1968: The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: In early April 1968 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. flew back to Memphis, Tennessee where, in his absence on March 28th, protests in support of a garbage workers strike had turned violent. He had been leading the protests and was determined to cool things off and enforce his brand of non-violent agitation.

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1968: The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent his short career fighting for equality for blacks and for the poor. By the late 1960’s he had endured attacks from nearly every entrenched part of the American establishment. He was under relentless surveillance by the FBI. Director J. Edgar Hoover saw him as a threat to the nation’s stability and, inaccurately, as a closet communist. The Bureau went so far as to send King fabricated death threats and regularly spied on his private life.

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Integration Comes to Little Rock

Lead: Opposition to the desegregation of Central High School was the beginning of a decade of resistance in the South.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States decided in Brown vs. The Topeka Board of Education that separate but equal schools were unconstitutional. In the wake of the subsequent decree that instructed parties to pursue desegregation with "all deliberate speed," the Little Rock, Arkansas School Board a fairly progressive body at that time began planning to desegregate the schools.

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Selma, 1965 III

ead: In 1965 the town of Selma Alabama was the scene of protests and brutal repression. The results: a march to Montgomery and a new Voting Rights Bill.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Martin Luther King, Jr. was convinced that the greatest ally the civil rights movement had lay in the consciences of white people. For too long the white majority had made gestures, had thrown rhetoric in support of liberty and justice, but had acquiesced in the face of bigotry and ideas of white sovereignty. King knew that a frontal assault by blacks on the high wall of institutional prejudice would not succeed. Nonviolent tactics were designed to enflame those white consciences.

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Selma, 1965 II

Lead: In 1965 protests against voting restrictions for blacks brought forces led Martin Luther King, Jr. into conflict with white resisters in Selma Alabama.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Martin Luther King has been called the best southern tactician since Robert E. Lee and his strategy wasn’t half bad either. Against hopeless odds he prevailed time and time again. He would select a city or town whose racism and discrimination was particularly egregious, organize black protest marches, build up the tension until the whites either negotiated or turned violent. If the latter were the case, federal intervention usually followed.

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Selma, 1965 I

Lead: In the long civil rights struggle of African Americans few places have greater significance than Selma, Alabama.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The black belt runs like a splintered crescent through the heart of the southern United States. From Carolina to the Mississippi, there in ante-bellum time lay the great plantations where black slaves sweated cotton from rich lowland soil. There after the Civil War the freedmen stayed constituting large parts of the population of many counties. There they were watched warily by a white ruling class which used artful and occasionally brutal means of suppressing their civil rights, barring them from white schools, cafes, lunch counters, theaters, and the white sections of public transportation, always vigilant to a keep a black in his place.

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1968: Democratic National Convention I

 

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control

Content: As the hot summer of 1968 ground to a close, the Democrats prepared to descend on Chicago for their quadrennial gathering. The year had taken its toll. Assassination, riot, an unpopular war and a divided leadership left the Democrats in disarray. Richard Nixon was in the wings ready to take advantage of the Party’s malaise with his Republican arms flung wide in welcome to southerners disdainful of black demands, Americans sick of anti-war hippies, and a segment of society increasingly receptive to his hard-line message of law and order.

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1968: Democratic National Convention II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: From August 26-29, 1968, the eyes of the political world were fixed on Chicago and nominating convention of the Democratic Party. It was not a pretty sight. Inside the Chicago Amphitheater where the Convention met, the bright divisions within the Party were laid bare for all to see. The issue animating the struggle of course was the Vietnam War. It was seen as Lyndon Johnson’s war, but he was not there to contend for the nomination. Having recognized his unpopularity and problem re-election prospects, in the Spring he had declined to run for a second full term. His heir apparent was Vice-president Hubert Humphrey, former Senator from Minnesota and early champion of civil rights. An old-line liberal, he had been abandoned by many of his colleagues on the left because of his steadfast support for Johnson’s war policy.

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