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Eastern to Present 12-Part TV Series on Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by Ed Osborn

Willimantic, CT -- Had he lived, the late Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 80 years old this year.  As part of its celebration of King's birthday, Eastern Connecticut State University will present a 12-part series looking back on the life and times of King, considered to be the greatest civil rights leader of the past century.

The series, which contains a greeting by Eastern President Elsa Nunez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern. The series will air all day on Jan. 19, the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Channel 22, Eastern's cable channel.  It will air on even hours all day beginning at midnight and ending at 10 p.m.

The series begins with a look at the forces that brought this humble Baptist preacher out of his pulpit and pushed him into the forefront of the civil rights movement.  From there, it moves on to the role King played in desegregating the transit system of Montgomery, AL.  It also reveals how King reacted to the many threats on his life, his extraordinary ability to articulate an idea, and his response to liberals who said he was moving too fast and to Christian clergymen who said he was a Communist troublemaker who belonged in jail.

Ellen Brodie, professor and director of theatre at Eastern, described Eastern's continuous airing of the television series as "an on-going beacon lighting the memory of Dr. King and a loving gift to future generations." 

Raouf Mama, professor of English at Eastern, called the series a "standard bearer of the ideals for which Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died." 

 "Dr. King changed the course of history for the entire world," said Bachman. "In the series, the debate between Dr. King and Black Power advocates Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, along with the Nobel Prize for Peace awards ceremony, are powerful moments in Dr. King's life.  His tragic death in Memphis in 1968 is something most of us will never forget.  While he had a dream, he believed in change and always had a plan of action to bring about change.  I know that Dr. King would be proud of America today for electing Barack Obama as its 44th president.  I hope everyone will learn from this series and commit or recommit to Dr. King's idea of making this a more fair, equal and just world."

The series originally aired in 1983 on the Stamford, CT-based Satellite News Channel (SNC).  Bachman was a news producer for SNC at the time.  Jose Grinan, anchorman for SNC, narrates the series. Nick Messina, director of media services at Eastern, and Craig Naumec, multimedia production technician in Media Services, recreated the series for the Eastern Connecticut State University television broadcast.



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