In Other News: Martin Luther King Jr.

3 min read

A look at a current news item through the lens of different titles available on GVRL.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

That the marches which fueled the Civil Rights Movement occurred 50 years ago is unbelievable. How can it be 50 years already… and how can it only have been 50 years? Present history will tell us that race relations in the United States are far from equal and the conversation rages on regarding fair treatment and assumptions.

With the release of ‘Selma’ in theaters, portraying the events on the 1695 march from Selma, AL., prior to the MLK holiday you might expect a boon for the film,  Which didn’t happen, and the discussions as to why are many.

Here are five four (see explanation here) titles that look at Martin Luther King Jr. from different perspectives:

Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Sociology. Wiley-Blackwell, 2014

At the end of last week, I read this article, lamenting the differences in how the media, and people in general, label groups of people assembling in public places. It resulting in a horrifying self-examination and guilt that I had not noticed this earlier, without prompting. When I attended (a mostly white, mid-western, state) college in the early 90s, and sofas were lit on fire and people fought in the street following a football win, it was called a riot. When did this change? What does the concept of “privilege” look like, and how does that change depending on which of the participants you’re speaking to? Take a deeper look with this new edition from Wiley-Blackwell.

Contemporary Black Biography. Gale, 2014.

Ask a group of people who the most influential black person in history has been, the answers will be as varied as the members of the crowd. This on-going series from Gale examines the people who played a part in history, within and outside of the United States and throughout history. A variety of people, including educators, military leaders, models, writers and more are featured, covering all aspects of life, indexed by event.

Civil Rights Movement, 1st Ed. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2013.

When in doubt, start at the beginning. Gain an understanding of the important players and events in this pivotal rise of the struggle for power among America’s black citizens after years of unequal treatment. Laws and life, songs and (television) screens, provide your students a great opportunity to look past the surface of issues with this great title.

The Encyclopedia of War Journalism, 2nd Ed. Grey House Publishing, 2011.

Ok, stick with me here. Pivotal to the Civil Rights Movement in the south was the engagement of white Americans. Consider the Vietnam War. For the first time, “regular Americans” were exposed to a level of war which was previously unavailable. Sights and sounds of the battle in Asia changed perceptions of what war was worth. After seeing the footage of combat and embattled soldiers, many of those Americans turned against the war. A similar, but opposite, thing happened with the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960’s, the divide between treatment of black Americans was extreme. (Don’t get me wrong, it was not “good” anywhere.) But being faced with horrific cruelty, (mainly white) people could no longer say they didn’t know what was going on. Take a look at how exposure of “truth” changes a political landscape in this title.




photoAbout the Author

Michelle is an “anytime!” traveler and language enthusiast. She has degrees in talking from Central Michigan and Michigan State University. She is currently becoming a runner and used to play golf in high school.



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