ITV Programme Next Thursday on Martin Luther King

Next Thursday, 22nd March 2018, ITV are broadcasting at 9.00 pm a programme about Martin Luther King, presented by that British newsreading institution, Sir Trevor McDonald. The blurb for this in the Radio Times runs

On the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s death, Trevor McDonald travels to the Deep South of America to get closer to the man who meant so much to him and so many others. As well as finding out about the horrors of lynching in 20th-century America, he asks Naomi Campbell, General Colin Powell and the Reverend Al Sharpton what Martin Luther King all means to them. Disturbingly, he also meets a former member of the Ku Klux Klan who admits that he would once have targeted him because of the colour of his skin. (p. 103).

There’s also a section three pages further back, on page 100, which adds a bit more. This says

It’s 55 years since Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream speech’ in Washington transfixed the world and became a rallying call for the American civil rights movement. Fifty years after King’s assassination, Trevor McDonald looks at a remarkable life that was cut short. he talks to friends of King’s, including singer Harry Belafonte.

It’s the small, if familiar, details that still move. Like hearing how the mighty gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, seeing King struggling with notes for his speech, prompted him loudly with “Tell them about the dream, Martin”. What followed was off the cuff and remains spine-tingling to this day.

MLK was also politically far more radical than he is often portrayed. A month or so ago there were a series of articles and videos by Counterpunch and the various American left-wing news programmes pointing out that the rather anodyne image of King as preaching simple racial reconciliation was carefully crafted to exclude his criticism of capitalism and American imperialism. King did believe in racial reconciliation between White and Black, but he also believed that capitalism and big business was keeping Whites and Blacks divided in order to weaken the working class, and allow ordinary folks of whatever colour to be exploited.

He was also an opponent of the Vietnam War, which he saw as more corporate imperialism to exploit and oppress the coloured people of that country, just as Blacks in America were being exploited.

This stance led him into conflict with the Democrat Party and the president, Lyndon Johnson. After MLK made a speech denouncing capitalism and the war at the Riverside Church, Johnson removed King’s bodyguards. It was an ominous measure that everyone knew would ultimately mean King’s death.

And King also didn’t mince his words when it came to describing the atrocities of the Vietnam War and American imperialism. You may remember the fuss the Republicans kicked up about the Reverend Jeremiah Cone, the pastor at Barack Obama’s church. Cone was also strongly anti-American because of what he viewed as the country’s intrinsic racial injustice, shouting out ‘God dam’ America!’ The Republicans claimed that he was anti-White, and that his hatred of Whites must also be shared by the Obama, then just campaigning for the presidency, because Obama had worshipped in the same church without objection for something like 20 years. I honestly don’t know if Cone was anti-White or not. It’s possible he was. But his comments on American imperialism were very much in line with what MLK, who certainly wasn’t racist, also said.

This is an issue I shall have to go back to, as it’s still very, very relevant today, when the racist right is once again trying to goose step back into power, and western imperialism is exploiting and plundering the countries of the world, all under the pretext of freeing them from terror.

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10 Responses to “ITV Programme Next Thursday on Martin Luther King”

  1. joanna Says:

    This is slightly off topic but

    Rest in Peace Professor Stephen Hawking!!

    You was awesome in your lifetime and Incredibly Inspirational to Every human on this planet!!!

  2. joanna Says:

    Though Stephen Hawking Is a remarkable man, he has got it wrong when he says there is no holding disabled people back.. The one thing that Definately Does hold people back is Money and Attitudes which create hatred and jealousy. Most people are held back by economic abuse from governments who do not care about the disabled.

    Given enough resources and help, Some people may stretch beyond their disability. But the broken down Morals of this government as a whole, the lack of infrastructure and cut in disabled peoples benefits to well below poverty Does cause a huge chasm for people to cross. Some people can’t consider anything but surviving, whereas Stephen hawking had all the resources he needed to be cared for, thus he was able to turn his mind to science.

    Although he had strength in his science, he was wrong to generalise and to state that disability is Mind over Matter. He only lived in the real world as he knew it. Nobody is perfect, but then does perfection really exist?!!

    • Beastrabban Says:

      Prof. Hawking was a great ambassador for science, and in particular physics and cosmology. I can’t say whether or not perfection exists, although there is the ancient conundrum ‘Can perfection recognise imperfection?’ But I completely agree with the rest of your comment about disabled people being held back through a vicious government determined to deprive them of the money and resources they need, while at the same time stirring up hatred and prejudice against them.

      • joanna Says:

        One question has always bugged me Beast, when reading about science vs religion, and I watched a piece on youtube by Stephen fry. If God created everything, then who or wht created God? The question could go on forever.

        Jim Bowen also died today.

      • Beastrabban Says:

        For Christians, nothing created God, because God existed before the beginning and created everything. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians saw things differently, and had elaborate cosmologies in which personified natural forces like ‘Night’ gradually produced the gods.

        RIP Jim Bowen – he gave a lot of people a lot of fun with Bullseye, although he always looked miserable. He wasn’t. It was just the way his face fell, even when he was happy!

  3. joanna Says:

    I’m a totally confused person, because how can a non corporeal being create corporeal being, also I’ve always wondered, what was the point of dinosaurs?

    Stephen Fry’s vlog also made me think, if there is a god and a loving one, why people have killer diseases, or why volcanos, tsunamis,hurricanes and tornados exisit, all of which cause devastation to many people. or why unchristened, or unbaptised people can’t go to heaven, when evil people who ultimately turn to god in their last days probably can (if there is such a thing as heaven).

    I have tried asking these questions but people tend to shun me, I don’t know what I believe, or if in fact I have any, having lived a life walking on eggshells like I have, survival is the only thing to consider, though that is getting lost on me now. I don’t have much faith in people, therefore it is difficult to have faith in a being I can’t detect with my senses.

    I hope this hasn’t annoyed you! It does everyone else that is why I never ask question like these.

    • Beastrabban Says:

      No, these questions don’t annoy me, Joanna. They’re good questions. The simple answer is that God, as a non-corporeal being, can create corporeal beings simply because He is God, and is therefore prior to matter. I’ve seen the argument that if there are spirits, they would have to have something like the powers of ESP to be able to affect physical objects or gain an awareness of the universe without a physical body. But the question also goes to the heart of the mind/body problem. This roughly asks how the mind, which is non-corporeal, can control the body, when the two things are so different.

      As for the existence of things like natural disasters and disease, there’s a whole branch of theology which deals with that. It’s called theodicy, a word which was coined in the 17th century by the German physicist, Leibniz. There are a number of theories, though many theologians believe that the best explanation is that such evil has come into the world through Devil and the rebel angels. I can’t answer the question of why unbaptised people don’t go to heaven, while evil people, who repent at the end of their lives, do. As for the point of dinosaurs, I simply think that God created them, because God likes creating. God creates the things in the universe just for themselves, without there necessarily being any greater purpose beyond them, except perhaps their place in the wider scheme of nature.

      Going back over ten years I posted a number of articles on issues like these on this blog as part of a series of arguments against the atheism being preached by Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry. If you’re interested, I’ll put up a number of books you might like to read to find out these issues for yourself.:)

  4. joanna Says:

    Thank you Beast! Mostly for taking time to answer my questions. I have never liked ambiguity or things that cannot be explained and wrapped up with a big ribbon.
    That is why I have never taken any notice of speculation of who Jack the Ripper was, because it is unlikly to ever be solved.

    I would very much like to read the books, at least I will learn something and being exposed to different opinions and theories will help, especially to ease me back into the world from my safe cocoon which is no good for me!

  5. joanna Says:

    Could you perhaps email them to me as well? if I am not asking too much of course?

    Thank you!

    • Beastrabban Says:

      No problem, Jo. 🙂 And I’ve got no interest either in who Jack the Ripper really was. And I find most of the books written about the subject really lurid and tasteless.

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