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You have to be prepared to die before you can begin to live : ten weeks in Birmingham that changed America  Cover Image Book Book

You have to be prepared to die before you can begin to live : ten weeks in Birmingham that changed America / Paul Kix.

Kix, Paul, (author.).


It’s one of the iconic photographs of American history: A Black teenager, a policeman and his lunging German Shepherd. Birmingham, Alabama, May of 1963. In May of 2020, as reporter Paul Kix stared at a different photo–-that of a Minneapolis police officer suffocating George Floyd–-he kept returning to the other photo taken half a century earlier, haunted by its echoes. What, Kix wondered, was the full legacy of the Birmingham photo? And of the campaign it stemmed from? In You Have To Be Prepared To Die Before You Can Begin To Live, Paul Kix takes the reader behind the scenes as he tells the story of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s pivotal 10 week campaign in 1963 to end segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time, he also provides a window into the minds of the four extraordinary men who led the campaign-—Martin Luther King, Jr., Wyatt Walker, Fred Shuttlesworth, and James Bevel. With page-turning prose that read like a thriller, Kix’s book is the first to zero in on the ten weeks of Project C, as it was known—-its specific history and its echoes sounding throughout our culture now. It’s about Where It All Began, for sure, but it’s also the key to understanding Where We Are Now and Where We Will Be. As the fight for equality continues on many fronts, Project C is crucial to our understanding of our own time and the impact that strategic activism can have. -- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781250807694
  • ISBN: 1250807697
  • Physical Description: xiv, 378 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers, 2023.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Pt. 1. Genesis -- A point that everyone should consider carefully -- "This is not getting any better" -- What it takes to begin to live -- What was promising and impossible -- pt. 2. Project confrontation -- Departures -- Arrival -- It begins -- Who will rise from the pews? -- Explanations and accusations -- Optics, optics, optics -- "I've got it!" -- pt. 3. The good Friday test -- "...The righteous are bold as a lion" -- When bull said no to all that -- The counter to the countermove -- Upping the stakes -- The garden of Gethsemane -- The good Friday test -- "Why have you forsaken me?" -- pt. 4. The writing on scraps of newsprint -- The hole -- Who cares about prison reform now? -- "This will be one of the most historic documents..." -- pt. 5. "...and a child shall lead them" -- The prophet returns with his wife -- Emergence -- The indecent proposal -- The prophet and the playboy -- The end of the "endless" deliberation -- pt. 6. D-day and beyond -- D-day -- Double D-day -- The view from Washington -- Burke goes to Birmingham -- How not to negotiate with the king -- And lo, the pharaoh shall weep -- Marshall's interpretation -- Unintended outcomes -- "Martin, this is it!" -- "Put some water on the Reverend" -- This time, something new -- Wishful thinking? -- The seats at the table -- The betrayal -- The unraveling -- The younger brother's complex -- "What I'm about to tell you will not be repeated" -- Wrestling with its conscience -- pt. 7. "But for Birmingham..." -- "This whole town has gone berserk" -- Shaping the postscript -- Considering the impossible -- The gathering at 24 Central Park South -- God's beneficence -- The brother's message -- The speech -- "But for Birmingham...".
Subject: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.
Abernathy, Ralph, 1926-1990.
Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
Civil rights movements > Alabama > Birmingham > History > 20th century.
Protest movements > Alabama > Birmingham > History > 20th century.
Nineteen sixty-three, A.D.
Birmingham (Ala.) > Race relations > History > 20th century.
Genre: Informational works.

Available copies

  • 3 of 4 copies available at Missouri Evergreen. (Show)
  • 0 of 1 copy available at North Kansas City.


  • 0 current holds with 4 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
North Kansas City Public Library 976.178 KIX 2023 (Text) 0001012512602 Nonfiction New Checked out 06/07/2023

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