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Three Perspectives

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." Read other viewer reactions in primary sources.

Screen interviews from "The Negro and the American Promise," produced by Boston public television station WGBH in 1963.

Dr. Kenneth Clark Introduction: Dr. Kenneth Clark
psychology professor, City College of New York
"I hope... we are on the threshold of a truly democratic America."
Martin Luther King Martin Luther King
Baptist minister, Atlanta, Georgia
"The Negro is making it palpably clear that he wants all of his rights, that he wants them here, and that he wants them now."
Malcolm X Malcolm X
Nation of Islam minister, Harlem, New York
"White people collectively have practiced the worst form of hatred against Negroes in this country."
James Baldwin James Baldwin
author, Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time
"I am not a nigger. I am a man."

Video courtesy of the WGBH Media Library and Archives.

page created on 1.19.04
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