Children of the Movement: The Sons and Daughters of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, George Wallace, Andrew Young, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Bob Moses, James Chaney, Elaine Brown, and Others Reveal How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Transformed Their Families

Children of the Movement: The Sons and Daughters of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, George Wallace, Andrew Young, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Bob Moses, James Chaney, Elaine Brown, and Others Reveal How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Transformed Their Families

Children of the Movement: The Sons and Daughters of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, George Wallace, Andrew Young, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Bob Moses, James Chaney, Elaine Brown, and Others Reveal How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Transformed Their Families

Children of the Movement: The Sons and Daughters of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, George Wallace, Andrew Young, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Bob Moses, James Chaney, Elaine Brown, and Others Reveal How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Transformed Their Families

Synopsis

Profiling 24 of the adult children of the most recognisable figures in the civil rights movement, this book collects the intimate, moving stories of families who were pulled apart by the horrors of the struggle or brought together by their efforts to change America. The whole range of players is covered, from the children of leading figures like Martin Luther King Jr and martyrs like James Earl Chaney to segregationists like George Wallace and Black Panther leaders like Elaine Brown. The essays reveal that some children are more pessimistic than their parents, whose idealism they saw destroyed by the struggle, while others are still trying to change the world. Included are such inspiring stories as the daughter of a notoriously racist Southern governor who finds her calling as a teacher in an all-black inner-city school and the daughter of a famous martyr who unexpectedly meets her mother's killer. From the first activists killed by racist Southerners to the current global justice protestors carrying on the work of their parents, these profiles offer a look behind the public face of the triumphant civil rights movement and show the individual lives it changed in surprising ways.

Excerpt

Like most Americans I was conditioned to think about the civil rights movement in the past tense. the typical images that I saw from the movement—the black-and-white newsreels of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, police dogs attacking demonstrators, and protestors singing freedom songs—seemed to belong to another generation.

But one day I discovered that the drama of the movement wasn’t confined to the past. It was still unfolding in the lives of a group of people seldom mentioned in the history books—the children of the movement’s leading figures.

My discovery came during a phone call. I work as a journalist in Atlanta, the cradle of the civil rights movement, the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and still the home of many movement leaders. Over the years, I had covered innumerable civil rights commemorative events; it’s virtually a second industry in Atlanta. They all seemed to follow the same script: movement veterans being honored, speeches warning that the movement isn’t over, and everybody grabbing hands to sing “We Shall Overcome.” the events were supposed to be inspiring but they seemed prerecorded. I saw nothing of my generation in them. I heard nothing but platitudes about civil rights leaders. I started leaving the events early when the time came to sing. No one seemed to be saying anything new.

One afternoon I received a call from a publicist pitching a potential news story. During our conversation, she mentioned that she was the daughter of a famous civil rights leader. Expecting more platitudes, I asked her what her father was like. Instead I got pain. She gave me “Daddy Dearest” with a civil rights backdrop. At that moment I realized there was another way to look at these movement legends: through the eyes and lives of their children.

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