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January 21, 2013

King ‘content of character’ quote still inspiring debate

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The meaning of King’s monumental quote is more complex today than in 1963 because “the unconscious signals have changed,” says the historian Taylor Branch, author of the acclaimed trilogy “America in the King Years.”

Fifty years ago, bigotry was widely accepted. Today, Branch says, even though prejudice is widely denounced, many people unconsciously pre-judge others.

“Unfortunately race in American history has been one area in which Americans kid themselves and pretend to be fair-minded when they really are not,” says Branch, whose new book is “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement.”

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