Kennedy and King
- Author: Steven Levingston
- Title: Kennedy and King
- Published: 2017
- Kennedy and King traces the emergence of two of the 20th C ‘s greatest leaders
- their powerful impact on each other and
- …on the shape of the civil rights battle between 1960 and 1963.
- These two men from different worlds
- …profoundly influenced each other’s personal development.
- I read and listened to this book.
- The audio brought the story to life with the whisperered voices
- …of Jackie Kennedy and Coretta King
- …JFK’s Boston Kennedy accent
- …MLK’s booming preaching voice of King and
- ….Governor John Patterson of Alabama as the snarling white segregationist.
- His strong stand on race earned him the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan.
- This book also brought back memories of the 1960 – 1963 years.
- As a child still in grammar school….
- I was just realizing what was happening in politics in America.
- At the age of 10-11 yr …my understanding of the violence and
- …lack of civil rights in the southern states was nihil.
- This book shone light on the shadows in my memories that I had
- …kept after seeing the struggle for civil rights spread out in
- ...Life, Look, and Saturday Evening Post magazines.
- Steven Levingston’s Kennedy and King
- …is masterpiece of historical narrative.
- Every page sparkles with the storytelling of those turbulent years….
- …that I tried to remember.
- I would not be surprised if this book at got nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
- Perhaps…it could win!
- #MustRead….or #MustListen
Here are a few notes I made high-lighting some facts that I was unaware of.
The book begins with the usual backround information about Kennedy and King’s youth and early careers as senator of Massachusetts and Minister in Montgomery Alabama.
New: I remember the excitement around the 1960 election Kennedy vs Nixon. JFK’s face was on all the magazines flashing his famous Irish smile. What I did not realize at the time….
Kennedy between May 1955-October 1957 was secretly hospitalized 9 times (44 days) while he was launching his vice-presidential and presidential bids.
Kennedy was in pain (injuries to back, Addison’s Disease and many more aliments) for about half his life.
New: Kennedy did not know about the ‘real’ situation in the deep south even 8 months before the election in 1960. He had traveled all over Europe but had hardly set a foot in the ‘red states’ in the south.
Kennedy desperately wanted the backing of the prominent singer Harry Belafonte. The singer refused and told Kennedy that every hour he spent talking to him….he SHOULD BE talking to Martin Luther King.
New: the role of Harris Wofford in the civil rights movement.
Harris Wofford white lawyer who studied in India. He was an advocate of Ghandi’s approach to politics and protest.
He and King spent many hours discussing ways to adapt Ghandi’s tactics to civil rights demonstrations. This was a powerful new form of political persuasion. King believed that the art of politics involved the skilful dramatic use of symbolic acts.
New: I did not know that MLK visited India…so he could meet with people who had worked with Ghandi.
New: One of the most prominent female civil rights activist….and I never heard of her. I would love to read a biography about Diane Nash! May-December 1961 demonstration Freedom Riders who desecrated interstate travel.
Ch 64 – The Constitution was color-blind…(and in my opinion…still is)
Ch 69 – 1962 MLK wrote in The Nation Magazine: ‘The President proposed a 10-year plan to put a man on the moon, ..yet we do not have a plan to put a Negro in the State Legislature of Alabama!” (Ouch!)
Ch 71 – I never heard of the Cosmos Club! The Cosmos Club is a private social club in Washington D.C. It endures as a an institution for the upper crust. Its rolls have included three U.S. presidents, two vice presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 32 Nobel Prize winners and 56 Pulitzer Prize winners. Although the membership of more than 3,000 includes women and blacks, these are fairly recent developments in the club’s 132 years. The Cosmos Club didn’t end its male-only rule until 1988.