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989

A person who spans the decades, Walker gives a capsule of black thought and creativity during the 20th century.