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.
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Dyson (sociology, Georgetown Univ.; I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King Jr.) further evaluates the civil rights martyr and his legacy. His previous work on King focused on King's hijacked radical legacy. Here, in his 16th book, he mainly focuses on how King's vision continues to influence how blacks measure the promise and fulfillment of the Christian and civic equality that he preached. Dyson shows how King's bold and charismatic prophecy left a daunting model for any aspiring black leader to live up to. Examining Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama, Dyson probes the deep shadow in which these leaders operate as he reiterates the continued resonance of King's productive martyrdom and his call for transformative social justice and racial redemption. Thoughtful and provocative, this book brings to bear Dyson's characteristic challenge to both scholars and general readers to see black life in America as it is and to move forward to improve it-and America. Recommended for collections on black history or leadership, civil rights, social justice, or contemporary America.