Tuesday, January 15, 2019, would have marked the 90th birthday of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. To commemorate, we’re recommending documentaries as a compelling alternative for those looking to get a comprehensive look at the life of MLK.
Here is a list of six documentaries to watch on the revered American icon:
1. In Remembrance of Martin
Released in 1986, In Remembrance of Martin is a documentary delivered courtesy by PBS. An in-depth look at the civil rights icon, the film includes comments from King’s friends and family. Among some of the commentators are King’s wife and fellow civil rights icon, Coretta Scott King, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond and Reverend Jesse Jackson.
2. King in the Wilderness
King in the Wilderness premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to excellent reviews. Directed by Peter Kunhardt, the documentary includes conversations with those who knew Dr. King, including many fellow members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). It also features archival footage and behind-the-scenes video of Dr. King’s most private moments. The documentary also sets itself apart from other pieces about the civil rights icon by including phone conversations recorded by President Johnson, who was considered to be a significant roadblock in King’s quest for racial equality.
3. King: A Filmed Record- From Montgomery to Memphis
Released two years after King’s death, King: A Filmed Record; From Montgomery to Memphis, chronicles critical moments in the life of the civil rights icon. Starting with the well-documented Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, the documentary includes clips from actor and fellow activist Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Joanne Woodward and James Earl Jones. Produced by Ely Landau and directed by Sidney Lumet, King: A Filmed Record; From Montgomery to Memphis was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1970.
4. Dr. Martin Luther King: A Historical Perspective
Directed by Thomas Friedman, this 1994 documentary is narrated by Arthur Burghardt and lives up to its title. Friedman documents King’s quest for racial equality in a sharp, brief and concise manner.
5. King: Man of Peace in a Time of War
Released in 2007, this hour-long documentary centers on a never-before-seen interview with Dr. King that was kept in secrecy for 40 years. King: Man of Peace in a Time of War also includes interviews from Colin Powell and Jesse Jackson.
6. Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Dream, The Man and The Death
One of the few documentaries to examine life after King, Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Dream, The Man and The Death examines theories surrounding King’s shocking murder in 1968. The documentary comes courtesy of the Farsight Institute.