Reviews for Waking from the Dream : The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Booklist Reviews 2013 October #2
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 left the civil rights movement in search of a strong leader and lively debate about how his legacy would be remembered. Civil rights scholar Chappell chronicles the fits and starts of continued efforts at civil rights that are uncelebrated but nonetheless pushed forward King's agenda. Among those efforts are the campaign for a national holiday to honor King, fair housing legislation and the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment bill (though the original intentions of both were watered down), and Jesse Jackson's two presidential campaigns. Chappell details the contentious debates on nationalism versus integration and the value of a single leader versus institutional viability, which led to the short-lived National Black Political Convention and the more enduring Congressional Black Caucus. Chappell details the failed efforts as much as the successes, highlighting the valuable lessons learned as groups and individuals renewed their strategies and determination to move forward. Emphasizing the rarity of such history-changing acts as the civil rights legislation, he notes that the struggle for equality is incremental and eternal. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Choice Reviews 2014 July
Over the next two years, considerable attention will be paid to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and to Martin Luther King, the figure most closely associated with those laws. Chappell (Univ. of Oklahoma) reminds readers, however, that the movement for racial justice continued for 20 years after 1965 and involved persons and organizations that deserve as much attention as King. Covering 1968 through 1988, Chappell concentrates his story on the efforts of black activists to push beyond the defeat of legal segregation and disenfranchisement to challenge the two obstacles that proved far more difficult to overcome in the long run: desegregated housing and equal employment opportunities. Beginning with the National Black Political Convention held in 1972 and concentrating on the career of Jesse Jackson and the difficulty of replacing King as the face of the movement, profiling the fight for the Equal Opportunity and Full Employment Act of 1976, and examining Jackson's historic 1984 presidential run, Chappell demonstrates that community-based activism was far more important to the civil rights movement than King's rhetoric, inspiring though it was. Chappell reminds readers that much work remains. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Two-year Technical Program Students; Professionals/Practitioners. D. O. Cullen Collin College Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 November #1
Astute contemporary history of the civil rights movement in the years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Though many books have focused on the period from 1954 to 1968, bookended by Brown v. Board of Education and King's tragic death, there has been less emphasis on the period after 1968. Chappell (Modern American History/Univ. of Oklahoma; A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow, 2004) helps to provide a corrective by delivering what could be considered a series of linked essays covering a range of themes on the continuing fight for racial equality in the last four-plus decades. Beginning with the largely overlooked Civil Rights Act of 1968, or Fair Housing Act, which Congress enacted just a week after King's death, Chappell shows how for a few years the movement seemed unmoored and leaderless even as there were real efforts to continue the work of the so-called "Classical Phase" of the struggle. By the late 1970s and into the '80s, issues such as full employment and the establishment of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day took central stage. During this time period, former King confidant Jesse Jackson worked tirelessly to become the pre-eminent black leader in America. Chappell takes Jackson seriously as a historical figure, reminding readers that his two presidential campaigns in the '80s were more than just sideshows. This book will hopefully serve to push other historians to pick up where Chappell has left off. The author oddly leaves out any serious discussion of the American anti-apartheid movement against South Africa, and he overlooks significant developments in the history of Black Power and the Black Panther Party. Nonetheless, as a foray into still largely unexplored terrain, Chappell's book is vital. The movement did not die with King. Chappell effectively shows how the struggle continued even as the message seemed to fragment. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 March #1

Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, this revisionist work has a double-edged title. It examines not only the Civil Rights struggle but the struggle of many--activists, scholars, and more--to control King's legacy and image. Leading civil rights authority Chappell, who wrote the highly regarded A Stone of Hope, is set to make us think.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 November #2

"After King's death," University of Oklahoma historian Chappell (A Stone of Hope) asserts, "his survivors in the movement had some lasting achievements that deserve recognition," five of which he focuses on here: the Civil Rights Act of 1968; the National Black Political Conventions of 1972 and 1974; the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act of 1978; the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns. Chappell's assessment is mixed. For example, he asserts that the Civil Rights Act "had no memorably singular, decisive world-changing effect." In delineating the National Political Conventions, he concludes that the "quest for black political solidarity aground." Legislative achievements represent the more solid successes, and Jackson's candidacy, he concludes, "had been for better or for worse at the center of a decade of renewed advancement and momentum in civil rights." Chappell diligently studies the internal organizational machinations and the external press reportage; he pays welcome attention to Coretta Scott King's role in the "post-King era." In a rather dark conclusion, Chappell details Rev. King's "extramarital affairs and academic dishonesty." 16-page photo insert. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Jan.)

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