The history of the civil rights movement is littered with moral compromises, class conflicts, and power rivalries. That history has been told elsewhere, most famously in Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters, but it never made it into my elementary/middle/high school. If I knew about that history, I think I would have liked these men more. King’s capacity for mediocrity makes his capacity for greatness that much more interesting and that much more extraordinary.
“I’ve had a low-grade identity crisis much of my life. I used to be Angela Davis — the real Angela Davis, as far as I knew: blond, blue-eyed, shy, only inwardly radical. Until the day in the summer of 1970, when I was working as a cub reporter for my editor mother at a weekly newspaper and with a laugh she slapped onto my desk a photograph that had just come over the wire: Wanted: Angela Davis. A fierce black woman scowled up at me beneath an enormous Afro. A known communist. 5’8”, 145 lbs. Wanted as an accessory to murder committed by the Black Panthers. My identity and my name had been stolen.” On growing up with a strangely unfortunate name.
"It would be an endless task to trace the variety of meannesses, cares, and sorrows, into which women are plunged by the prevailing opinion that they were created rather to feel than reason, and that all the power they obtain, must be obtained by their charms and weakness."
— Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Today is International* Women’s Day, and in light of the recent happenings in American politics, this book deserves serious rereading. Women’s Rights are the same thing as Human Rights.
*Not National, as previously noted.