Martin's Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Martin's Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Martin's Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin's Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

by Clayborne Carson
     
 

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On August 28, 1963 hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flocked to the nation’s capital for the  March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It was Clayborne Carson’s first demonstration. A nineteen year old black student from a working-class family

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Overview

On August 28, 1963 hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flocked to the nation’s capital for the  March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It was Clayborne Carson’s first demonstration. A nineteen year old black student from a working-class family in New Mexico, Carson hitched a ride to Washington. Unsure how he would return home, he was nonetheless certain that he wanted to connect with the youthful protesters and community organizers who spearheaded the freedom struggle. Decades later, Coretta Scott King selected Dr. Carson—then a history professor at Stanford University-- to edit the papers of her late husband.

In this candid and engrossing memoir, he traces his evolution from political activist to activist scholar. He vividly recalls his involvement in the movement’s heyday and in the subsequent turbulent period when King’s visionary Dream became real for some and remained unfulfilled for others. He recounts his conversations with key African Americans of the past half century, including Black Power firebrand Stokely Carmichael and dedicated organizers such as Ella Baker and Bob Moses. His description of his long-term relationship with Coretta Scott King sheds new light on her crucial role in preserving and protecting her late husband’s legacy.

Written from the unique perspective of a renowned scholar, this highly readable account gives readers valuable new insights about the global significance of King’s inspiring ideas and his still unfolding legacy

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this hybrid memoir and historical account, Carson, editor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s papers, records his personal journey through the turbulent civil rights movement and his changing views on its legacy. Having grown up in a suburban, mostly white community in New Mexico, Carson is swept into a growing involvement with activist groups after traveling as a teenager to witness the landmark March on Washington, where King makes his “I Have a Dream” speech. Carson’s “wide-ranging curiosity” and passion for the movement lead him to a career as a historian studying the African-American story, and in particular the legacy of groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and leaders like Malcolm X. But once Carson has settled into a comfortable tenured position at Stanford, he gets a phone call that changes his life: King’s widow, Coretta, asks him to become the editor of King’s papers. Most of the book gets bogged down in exhaustive details about Carson’s administrative scuffles with King family members over their vision for King’s legacy and other, pettier, concerns. Still, Carson’s testament to the universal relevance of King’s ideas and the farsighted vision behind his emphasis on cooperation among people of all colors adds an insightful perspective on King’s mighty accomplishments. 8-p glossy b&w photo insert. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
The founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute (Stanford Univ.) reviews his own life, tells how he became involved with the publication of King's papers and charts the complicated choreography of his relationship with the King family. Carson, who has edited numerous titles related to King and 1960s civil unrest (The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., 1998, etc.), begins at the 1963 March on Washington when he witnessed King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The author ends with the 2011 opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, a project in which he was initially involved. In between these memorial moments are the stories of his own life--growing up in Los Alamos, moving to California, getting involved with student protests, meeting the woman he would marry, rising in academe--and of the day in 1985 when he received a call from Coretta Scott King asking if he would edit her late husband's papers. Some complicated negotiations ensued and essentially never stopped. His relationship with King's widow was complex, but with the son Dexter (and his siblings), it resembled something out of a very long Victorian novel. The relationships among the Kings were tricky, too--internecine even--and Carson treads softly on toes, even sort of siding with Dexter's contention that James Earl Ray was innocent. Carson proceeded to begin publishing King's papers and to get into print all sorts of other King-related collections. The author sometimes reveals a thin skin and cavils about his hurt feelings concerning things said or not said. A chapter about a Palestinian production of his play Passages of Martin Luther King features backstage spats and wounded egos. Compelling aspects of memoir and cultural history mixed with laments and self-defense.
Black Christian News

Drawing from his personal journals and records, Carson offers a personal and candid account of his evolution from political activist into a self-described 'activist scholar' in his new book Martin's Dream.
History News Network

[Carson] details his work on the vast number of King documents he and his colleagues have assembled, his complex interactions with the King family and others, and his evolving view of Dr. King -- from an African American civil rights leader to a farsighted visionary and revolutionary advocate for global peace, economic fairness and social justice. He also calls attention to the significant discoveries of the King Papers project that have received little public attention.
author of the bestselling The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander

A remarkably candid memoir. . . No matter how much you may think you know about the Civil Rights Movement, you will learn from Carson's journey and will likely be surprised by the many challenges he faced as he struggled to define and to preserve Dr. King's many contributions for posterity.
author of Behind the Dream Clarence Jones

Clayborne Carson's compelling memoir is full of meaningful insights. This book is a must-read!
author of Walk In My Shoes Andrew Young

Clay Carson's compelling personal story confirms Coretta King's wisdom in entrusting the Martin Luther King papers to his care. We owe Clay a tremendous debt of gratitude for bringing us a richer understanding of Martin King and the philosophy of creative non-violence to which he gave his life. We are still on a journey to Martin's 'Beloved Community' and we are fortunate Clay Carson has shared his own journey with us.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780230621695
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
01/08/2013
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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