LBJ and JFK

The story of 'Judgment Days' is a triumph and a tragedy.
2006This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Journalist Nick Kotz's riveting history recounts the dramatic events that finally moved the federal government to confront the deeply entrenched racism that had perennially marginalized African Americans (and not just in the South). His spotlight shines on King, the civil rights leader who pricked the national conscience, and Johnson, the president who got the legislation passed—civil rights (1964), voting rights (1965), and open housing (1968).

Kotz's story is at once a triumph and a tragedy. Triumphant, because in the wake of John F. Kennedy's assassination, Johnson's fanatical devotion to civil rights finally succeeded in achieving legislative victory, and because King's unwavering commitment to nonviolence held at bay forces that could easily have torn the country apart. Tragic, because the personal weaknesses of these two great leaders, their eventual falling out over Johnson's prosecution of the Vietnam War, the obstruction from powerful figures such as the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover, and the intransigence of the problem itself meant that legislative breakthroughs could not be converted into full-scale social renewal.

White evangelical Protestants should be sobered by how little they contributed to the momentous efforts of those fateful days, which righted many wrongs but left much racial evil still to be undone.



Related Elsewhere:

Judgment Days is available from Amazon.com and other book retailers.

Houghton Mifflin has more on the book, including an excerpt.

Christianity Today's previous coverage of Martin Luther King Jr. is available in our full coverage area.

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
More from this IssueRead This Issue
Read These Next
close