As we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, every family should take time to talk about this great American leader and hero of the Civil Rights Movement. There are outstanding films and other resources for all ages.
King: A Filmed Record… From Montgomery to Memphis (2-Disc Set) is an excellent documentary from Sidney Lumet.
I highly recommend the magnificent movie Boycott, starring Jeffrey Wright as Dr. King. And every family should study the history of the Montgomery bus boycott that changed the world.
It is humbling to remember that the boycotters never demanded complete desegregation of the public transit; that seemed too unrealistic a goal. There are video interviews with the people who were there. This newspaper article describes Dr. King’s meeting with the bus line officials. And excellent teaching materials about the Montgomery bus boycott are available, including the modest and deeply moving reminder to the boycotters once segregation had been ruled unconstitutional that they should “demonstrate calm dignity,” “pray for guidance,” and refrain from boasting or bragging.
Families should also read They Walked To Freedom 1955-1956: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Paul Winfield has the lead in King, a brilliant and meticulously researched NBC miniseries co-starring Cecily Tyson that covers Dr. King’s entire career.
The Long Walk Home, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek, makes clear that the boycott was a reminder to black and white women of their rights and opportunities — and risk of change.
Citizen King is a PBS documentary with archival footage of Dr. King and his colleagues. Martin Luther King Jr. I Have a Dream has his famous speech in full, still one of the most powerful moments in the history of oratory and one of the most meaningful moments in the history of freedom.