In the fall of 1968, six months after civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, Tim Wise was born to lower-middle-class white parents down the road in Nashville. Wise, who would later commit himself to carrying on King’s fight for a racially just society, grew up in a nation struggling to redefine itself: sweeping reform legislation had been passed, ending legalized segregation, but black Americans remained largely shut out of decent jobs, housing, and education.