[Ebook] ↠ Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, JR., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Author David J. Garrow – Thomashillier.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, JR., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

  1. says:

    Early morning, April 4th,Shot rings out in the Memphis sky,Free at last They took your life,They could not take your pride Bono, U2.I learned so many things from this book For example, that MLK was assassinated at 6 pm, so Bono got that wrong in his lyrics when he says early morning Then of course pride rhymes a bit with life , so it worked in the song, but other than that, i believe it would be a poor choice to summarize the spirit of Martin Luther King with the word pride Beari Early morning, April 4th,Shot rings out in the Memphis sky,Free at last They took your life,They could not take your pride Bono, U2.I learned so many things from this book For example, that MLK was assassinated at 6 pm, so Bono got that wrong in his lyrics when he says early morning Then of course pride rhymes a bit with life , so it worked in the song, but other than that, i believe it would be a poor choice to summarize the spirit of Martin Luther King with the word pride Bearing the cross is a long book 800 pages with 170 pages of footnotes It is, as the cover says, the most informative life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the most thorough study of the civil rights movement from the New York Review of Books Note that this comment does not express any literary quality, or, for that matter, any reason at all why you should read this book unless you need to do a research on MLK and you don t have access to Google.The writing is as dry as sand Most of the book can be described as a collection of data and facts, organized in chronological order, from Rosa Parks to MLK s death Many paragraphs begin with The following day , or Later that afternoon or even Twenty minutes later That s the level of detail Garrow took many years to put this book together, and he had access to an immense amount of hard copy information, from interviews to newspapers to copies of FBI wiretaps Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing In fact, the subject matter is so important and fascinating per se, that it still resounds and shines despite the flat, dry writing To be fair to the author, at some points he will concede a little dramatization, in the choice of a particular verb or in the semi emotional conclusion of a chapter Mind you, we are talking about 1% emotion and 99% cold delivery of facts But emotion and drama is precisely what Garrow wanted to avoid As he says at the end, by idolizing those whom we honor, we do a disservice both to them and to ourselves His goal seems to be the 360 degrees representation of MLK as a man, almost as a reaction to all the hype and drama that seems to engulf and cloud MLK s history.I can tell you that after reading this book I feel like I know MLK thoughts, feelings and motivations much, much better than what I did before And that is a good thing.I can tell you that this man s life should celebrated eventhan what it is today, for what it represents His weaknesses, his womanizing, his over eating and his vanity, are dwarfed by his achievements and by the historical weight of the civil rights movement MLK was not the only black movement s leader, he was not the smartest, he was not the first or most original But he became a symbol That he accepted to live as such an important symbol for the last 10 years of his life, while thinking of quitting almost every other day, is a remarkable thing One thing above everything else differentiated him and elevated his message to real majestic heights his relentless commitment to non violence Now, I felt the importance of MLK s religious faith was addressed but not properly highlighted by Garrow It s understandble, for when you collect an endless series of facts, you won t find much that says on that morning, he knelt down and prayed for 10 minutes , etc Unfortunately, Garrow touches on MLK s spiritual side only at the beginning, ignoring it almost completely for the rest of the book This is in line with the fact shoveling style of the book, but it pays little respect to MLK s most important relationship, the one he had with God Despite the author s lack of interest for the importance that King s spiritual life had for himself and the people around him, the author never forgets to mention that King, whatever he was doing, was always extremely tired , exhausted , almost every two pages It gets ridiculous after a while Oh, I certainly believe it to be true Not hard at all to believe To keep up with his schedule, he was taking some non specified pills Again, not surprising at all Every big political figure, today like in the past, is constantly using medicines and drugs to be able to keep going at that super human pace.But if you find the time to write that Dr King was exhausted all the time, had a slight bronchitis on that day, and a cough the other day, why don t you find any time to mention his constant, daily praying, or at least some comments on some religious sermons he held, that was farimportant stuff One time MLK goes on holiday and then he s back on the road for a series of speeches, and again every single thing Garrow describes must be preceded by despite his exhaustion, King did this and that Please give me a break MLK was a big boy, a 30 something man with the constitution of a bull who, just like thousands of businessmen, yesterday and today, had to fly around and work long hours Is that so out of the ordinary I was really baffled by this aspect of the book Perhaps writing the book became such an exhausting task for Garrow that he found the need to express his own feelings of exhaustion through MLK s life But i m overthinking here At any rate, I really enjoyed reading this book This is history at its most detailed, which means you are free to judge and jump to conclusions, but not to invent something that is not true, or to exaggerate things I found particularly grippong the part about the relationship with the FBI, and the conflict with J E Hoover, the Darth Vader of those years.MLK was a pastor He came from a priviledged background He was a very gifted and spiritual man, who was chosen by history to play a special, unique part Watching his speeches and interviews on youtube after having read this book is a particularly moving experience Despite being aware of his shortfalls and weaknesses, you are eveninspired and filled with admiration And what an orator In the words murmured by JFK immediately after the I have a dream speech in Washington He is damn good


  2. says:

    It s a bit difficult to know quite what to say about this book It won the Pulitzer prize, undoubtedly because it was a very well chronicled and researched exploration of one of the most influential men of the 20th century in America, Martin Luther King, and probably the first real look at the man in such a format On one hand, this book lives up to what it promises It is incredibly well documented and detailed, they had their research lined up perfectly And it is about a great man during diff It s a bit difficult to know quite what to say about this book It won the Pulitzer prize, undoubtedly because it was a very well chronicled and researched exploration of one of the most influential men of the 20th century in America, Martin Luther King, and probably the first real look at the man in such a format On one hand, this book lives up to what it promises It is incredibly well documented and detailed, they had their research lined up perfectly And it is about a great man during difficult times so it s hard not to find much of it enthralling Particularly in the beginning, you can almost feel a young MLK getting swept up in a cause much bigger than himself, and choosing to bear the cross he was given,with a hallowed resolve than great enthusiasm Indeed, the book makes clear that MLK saw his mission with a certain sense of fatalism of which he was willing to endure for God than something he planned or would have chosen for himself But that s just what reinforces his greatness Unlike many who have followed I won t name names, but your guesses are probably correct , he was not someone looking to make a name for himself or create an industry based around his person He was someone willing to be a name if it was necessary to achieve an end he knew to be right Yet the book stumbles somewhat, as it goes on, particularly toward the last quarter or so In a certain sense, it reflects reality MLK s life became one of drudgery in a sense, of one speech after the next, of one march after the next, and for a cause that, instead of becoming clearer, became onlymuddled after substantial victories While this might be accurate, it certainly became less fascinating toward the end Garrow might have been able to circumvent this if he d wanted to explain the larger context of what was happening and discuss what MLK s and the greater civil rights movements victories meant, but he stays focused on MLK Perhaps this is best for what he was trying to do None the less, I feel that while this might be the first and certainly an important take, there isto the story that could have been added I m interested in checking out Taylor Branch s take As for MLK himself, this is definitely a warts and all take It doesn t shy away from discussing his serial adultery, those few advisers around him who genuinely did have communist ties which the FBI used to justify their surveillance , his occasional self pitying moments, his seeming passiveness in resolving important problems within SCLC, and his occasional rhetorical lapses and misjudgments of character All of this is not to mention the actions of the past two or so years of his life, where he moved from being focused on atraditional civil rights agenda to a full on push for socialism although not communism , and his horrible misjudgment of Vietnam, or at least of the intentions of the Viet Cong and Ho Chi Minn For all but the far left, his ideas here seem quite clearly ill formed, at best a distraction and at worst a betrayal of some of the things he had stood for although he never gave in to full on anti Americanism the way much of the left did in the late 60 s Of course, some of his followers, even those close to him, saw it as the best in him All this is only to say that this isn t a book that chronicles a saint It chronicles a real man in history doing a difficult job during difficult times under difficult circumstances Very, very few emerge from these situations unscathed, and MLK is not an exception The book is stronger for it.It s very interesting to see the gradual development of black history that I ve unintentionally read about this past year reading Fredrick Douglass, Booker T Washington, WEB DuBois, as well as a book by Stephen Carter and now this It s fascinating and frustrating There are no easy answers, even still, to the remnants of America s original sin of slavery, which are with us to this day All I can say is that it s something I want to continue to learnabout


  3. says:

    A comprehensive biography of Martin Luther King Jr He is obviously the most significant figure in the latter half of American history in the 20th century Martin Luther King is the moral conscience of America bringing attention to its racism and its obsession with materialism King always stressed and believed in non violence He was ignored by the Eisenhower administration and persecuted by the Kennedy s.It was Robert Kennedy who authorized the wire taping of King s residence and hotel rooms A comprehensive biography of Martin Luther King Jr He is obviously the most significant figure in the latter half of American history in the 20th century Martin Luther King is the moral conscience of America bringing attention to its racism and its obsession with materialism King always stressed and believed in non violence He was ignored by the Eisenhower administration and persecuted by the Kennedy s.It was Robert Kennedy who authorized the wire taping of King s residence and hotel rooms One senses as the author suggests something very underhanded from Hoover, given the sexual escapades of the Kennedy s Hoover and his F.B.I come off as the most sinister force in America Instead of pursuing and investigating racist crimes in the South the bombings and the killings here they were devoting time, energy and money to listening to conversations of King with alleged communists They tried blackmailing him for his sexual indiscretions The F.B.I should have been criminally prosecuted for these activities To the credit of the Johnson administration they were not interested in the trivial information provided by the F.B.I.Mr Garrow paints a picture of a strained King, particularly in the later years Even though he succeeded in forcing through Civil Rights and Voter Legislation as law, King still experienced America as a deeply troubled society as racist and militaristic Violent riots were occurring in American cities starting every summer in 1965 The Vietnam War was escalating and getting out of control American troops were starting to be portrayed as pursuing an aimless war for a corrupt South Vietnamese regime King s ambiguities reflected the troubled climate of his country.This book is largely an examination of King the man He comes off as a deeply moral person with a backbone and principals Despite being warned to stop speaking to Stanley Levison and Bayard Rustin by the Kennedy s he kept soliciting their advice He needed and trusted these menthan the government and saw no reason to cease speaking to them In a sense he paid a price for this because it gave the F.B.Iammunition to increase its surveillance.This book examines well the relationship King had with those around him and points out the inter personal issues they had with each other Mr Garrow is very good at exploring all the different Civil Rights groups that sprang up during the 1950 s and 1960 s and their rivalries SCLC was King s group that originated with the Montgomery bus boycott Mr Garrow indicates that SCLC was fragmented in its approach to resolving problems it would abruptly move into and out of cities and ignore the local folks and the other Civil Rights groups NAACP, SNCC, CORE that had a stronger local base King was seen as a moral leader of what appears at times to be a rather diffuse team.Just a small note that in my paperback edition the text was very small so it made this detailed book appearso Because it examines King s life on an almost day by day basis it can be somewhat dry but the events themselves are always of great interest Despite the Epilogue summaries I do find King to be a most heroic person an individual who tried desperately to help and better his fellow man


  4. says:

    We went to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis in June 2015 It is located at the site of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 When you approach the museum, it looks eerily familiar There in front of you is the motel with its vintage sign and outdoor walkways and parking spaces filled with vintage cars People of a certain age might feel as if they had stepped back in time, right back into the famous photo of King s associates pointing to the location where the s We went to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis in June 2015 It is located at the site of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 When you approach the museum, it looks eerily familiar There in front of you is the motel with its vintage sign and outdoor walkways and parking spaces filled with vintage cars People of a certain age might feel as if they had stepped back in time, right back into the famous photo of King s associates pointing to the location where the shots originated There are two cars parked below MLK s room, and there in front of you is the outside walkway on which he died with a memorial wreath to mark spot And there it is, the 1960s all over again And just across the street also now a part of the museum is the building with the bathroom from which James Earl Ray shot MLK.I was 11 years old when MLK died, and I have not forgetten the moment in the evening when we heard he had been shot and killed About two months later, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in California after winning the presidential primary These two murders helped to define 1968 as a year of tragedy, a year that would end with the election of Richard Nixon, the result being a president who was determined to continue our involvement in the Vietnam War For me, this book helps to illuminate an important part of my past, a past I was too young to understand as it was taking place.This is a fairly long non fiction book about MLK and his organization the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from its inception up until King s death For me, history makes for a slow read But it was worthwhile, if only to make me realize how little I knew about King as a real person as opposed to the mythic figure who fought for justice and civil rights King turns out to have had the same reactions to his life that people under incredible stress and duress have He was frequently depressed, he was frequently exhausted, and some of his stress reducing solutions extra marital relationships, plus frequent overindulgence in sex and alcohol placed him in jeopardy from both internal and external forces King always felt that he had to be at least in the public eye an upstanding family man, and he felt guilty about the reality of being human, that is, being flawed and not always living up to his own standards I guess the biggest surprise for me was how radical especially given today s political climate King and some of his Civil Rights associates and rivals were People talked revolution and King, at least in private, embraced what he termed democratic socialism He was against the Vietnam War from the get go, although the politics of the time resulted in him soft pedaling the issue at times What made King stand out in his time was his consistent message of non violence and his commitment, despite an incredible personal toll, to the cause of bettering the lives of others That MLK was a great man, I always believed, but this book demonstrates how difficult the course of his greatness was, how much sacrifice it required of him and his family, and how extreme the cost, not just his death but the toll taken on his life The book relies heavily on FBI files, and provides some good info on the FBI s leaks and attempts to discredit King by publicizing his private life It also deals very bluntly with King s shortcomings, his loose approach to the staff of his organization, his sexist attitudes towards women, and how that translated into a long term struggle with his wife Coretta over her proper role There is a quote from Charles Willie at the end of the book that I found apropos By idolizing those whom we honor, we do a disservice to them and to ourselves By exalting the accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr, into a legendary tale that is annually told, we fail to recognize his humanity his personal and public struggles that are similar to yours and mine By idolizing those whom we honor, we fail to realize that we could go and do likewise The real King is farinteresting a person than the saintly King we may have imagined, and all thedeserving of our admiration for being human and having struggled with his humanity


  5. says:

    Very well researched and interesting as long as one is already invested in the civil rights struggle and the life of King the writing is dry as desert sand Glad the book focused heavily also on the overall civil rights struggle, especially as King s private life or philosophy are not described in great detail, or at least with particularly engaging writing Garrow reminds us about a thousand times that King was tired exhausted sick Still, worth a read.


  6. says:

    This book was S L O W It was an exhaustively detailed look at Martin Luther King, Jr s participation in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference It honestly read like a day planner.I don t know if it was my Kindle version s editing, but the chapters were very long and could have profited from better divisions between subjects, which sometimes seemed to switch mid paragraph, even Also the book ended when I was 64% into it, so don t read this book on your Kindle if that sort of thing bothe This book was S L O W It was an exhaustively detailed look at Martin Luther King, Jr s participation in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference It honestly read like a day planner.I don t know if it was my Kindle version s editing, but the chapters were very long and could have profited from better divisions between subjects, which sometimes seemed to switch mid paragraph, even Also the book ended when I was 64% into it, so don t read this book on your Kindle if that sort of thing bothers you.I enjoyed reading about the Montgomery boycott, the march in Selma, and most especially Dr King s extraordinary, Black preacher rhetoric It always lifts me up to his mountaintop when I read or hear it.As I always think of Bill Clinton, Great men have great flaws This is so very true of MLK, Jr s plagiarism in one of his books, his excessive eating and drinking towards the end of his life, and most especially his womanizing, especially disturbing to me after his marriage I deplore his misogyny, and am sure that greatly contributed to his marital disharmony Coretta wanted to be farinvolved in his non violence movement, but he always felt that a woman s place is in the home Hmpf.The author s scholarship is detailed and mind boggling I m sure that is why this book won a Pulitzer Prize I m glad I stuck with it, even though I won t give it over 3 stars


  7. says:

    Martin Luther King, Jr is one of the most fascinating human beings to have ever walked the face of the Earth For 12 years of his life, he stood in the spotlight of public attention as a leader of The Civil Rights Movement King, at first, was a reluctant leader, but at some point, he saw that the Movement was bigger than himself, that the whole Movement was destined to change society King saw his role in the Movement as not unlike his Call to preach King felt that God demanded his particip Martin Luther King, Jr is one of the most fascinating human beings to have ever walked the face of the Earth For 12 years of his life, he stood in the spotlight of public attention as a leader of The Civil Rights Movement King, at first, was a reluctant leader, but at some point, he saw that the Movement was bigger than himself, that the whole Movement was destined to change society King saw his role in the Movement as not unlike his Call to preach King felt that God demanded his participation in the Movement, and being the person that he was, King fundamentally understood that his DNA could not say no to God Thus, he answered the call to be active in the Movement affirmatively Though he was a reluctant participant, King saw his role as the Cross that he must bear, and this concept goes a long ways towards explaining how Garrow came up with his title This book is almost a day to day account of King s life from the time he became famous during the Montgomery Bus Boycott until his death The book is also an example of majesterial scholarship, with Garrow having well over 130 pages of notes, a sign that he was thorough in doing his homework There are many who will make the argument that this book is boring, that it is just a string of day to day events just strung together Anyone who says this is not taking the time to get at what is being stated within the book, for it is the kind of book that cannot be read in bulk, meaning that if a person tries reading this book 30 pages at a sitting, he will miss out on what it has to offer I read the book patiently, concentrating on just 2 pages at a time Sure it took me quite a while to read it, but the rewards I gained from reading it in this manner are beyond explanation I make the case that this book is the finest, most comprehensive, subtle and nuanced biography that has ever been written about M.L.K In sum, I am saying that one cannot find a finer account of King s life than this one Garrow is equal to his subject and has done a masterful job in putting this book together This is an excellent biography.King s life has many sides, with many interesting details A close personal friend of King named Professor Vincent Harding taught a college class on King, with a really interesting twist The story of what happened is detailed in the book Reality s Pen Reflections On Family, History Culture by Thomas D Rush on pages 48 and 194 in a piece called The Picture On The Wall At the current time, David J Garrow is researching an approved biography of President Barack Obama, which is said to have an expected release date sometime in 2016 Professor Garrow called author Thomas D Rush in March of 2014 to interview him regarding two private conversations Rush held with the President in January of 1989 while working as a Community Organizer Professor Garrow told Rush during that conversation that Rush s book is well written Rush s account of his meetings with President Obama appears on page 95 of Rush s book in a story called, You Never Know Who God Wants You To Meet


  8. says:

    This book focuses on MLK s idealogy and the practical actions he takes to implement those ideas, as the book progresses we witness his progression from a reluctant activist to a destined civil rights leader It starts with a fairly brief introduction of his chilldhood before devling into his formative years and most importantly what would become the basis of his beliefs, an intersection of his religious church based upbringing combined with a university education steeped in philosophical and the This book focuses on MLK s idealogy and the practical actions he takes to implement those ideas, as the book progresses we witness his progression from a reluctant activist to a destined civil rights leader It starts with a fairly brief introduction of his chilldhood before devling into his formative years and most importantly what would become the basis of his beliefs, an intersection of his religious church based upbringing combined with a university education steeped in philosophical and theoretical doctrines From early on there are hints of the internal battles he would go on to face as he attempted to combine his academic and spiritual background with the practical tasks he believed were destined upon him The author then chronologically delves into his first pastorship, his moment of enlightenment in his time of need during the Montgomery bus boycott and the birth of the SCLC The next 13 years or so are then covered in conjunction with the major events of the time and the specific projects the SCLC undertook from Selma to Chicago This book is literally about MLK and his relationship the SCLC, not the general civil rights movement, it often goes into acute detail on the strategies utilized by the organization but nevertheless always keeps reminds the reader of context in which these projects took place, it ends with his death, note it does not go into any detail or controversy over his death There is a huge amount of knowledge to be amassed from this book, it is not in anyway what I would call an introduction to MLK and the SCLC, buta very detailed summary of MLK and his relationship with the SCLC, the dynamics between SCLC and other activists and groups during that period the civil rights era, most notably SNCC, Bayard Rustin and Stanley Levinson It also attempts to give as intimate as possible an account of his family life and the impact his work had primarily on MLK himself but it does not completely neglect the impact it may have had on family life If ta genuine account , autobigoraphy style of his family life interserped with his work life or the other way round is what you re interested in, then I would expect there are other books the depict these aspects There are however numerous quotes and recollections from those closest to him In summary, I think its fairly simple, this is probably the best book out there about the life of MLK, if your are looking to learn specific subjects ie the SCLC , or review his speeches, there is surely better material available, if you want to learnabout the man, his commitment to non violence and the movement he was heavily involved in, at any depththan a high level overview, then this is an excellent book to read


  9. says:

    An unflinching look at the life of man who embraced his destiny and lead his people through very turbulent times during their fight for dignity and respect Garrow s work is very detailed and almost feels like a minute by minute account of the events of Martin Luther King Jr and the SCLC The book did a great job of pointing out not only his strengths and courage but also his flaws as a man susceptible to the failings of the flesh The epilogue points out that when we idolize our hero s we mak An unflinching look at the life of man who embraced his destiny and lead his people through very turbulent times during their fight for dignity and respect Garrow s work is very detailed and almost feels like a minute by minute account of the events of Martin Luther King Jr and the SCLC The book did a great job of pointing out not only his strengths and courage but also his flaws as a man susceptible to the failings of the flesh The epilogue points out that when we idolize our hero s we make their accomplishments seem super human and far beyond the abilities of mere mortals but Garrow definitely doesn t fall into the trap I also like the face that King s assassin only got 6 minutes at the end of the book to document his dark deed and Garrow didn t even defile his work with his name Leave that to other works that focus on that tragic act Garrow focuses on King s life and the accomplishments of the SCLC


  10. says:

    This is the most comprehensive, articulate book I have ever found about Martin Luther King, Jr., the SCLC, and the Civil Rights Movement Garrow does an amazing job detailing every aspect of the struggles of the Civil Right Movement Every meeting, every conversation, every thought during these troubled times can be found in this book You read about joys, trials, triumphs, and tragedies of Martin Luther King, Jr and beyond.It is astonishing how much I did not know about Martin Luther King, Jr This is the most comprehensive, articulate book I have ever found about Martin Luther King, Jr., the SCLC, and the Civil Rights Movement Garrow does an amazing job detailing every aspect of the struggles of the Civil Right Movement Every meeting, every conversation, every thought during these troubled times can be found in this book You read about joys, trials, triumphs, and tragedies of Martin Luther King, Jr and beyond.It is astonishing how much I did not know about Martin Luther King, Jr His story is so inspiring an incredible journey from pastor s boy to the most influential leader of the 20th century


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Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, JR., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Winner Of The Pulitzer Prize Based Onthan 700 Recorded Conversations, Including Interviews With All Of King S Closest Surviving Associates, This Is A Powerful Portrait Of King And The Movement For Which He Dedicated Himself.