Five Good Films For MLK Holiday

Whether for personal or group viewing, below are some excellent films available in video that honor this great prophet for America. To read my reviews, click onto a title.


I start with this wonderful film because it is so little know, despite its two major stars, Whoopi Goldberg & Susie Spacek–and also because I will be leading a screening of it at the church I attend in Bellbrook, OH. The film chronicles the fateful impact of the Montgomery Bus Boycott on a black and a white family. Thus, it is a film about the foot soldiers rather than the General in the war on Jim Crow. Odessa is a household servant who must walk across town during the boycott because none of the black drivers go that far to the white side of town. Her employer Miriam is a dutiful housewife whose husband has just joined the White Citizen’s Council. She is upset at first by Miriam’s frequent tardiness. Then as she gets to know her servant better, she begins to understand and sympathize, and…



This TV drama covers Dr. King’s life, from his days as a flashily-dressed seminarian courting Coretta Scott through the bus boycott that catapulted him to fame, through the March on Washington and His “I Have a Dream” speech and the dark days when he was shunned by fellow CR leaders because of his public opposition to the Vietnam War, to his untimely murder in Memphis. The cast is excellent, the chief actors being Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson, and Ossie Davis as, respectively, Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, and Martin Luther King, Sr.


Much shorter than King, this HBO film focuses upon Dr. King’s days in Montgomery. It also gives notice of the importance of Montgomery’s black women in starting and spreading the word about the boycott after Rosa park’s arrest for refusing to give up her seat.


A contemporary of Dr. King, and like him, devoted to the non-violence espoused by Gandhi, this is the moving story of the leader who brought dignity to oppressed California Latino grape pickers by organizing a nation-wide boycott of table grapes.


As with KING, this story of the Grandfather of the nonviolent movements for freedom and justice is for those with lots of time, its running time being over 3 hours, But there are so many good scenes of Gandhi and his followers facing hatred with nonviolence that you will long remember them.

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