Here are 3 documentaries to watch on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

(Archival footage depicts MLK Jr.’s reaction to white rioters in Chicago. A clip from the documentary Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class)

BY: Nina Joung

“But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists … We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that is signed years ago. ”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. may be best known for promoting racial justice during the Civil Rights Movement, but between 1965 and 1968, Dr. King shifted his focus toward economic justice. His work in these years culminated in the “Poor Peoples Campaign,” a multiracial coalition of impoverished Americans who would advocate for economic change.

To celebrate Dr. King’s dedication towards economic justice, we’ve selected three documentaries, one of which is a mini docu-series, that depict the modern day struggles of socio-economic inequality that MLK Jr. made into his mission over 50 years ago:

  1. Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class

    “Have black Americans had a fair shot at the American dream?” acclaimed journalist Bob Herbert asks. The question is explored through the harsh and often brutal discrimination that has made it extremely difficult for African-Americans to establish a middle-class standard of living.

  2. Left Behind America

    Their story is one of the many Rust Belt cities often overlooked by mainstream media trying to recover in the post-recession economy. FRONTLINE and ProPublica report on the economic and social forces shaping Dayton, Ohio, a once-booming city where nearly 35 percent of people now live in poverty.

  3. My Everyday Hustle

    We see them every day and often depend on them — but when do we get to hear their stories? Meet a dog walker, street cart vendor, on-demand driver, courier, and subway performer that are all working hard to just get by. How do they make ends meet in one of the most expensive cities in the nation? This five-part documentary series reveals the struggles, successes, and daily hustle of everyday people.