At Canaan's Edge or There is No Tomorrow

There is god, she is wise and she is just – a warrior to the end. Just when I thought, it was going to be a bad year. New Year’s Eve . . . well, let’s just say, I’m glad its over. Taylor Branch you sonofabitch! God Bless you. While some wait for LOTR or MATRIX or whatever trilogy is fashionable. Those of us who are literate have been waiting for this piece of History for a long while. Those of us steeped in the oral tradition of Kingdom have been waiting for the last days - the final accounting of the last years of King’s life and the complicated mesh called the ‘civil rights movement.’ Because nobody understands that what New York is to the Atlantic – love you Adam; Chicago is to the South. In the end its all about heart.

As Jonathan Alter writes in News Week about:

At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68

For me, though, the central story of the last act of King's life takes place in Chicago. He lived there on and off for much of 1966, trying to take his movement of nonviolent civil disobedience to the next level. He failed. "It is in Chicago that the grapes of wrath are stored," King said as he launched what he called the "action phase" of his agenda. But the wrath at loose in American society derailed the civil-rights movement and left a generation politically adrift. Branch's research suggests that 1966 was the year the liberal dream began to disintegrate.

King's organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, came to Chicago at the suggestion of Al Raby, a teacher and community activist who had led demonstrations against the severely segregated school system. The SCLC saw Chicago as "the first significant Northern freedom movement" and the first focused on economic discrimination more than voting rights or public access: "This economic exploitation is crystallized in the SLUM... not unlike the exploitation of the Congo by Belgium." The movement to "end slums" and create an "open city" ran straight into middle-class Chicagoans, all-white trade unions and real-estate agents as racist as anything found in the South.