Taylor Branch's book, Parting the Waters - American in the King Years 1954-63, is a very helpful and balanced history of the cultural, political, religious, and racial issues that our country faced in the 50's and 60's.
It is a book that gives the reader a sense of the outrageous and frustrating fight against an entire system that was riddled with racism. I often had to put the book down because I couldn't read any more without being very upset. Parting the Waters will give the reader a better grasp of a dark moment in our history, and it helps one to understand the sensitivity that so many African Americans have regarding racial issues.
Here's the book's summary:
Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American civil rights movement, Parting the Waters, is destined to endure for generations. Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War.Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King's rise to greatness and illuminates the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, the maneuvers, betrayals, and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder.Epic in scope and impact, Branch's chronicle definitively captures on of the nation's most crucial passages
I commend this book to you and to your children to help us remember and learn from the past.