Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement


In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., we have compiled archival videos, documentaries, commentaries, discussions and reports about his life, legacy and the Civil Rights movement.

The March on Washington

View the official program from the 1963 event.

Watch footage from that day from the National Archives:

Listen to the ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ accompanied by the Chicago Sinfinietta or read a transcript of the speech.

On August 29, 1963 New York Times journalist James Reston recounted the march and King’s speech, writing “Dr. King touched all the themes of the day, only better than anybody else. He was full of the symbolism of Lincoln and Ghandi, and the cadences of the Bible. He was both militant and sad and he sent the crowd away feeling that the long journey had been worthwhile.” Read the original article here.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The American Radio Works audio documentary King’s Last March takes listeners to the final years of King’s life as he protested the Vietnam War, tried to organize a march on Washington against poverty and struggled to prove the power of non-violent protest.

In 1959, King paid a visit to Minnesota and spoke with former judge and Minneapolis civic leader L. Howard Bennett. The discussion was broadcast as part of a series of television programs called “That Free Men May Live.” Watch the full program via Twin Cities Public Television’s archival footage collection available on the MN Video Vault.

View more archival video from TPT including a 1986 report on Soviet coverage of the then brand new holiday, and a remembrance of King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech fifteen years later.

WNYC’s Brian Lehrer interviews author Michael Honey about King’s legacy of economic justice. Listen here:

Listen to a musical journey through King’s life from New York’s WQXR:

The Civil Rights Act

In February of 1964 Representative Howard Smith of Virginia sponsored an amendment to the Civil Rights Bill which would add the word ‘sex’ to the categories considered discriminatory. As a staunch opponent of the bill, he thought the proposition would be so preposterous that it would immediately kill the legislation. Read more here.

Watch President Lyndon. B Johnson sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Fight for Civil Rights

Check out the National Archive’s ‘Documented Rights’ center, which chronicles America’s struggle with slavery and civil rights.

Clara Luper, a contemporary and friend of King, tells OETA about the movement to gain civil rights. Watch the interview here.

Browse a list of novels for young adults interested in civil rights.

In the days after King was shot, there were violent protests and riots. Boston was one cities affected by violence. Music legend James Brown’s new release ‘Say it Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud’ become an anthem for the black power movement, and Brown became a voice for non-violence in a climate of outrage. Listen to a story about James Brown’s tour to Dallas.

Watch part of the documentary ‘The Night James Brown Saved Boston’:

Some believe the roots of the Civil Rights movement can be traced as far back as 1867, when railroad innovator George Pullman staffed newly freed slaves to work on his train cars as porters. The wages were hardly livable ($7,500 per year in today’s currency), and the hours were worse. In 1925, the porters formed a union to fight for better working conditions and fair pay. Twelve years later, they became the first black union in American history to force a powerful company to negotiate. Read more about the porters here.