Nation: Transcendent Symbol

For Martin Luther King Jr., death came as a tragic finale to an American drama fraught with classic hints of inevitability. Propelled to fame in the throes of the Negro's mid-century revolution, he gave it momentum and steered it toward nonviolence. Yet the movement he served with such elo quence and zeal was beginning to pass him by, and nonviolence to many black militants had come to seem naive, outmoded, even suicidal.

Black militants used his murder to cry, "The civil rights movement is dead!" But they had said it long before his assassination. King was dangerously close to slipping from prophet...

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