Extraordinary conversations between a confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. and a modern-day activist lead to the game-changing realizations that a second-wave civil rights movement is unfolding and that we must embrace the lessons of the past to effect lasting change.
In 1966, Nelson Malden ran for public office in Montgomery, Alabama. He was the first African-American to do so. Campaigning for him was his friend, Martin Luther King Jr., who had organized protests and had written the speeches that would help criminalize racial segregation and discrimination from his seat in the Malden Brothers Barbershop.
In The Colored Waiting Room, modern-day activist Kevin Shird heads from his hometown of Baltimore, MD to Montgomery to meet eighty-four-year-old Nelson Malden and contextualize the significance of the killings of Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and Trayvon Martin as well as the demonstrations is Charlottesville, Ferguson, Baltimore, and around the country. The result is a groundbreaking understanding of today’s burgeoning second-wave civil rights movement and the urgent actions necessary for racial equality and change.
Here, Shird raises the profound question of whether blacks are still in a colored waiting room, biding their time and waiting for racial equality to be the norm. He also shares compelling personal realizations on the lost connection between African American youth and their ancestors’ fight against slavery and Jim Crow laws, asking throughout this pivotal volume, how far can we go without knowing where we’ve come from?