Kirk's book offers an up-to-date assessment of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, incorporating insights from the most recent scholarship. In doing so, he delivers a fresh perspective on the relationship between 'the man and the movement,' arguing that it is the interaction between national and local movement concerns that is essential to understanding King's leadership and black activism in the 1950s and 1960s. Kirk examines King's strengths and his limitations, and weighs the role that King played in the movement alongside the contributions of other civil rights organisations and leaders, and local civil rights activists.
Dr. John A. Kirk is senior lecturer in American history at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is author of Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1940-1970 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002), which won the J. G. Ragsdale book award. He has also published numerous articles and essays on the civil rights movement in the United States.