PARTNERS TO HISTORY: Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and the Civil Rights Movement

Donzaleigh Abernathy . Crown $29.95 (256p) ISBN 0-609-60914-9

In this large-format book, the daughter of prominent civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy gives an insider's view of the civil rights movement, juxtaposing family remembrances with history and speeches by her father and his dear friend and close collabortor, Martin Luther King Jr. The effect is to intensify the sense of tragedy—family friends and allies, such as Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo and Robert Kennedy, are lovingly described, only to die brutally at the hands of a lynch mob, or in a church bombing, or as those three were, by gunshot. In fact, seen cumulatively here, in nearly 375 b&w candid and news photos, the high death toll of the civil rights movement becomes appallingly evident. The photographs, while unevenly captioned, are a marvel. On one page, the families are found smiling in the Abernathy living room, on the next Abernathy solemnly inspects his bombed house, and on the page after that, King Jr. steadies himself on a police station desk as a policeman twists one arm painfully behind his back. Perhaps the most unexpected images are lesser known photographs of segregation supporters—one shows two glamorous women holding placards reading: "Governor Faubus Save Our Christian America" and "Race Mixing is Communism." Painful and often devastating—but also joyous—this book records the hard road to incremental gain. (Oct. 21)

Reviewed on: 09/08/2003
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
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