Living the Dream

The Contested History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Daniel T. Fleming

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6781-2
    Published: June 2022
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6782-9
    Published: March 2022

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About the Author

Daniel T. Fleming is lecturer at the University of New South Wales.

For more information about Daniel T. Fleming, visit the Author Page.


"Fleming uses the King holiday to show that desires for racial reconciliation collapsed under the weight of good intentions set out by whites and Blacks alike. This is the book’s most important message. . . . a much-needed addition to the growing literature on civil rights memory."—Marvin T. Chiles, Journal of Southern History

“In the first book-length study of its kind, Daniel Fleming has added significantly to our understanding of the King holiday and debates around it. Through extensive archival research, Living the Dream offers an intriguing vantage point for exploring the racial views and policies of the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations.”—Renee Romano, author of Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America’s Civil Rights Murders

“As a King scholar, I found Fleming’s work to be first rate. This book will not only make a significant contribution to the growing body of King scholarship, but it will be welcomed by people interested in American history generally, as well as African American history, the civil rights movement, American political development, and public policy specifically.”—Justin Rose, author of The Drum Major Instinct: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Theory of Political Service