This weekend will bring a new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial to Washington DC, and it is reviving a lot of conversation about the man, his mission and his tactics. PBS.org shared with us a very rare interview from 1957 featuring Dr. King on the classic “An Open Mind” PBS talk show.
It is very interesting to listen to Dr. King speak to the emergence of a “New Negro,” this essentially more “civilized” version of an the Old Negro one assumes, as he attempts to also firmly state that civil disobedience – of the kind he led in the bus boycotts – is a necessary tactic. He says “…privileged classes do not give up their privilege voluntarily…” Time might make us forget what a very fine line he had to walk at the time, and he does so with such finesse it is hard to compare him to any other.
Check out the video, and feel free to share this post as part of a wider conversation. There is much talk from all sides of the current political sphere that President Obama’s approach to policy via compromise is timid. Others believe it is the best way to get traction on difficult issues that live at the core of divergent beliefs – small government, versus big government, for example.
After seeing this clip, where do you think Martin Luther King would stand in that “tactical debate” today? As we honor the man and the legacy, it is perhaps the right time to see if we can use any of his methods in the present for our current civic discourse. Also what other issues do you see in the clip; in the discourse, or even the words of Dr. King?
More MLK resources:
PBS.org has also compiled a collection of content from the PBS archives from a wide range of sources, you can check it out here.