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 passedcivil 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.
Judgment Days is available from Amazon.com and other book retailers.
Christianity Today's previous coverage of Martin Luther King Jr. is available in our full coverage area.1