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Movies to Celebrate the Life and Work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted on January 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm

This weekend we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King and every family should take time to talk about this great American leader and hero of the Civil Rights Movement. There are outstanding films for all ages.

Every family should watch the magnificent movie Boycott, starring Jeffrey Wright as Dr. King, and should study the history of the Montgomery bus boycott that changed the world. This website has video interviews with the people who were there. This newspaper article describes Dr. King’s meeting with the bus line officials. It is important to note that he was not asking for complete desegregation; that seemed too unrealistic a goal. And this website has assembled teaching materials, including the modest reminder to the boycotters once segregation had been ruled unconstitutional that they should “demonstrate calm dignity,” “pray for guidance,” and refrain from boasting or bragging. Families should also read They Walked To Freedom 1955-1956: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Paul Winfield has the lead in King, a brilliant and meticulously researched NBC miniseries co-starring Cecily Tyson that covers King’s entire career.

The Long Walk Home, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek, makes clear that the boycott was a reminder to black and white women of their rights and opportunities — and risk of change.

Citizen King is a PBS documentary with archival footage of Dr. King and his colleagues. Martin Luther King Jr. – I Have a Dream has his famous speech in full, still one of the most powerful moments in the history of oratory and one of the most meaningful moments in the history of freedom.

For children, Our Friend, Martin and Martin’s Big Words are a good introduction to Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement.

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