Fifty Years After the March on Washington; Fifty Years of the Mets

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Today, we’ll mark the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Jonathan Rieder talks about Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” We’ll discuss a documentary about Dr. King’s life and work, from the beginnings of his campaign for civil rights to his assassination in 1968. We’ll look at the role civil rights activist Bayard Rustin played in the movement. He was marginalized for being openly gay. We’ll joined by his partner, Walter Naegle. And we’ll discuss another 50 year anniversary with former New York Times columnist Ira Berkow and the time he’s covered the NY Mets.

On MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King, Jr.  was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, on Good Friday, April 12, 1963, and while he was in jail, he saw in the newspaper a statement from eight "moderate" clergymen who branded the civil rights protests extremist and "untimely." King drafted a furious rebuttal that became known as the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"—a work that would become a masterpieces of American moral argument and would inspire not just the marchers of Birmingham and Selma, but peaceful insurgents from Tiananmen to Tahrir Squares. Jonathan Rieder discusses the Letter, looking at its timeless message and its crucial position in the history of civil rights. His book Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation gives us a new perspective on the Letter and the man who wrote it.

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“King: A Filmed Record”

Richard Kaplan discusses the “King: A Filmed Record,” which chronicles the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, from the start of his non-violent campaign for equal rights to his assassination in Memphis in 1968. Candid footage of Dr. King and newsreel coverage of the protests and counter-protests are accompanied by narrators including Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward. “King: A Filmed Record” is playing at Film Forum at 7:10 pm, on August 28.

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The Life and Legacy of Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin

Producer-director Bennett Singer discusses the film “Brother Outsider,” a documentary exploring the life and work of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who influenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and played a major role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. Rustin’s role in the civil rights movement has been overlooked largely because he lived as an openly gay man. Walter Naegle, Rustin’s life partner from 1977 until Rustin's death in 1987, and who will be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Rustin's behalf, also joins the conversation. “Brother Outsider” airs on the World Channel on August 28, at 7 pm and midnight.

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Ira Berkow on 50 Years of the Mets

Former New York Times columnist Ira Berkow discusses the Mets and his collection of opinions, stories, and observations from his long and distinguished career. From memories of inaugural franchise manager Casey Stengel and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver to reflections on ace Johan Santana and the superstar David Wright, Summers at Shea is a collection of 50 years of his writing, bringing to life Mets’ personalities from the last half century.

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