An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America

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9780060173623: An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America

The civil rights movement and the generations of men and woman who lived and died to redeem the soul of America changed this country and the world forever. An Easy Burden is a masterful first person account of the brave and the foolhardy, the weak and the strong, the blind and the visionary, who fought on both sides of that struggle.

Told through the words and experiences of Andrew Young, who stood at the side of Martin Luther King, Jr., through the most dramatic, tragic and triumphant moments of the movement, An Easy Burden is a glimpse at the inner workings of this movement as few have had the opportunity to know it. From his recollections of the boisterous after-hours sessions during which King and his staff planned their next move and joked about who might lose their lives along the way, to his memories of the combination of youthful optimism and an ageless belief in the inalienable rights that pushed these men and women to be larger than themselves, Young adds rare subtlety and depth to the now familiar events and images, personalizing the movement and those who worked for it.

Young traces the movement's evolution from the philosophy of accommodation and middle-class aspirations of his parents' generation to the nonviolent, direct-action approach of Martin Luther King. He also examines the complex relationship between King and the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, as the presidents struggled with their desire to do right versus their passion to win the South. Directly addressing the extent of the condoned FBI harassment of King and others, Young portrays in vivid terms the establishment's violent reaction to King's anti-Vietnam War stance. Finally, he reveals the horror of King's assassination, poignantly portraying the aftermath, when it seemed that King's dream could easily crumble, and Young came to his own decision that change needed to be made from the inside

More than history, An Easy Burden includes a visionary afterword that charts a course for America and its role in the world as a standard-bearer for freedom, peace and prosperity. A book of exceptional power, drama and immediacy, it offers those who lived through it, those who remember it and those who weren't yet born the true story of the civil rights movement, as only Andrew Young can tell it.

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Review:

This eyewitness account of the civil rights movement from Andrew Young, an early adviser and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr. who went on to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, among other things, carries the force of the best history as well as the passion of someone directly involved. Like many other civil rights leaders, Young began his career as a minister; that he rose to become respected leader and statesman is in itself testimony to the progress America has made in race relations. The book includes clear-eyed portraits of King and other prominent figures such as Ralph Abernathy.

From the Inside Flap:

A personal account of America's civil rights movement by a prominent insider.

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