Citizen King (PBS, 2005) **** The United States of America has never had a stronger, clearer moral voice than Martin Luther King Jr. and probably never will. Citizen King focuses on MLK during the critical years of 1963-1968, beginning with King’s arrest in Birmingham, continuing through successes in Birmingham and Selma, failures in Albany, Georgia and Chicago, and shifting focuses on poverty and the Vietnam War, before ending with his assassination in Memphis.
MLK’s flaws are not given much attention in Citizen King. His plagiarism is not mentioned due to the time period covered and his infidelity is only mentioned in passing. However, it only seems right when these failures pale in comparison as they do to MLK’s accomplishments.
1968 with Tom Brokaw (History Channel, 2008) * I’m not sure whether this documentary totally missed the mark or if it just put the mark in the wrong place. Continue reading →
(Editor’s Note: This is a college essay I finished in 2005. It’s one of the best papers I’ve ever written and it’s about one of my favorite figures in American History. I hope you get something from it.)
In many ways, Henry David Thoreau has been seen as the darling of American pacifists and peace activists. Thoreau has certainly given contemporary nonviolence activists reason to praise him. After all, he did write “Civil Disobedience,” the clearest articulation of the purpose of and logic behind nonviolent resistance. Although an American classic, “Civil Disobedience” is perhaps more famous for being Gandhi’s guide to nonviolent resistance.1 Despite the laurels bestowed upon him by non-violent resisters, Thoreau was much more concerned with establishing a truly just government than limiting the means by which he was willing to achieve that end.