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

Written by Akaya McElveen

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Willimantic, Conn. - Had he lived, the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 85 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 M. Núñez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern. The series will air all day on Jan. 20, 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. 21. A link to the streaming video can be found at:                                                                                                   The series, which Eastern Professor of Theatre Ellen Brodie has 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. The series cites Christian clergymen who said King was a Communist troublemaker who belonged in jail, and also reveals how he 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. The night King died in Memphis, TN, he was fighting for fair pay and economic justice for sanitation workers in that city who, as he said, 'cannot eat three square meals a day.'

 "While honoring Dr. King's commitment to the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience, for which the civil rights leader won the Nobel Prize for Peace, Mr. Bachman has done a masterful job of focusing on King's goals of ending segregation, injustice, racism and discrimination," said Edward Osborn, Eastern's director of university relations. "Dr. King's leadership put economic and social justice at the forefront of the American consciousness, and this series ensures that those goals and Dr. King's vision will never be forgotten. Eastern is privileged to be able to air this series each year as part of our celebration of Dr. King's birthday."

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, former multimedia production technician at Eastern, recreated the series for the Eastern Connecticut State University television broadcast.

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