American Experience, PBS.org
About the film
President Johnson Meeting With Civil Rights Leaders The story begins on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, when a 34-year-old preacher galvanized millions with his dream for an America free of racism. It comes to a bloody end almost five years later, on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee.
In the years since those events unfolded, the man at their center, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has become a mythic figure, a minister whose oratory is etched into the minds of millions of Americans, a civil rights activist whose words and image are more hotly contested, negotiated and sold than almost anyone else's in American history.
Video: Three Perspectives: Dr. King, Malcolm X and James Baldwin talk about race relations
Boston public television producer Henry Morgenthau III's "The Negro and the American Promise," featuring interviews with Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin, made headlines in spring 1963. The program aired in a climate of racial conflict, just months after Alabama governor George Wallace's defiant support of "segregation forever," and before the March on Washington.
The New York Times described the James Baldwin segment as "a television experience that seared the conscience." A viewer wrote of the Malcolm X segment that he was shocked "that such a blatant display of racial prejudice could be aired."
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"