Finally reading “At Canaan’s Edge,” the last volume of Taylor Branch’s history of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. In his extraordinary telling, MLK is somehow able to navigate waters in which he is simultaneously pressured to go slow by some and proceed at breakneck speed by others. I’m no expert, but I believe he — with others — did it well in circumstances that were fraught with tensions, filled with competing pulls, and resistant to formulaic answers. In reading this monumental history, I’m reminded that determining the proper pace (and scale) of reform in conditions in which the political fabric has ruptured and the boundaries of the politically possible have expanded, is a reoccurring dilemma and first class challenge for leaders and movements that entertain transformational hopes. In studying King’s life and work we can find some clues as to how to do that as we attempt to navigate another turbulent period in our country’s life. In my later years in the Communist Party I would sometimes say that we might learn more from studying King’s United States (and Allende’s Chile) than Lenin’s Russia. It would raise an eyebrow or two.