It seems an appropriate day to mention that Taylor Branch's new history title, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, was just released on January 8. (PLEASE NOTE: This book is a compilation of selections from his trilogy on the subject, starting with Parting the Waters. The good news is, if you don't have time to read all three volumes, you could just read this new book instead.) He won the Pulitzer Prize for the first book in his series of books on this subject, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63. I read that a long time ago, but it was interesting. Some day when I win the lottery this is one of the long series that I'll sit right down and read (along with Robert Caro's biographies of Lyndon B. Johnson, which, heaven help me, I just don't have the time for right now).
However, if you're looking for something shorter that might make you think about the state of civil rights and race issues today, I would definitely recommend Geoffrey Canada's Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence.