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

Written by Jack Meltzer

mlk color image.jpgWillimantic, CT -- Had he lived, the late Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 81 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 the man, widely considered as the greatest civil rights leader of the past century.

The series, which contains a greeting by Eastern President Elsa Núñez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern. The series will air all day on Jan. 18, 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 24 hours later on Jan. 19.

The series, which Eastern Professor of Theatre Ellen Brodie described as "an on-going beacon lighting the memory of Dr. King and a loving gift to future generations,"  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 Christian clergymen who said he was a Communist troublemaker who belonged in jail.

 "Much emphasis is put on Dr. King's tactic of nonviolent civil disobedience, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Peace," said Bachman. "We often forget King's goals of fairness for everyone, and an end to segregation, injustice, racism and discrimination. King did not die for non-violence; he died fighting for fair pay and economic justice - for Memphis sanitation workers who, as he said, 'cannot eat three square meals a day.'  We should pay more attention to King's goals rather than his tactics."

The series originally aired in 1983 on the Stamford, CT-based Satellite News Channel (SNC), where Bachman was a news producer at the time.  Jose Grinan, SNC anchorman, 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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