Forty years ago this month, the young life of Martin Luther King, Jr. was rushing toward its tragic, glorious, world-moving crescendo. He was 37 years old. He had marched in Selma; lived to see a southern American president say "we shall overcome" and act to prove it; won a Nobel Prize and been blackmailed toward suicide by the FBI.
In two years and a few months, he would be dead. The last years were a trial of the soul, for the man and his country. "I don't want to do this anymore," King once shouted to his aides. "I want to go back to my little church." But he didn't.
Hear a conversation with Pulitzer Prize- winning biographer Taylor Branch about the last three years of Martin Luther King Jr.
Taylor Branch, author of "At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68," the third in a trilogy of books about Martin Luther King
Jack Beatty, "On Point" news analyst and a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.
This program aired on January 20, 2006.