Historic photo of Martin Luther King Jr. addressing a crowd at Washington Monument.
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Historic photo of Martin Luther King Jr. addressing a crowd at Washington Monument.

April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Today, we paid tribute to King's legacy by talking to the people who knew him, portrayed him and were inspired by him. 

 On Second Thought's tribute show to the life of Martin Luther King Jr. for Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

Civil rights icon Xernona Clayton was both the organizer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a close advisor to King. She sat down with On Second Thought for a conversation about how King would feel about today's civil rights movements.Today, Clayton is CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation. We talked with Clayton in her office about the memories she shared with King at the 1966 SCLC in Atlanta.

The life of Martin Luther King Jr. has been the subject of a number of films.The made-for-television film, “The Boy King,” tells the story of his youth. The WSB-TV movie focuses on  early prejudices King encountered in his childhood and how his family responded.

"The Boy King" won a Peabody Award in 1986. We sat down with the producer of the movie, Judy Cairo, and director Bill Parrott to talk about the making of the film.

In another made-for-television movie, “Selma, Lord, Selma,” explores King's later years in Selma, Alabama. 

The movie is told through the eyes of an 11-year-old inspired by King's determination in the fight for equal rights. We talked to Clifton Powell, who portrayed King in "Selma, Lord, Selma." 

So, in the last 50 years, how has the civil rights movement evolved, and where is it headed?

 

We ended our show with GPB's "Morning Edition" host Leah Fleming, who spoke with a group of activists about today's civil rights culture. We heard from the Rev. Gerald Durley, senior pastor emeritus of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Amanda Hollowell, a community organizer in Savannah, Avery Jackson, an organizer for "ATL Is Ready" and Devyn Springer, a community organizer in Atlanta. 

MLK and his family in Atlanta
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MLK and his family in Atlanta
Civil Rights Movement protests in Selma, Alabama.
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Civil Rights Movement protests in Selma, Alabama.
The March on Washington in 1963.
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The March on Washington in 1963.