What being American meant to Martin Luther King

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King was partly responsible for the end of legal segregation and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s. But that also led to his assassination, and King himself knew all too well that his work had yet not been completed. That’s according to David Garrow, author of a Pulitzer-Prize winning biography, “Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.” He sat down with Warren as part of  “What it Means to Be American,” a project of Zócalo Public Square and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History."

Garrow says King’s most famous speech, in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, was not as upbeat as it’s often portrayed. He describes King’s continuing outrage over to the War in Vietnam and his disappointment that the spirit of nonviolence had vanished on both the Left and the Right. Garrow also describes King’s complicated personal life, his sacrifices and his sense of humor.




Warren Olney