April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death and How it Changed America

April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death and How it Changed America

by Michael Eric Dyson

Paperback

$17.50
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, October 24

Overview

On April 4, 1968, at 6:01 p.m., while he was standing on a balcony at a Memphis hotel, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and fatally wounded. Only hours earlier King ended his final speech with the words, “I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”

Acclaimed public intellectual and best-selling author Michael Eric Dyson examines how King fought, and faced, his own death, and how America can draw on his legacy in the twenty-first century. April 4, 1968 celebrates the leadership of Dr. King, and challenges America to renew its commitment to his vision.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465012862
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 01/05/2009
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 818,191
Product dimensions: 4.60(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including Holler If You Hear Me, Is Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C.

www.michaelericdyson.com

Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Moses: A Prophet's Death in Three Acts
(Act 1) Fighting Death     3
(Act 2) Talking Death     25
(Act 3) Facing Death     45
Promised Land, or Wilderness?
Report Card on Black America     79
The Black Family and Black Inequality     101
What Would Martin Do? Poverty, Prosperity, and the Performance of Blackness     119
Joshua: Charismatic Black Leadership in a Prophet's Shadow
A Messiah Measures Leadership     145
Heir Apparent     171
Last of a Dying Breed?     201
Black Kennedy     223
Afterword: Interview with Dr. King on His 80th Birthday     245
Acknowledgments     271
Bibliographical Notes     275
Index     283

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Christyscmh16 More than 1 year ago
Michael Eric Dyson is best-known for his words. An incredibly well-spoken man, this book presents a delicious word smorgasbord that - and even though I say this as an English major, unfortunately, even had me running for a dictionary several times. And head's up for any of you who also cringe at grammatical error - there are a few typo's in the book.

In any case, Dyson offers an interesting take on Martin Luther King's death and the impact that it had on America, both its positive and negative elements. Dyson comments on King's character, powerful oratory, a brief family history as well as the numerous causes he stood behind. He event hints at a possible government conspiracy as the cause of King's death stating several incidents where the president of the time refused to protect him or even warn King of impending danger at death threats being called in for him. In addition, Dyson concentrates on statistics - both from the late 60's when King was assassinated as well as today - to represent the changes that America has produced since King's death.

I was blown away at the chapter on Jesse Jackson, however, though confused on Dyson's standpoint in regards to it. Dyson informs the reader that directly following King's murder, he instructed others not to speak to the media. After telling all of them that he wasn't feeling well, Abernathy (one of King's right-hand men) spotted Jackson speaking with the media himself, in his desperate attempt to fill King's shoes, claiming that he was the very last person that King ever spoke to - a blatant lie, as Abernathy knew that King had spoken to another associate before taking his last breath. Dyson also draws attention to the blood on Jackson's shirt and that he was never on the balcony during the actual shooting, but rather directly after. Dyson suggests Jackson having dipped his hands in King's blood and wiping them on his shirt in a sort of biblical fashion as Christian's are to drink Christ's blood during communion in honor and remembrance. I was intrigued with all of this new information - and curious as to the authors thoughts, but he remains fluctuant on the subject and I felt ultimately unsatisfied with the chapter.

In keeping with the times, not only does Dyson reference Jackson, King's initial predecessor, he also has a chapter dedicated to Barack Obama, of whom he calls the "Black Kennedy." Not only does he mention the great feat the country has reached in having a black man for nominee, but he also focuses on the changes that Obama is promoting for his current political campaign and how he shares many of King's visions.

Finally, Dyson finishes up with an incredibly odd mock-interview with himself posing as Martin Luther King and answering questions regarding America today. While we, as a people, can certainly wonder what King would think of both our progress and backsliding over the years since he was alive, I have a hard time with thinking this "interview" to be anything but strange.

With all of the additional information and people who appear in this book, there were several times I had to remind myself that the focus of this book was on the death of Martin Luther King and the changes that it brought about. The reader can become easily lost in the extra's as Dyson ignites several tangents, straying from the main point of the book.

In retrospect, kind of scattered layout, but a pretty interesting read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Eric Dyson is best-known for his words. An incredibly well-spoken man, this book presents a delicious word smorgasbord that - and even though I say this as an English major, unfortunately, even had me running for a dictionary several times. And head's up for any of you who also cringe at grammatical error - there are a few typo's in the book. In any case, Dyson offers an interesting take on Martin Luther King's death and the impact that it had on America, both its positive and negative elements. Dyson comments on King's character, powerful oratory, a brief family history as well as the numerous causes he stood behind. He event hints at a possible government conspiracy as the cause of King's death stating several incidents where the president of the time refused to protect him or even warn King of impending danger at death threats being called in for him. In addition, Dyson concentrates on statistics - both from the late 60's when King was assassinated as well as today - to represent the changes that America has produced since King's death. I was blown away at the chapter on Jesse Jackson, however, though confused on Dyson's standpoint in regards to it. Dyson informs the reader that directly following King's murder, he instructed others not to speak to the media. After telling all of them that he wasn't feeling well, Abernathy (one of King's right-hand men) spotted Jackson speaking with the media himself, in his desperate attempt to fill King's shoes, claiming that he was the very last person that King ever spoke to - a blatant lie, as Abernathy knew that King had spoken to another associate before taking his last breath. Dyson also draws attention to the blood on Jackson's shirt and that he was never on the balcony during the actual shooting, but rather directly after. Dyson suggests Jackson having dipped his hands in King's blood and wiping them on his shirt in a sort of biblical fashion as Christian's are to drink Christ's blood during communion in honor and remembrance. I was intrigued with all of this new information - and curious as to the authors thoughts, but he remains fluctuant on the subject and I felt ultimately unsatisfied with the chapter. In keeping with the times, not only does Dyson reference Jackson, King's initial predecessor, he also has a chapter dedicated to Barack Obama, of whom he calls the 'Black Kennedy.' Not only does he mention the great feat the country has reached in having a black man for nominee, but he also focuses on the changes that Obama is promoting for his current political campaign and how he shares many of King's visions. Finally, Dyson finishes up with an incredibly odd mock-interview with himself posing as Martin Luther King and answering questions regarding America today. While we, as a people, can certainly wonder what King would think of both our progress and backsliding over the years since he was alive, I have a hard time with thinking this 'interview' to be anything but strange. With all of the additional information and people who appear in this book, there were several times I had to remind myself that the focus of this book was on the death of Martin Luther King and the changes that it brought about. The reader can become easily lost in the extra's as Dyson ignites several tangents, straying from the main point of the book. In retrospect, kind of scattered layout, but a pretty interesting read.