Fifteen Non-Fiction Videos Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I offer these fifteen videos as a companion piece to “Ten Short Films Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”  While selecting them, I was conscious that I could not simply design one prep to use in all of my classes tomorrow and Tuesday.  That would not be fair to the students have enrolled in more than one course I am teaching this semester.

Although a couple of the videos on this list are documentaries, most of what follows are either excerpts from longer films or do not meet the definition I have of film.  However, I do believe that there is a role for film clips and other types of video as part of a class.

Also, I want to try to incorporate issues that we will be discussing during the semester into my first day of class.  Therefore, I might use Abraham, Martin, and John in early modern world history because it includes information on Abraham Lincoln who lived during the time period of the course.  Or I might use Bayard Ruskin MLK Organizer in ancient world history where I often teach a lesson in which I argue that there were no gay people in the ancient world. (See “Dr. Berg is Definitely Not Gay” for a description of this lesson and the rationale for my argument.)

In choosing the recommendations for this list, I favored videos that featured Dr. King or at least mentioned him.  But some, such as James Baldwin asking “Who is a Nigger” and the version of Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” I included, were selected because they could be used to start a discussion placing Dr. King’s legacy in a larger context.


University of Chicago Martin Luther King Day Video 2012 [3:02]

Focuses on educational opportunity, this video was produced as part of the MLK Commemoration Celebration held on 12 January 2012.

Martin Luther King, Jr. – Mini Bio [4:48]

This short biography was produced by the Biography Channel.

“If I Had Sneezed”…..A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King [8:11]

An excerpt from Dr. King’s last speech in which he describes what he missed had he sneezed in 1958 when a woman stabbed him 1958.  Still photographs and background music illustrate the speech.

Children’s March [3:05]

A rap tribute to the 1963 children’s march.

Who is the Nigger? -James Baldwin [3:03]

Author James Baldwin describes the invention of the “nigger” and why the term does not apply to him.

Robert Kennedy announces death of Martin Luther King, Jr. [5:46]

The title is self explanatory.

The Dream Lives on…Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [1:33]

The soundtrack is an excerpt from Dr. King’s “I have a Dream Speech.”  Images are primarily of the Martin Luther King memorial.  Text throughout the video text gives highlights of Dr. King’s life and the posthumous recognition he received.

Common: “A Dream” Live Performance [3:02]

Common and Will.I.Am perform “A Dream.”

Abraham, Martin & John [3:24]

Tribute to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy.

Martin Luther King Day Mix by Jazz 42.wmv [6:50]

A montage of clips of Dr. King speaking with musical background.

Mavis Staples “Eyes On The Prize” [4:06]

A collection of archival footage from the civil rights movement is shown to the background of Staples singing “Eyes on the Prize.”

Steve Jobs Narrates the First “Think Different” Commercial “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”[1:01]

In addition to Steve Jobs, seventeen “crazy ones” who changed the world are shown.

Billie Holiday Strange Fruit – Metaphor of Terror [3:35]

The film maker describes the images in this documentary as “a gallery of terrorism & genocide the past 100 years.”

Let Freedom Ring – MLK Rap Song [3:05]

Let Freedom Ring” by Flocabulary (featuring Trajik)

Bayard Rustin MLK Organizer [2:02]

Biographical sketch of Bayard Rustin, a gay civil rights leader who helped organize the Civil Rights March on Washington.


#16:  A Bonus Recommendation

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – Man of Peace In a Time of War [1:00]

Ashley Hall recommended this documentary in the comments section of “Ten Short Films Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”  She described it as “an interview with notable people like Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell, with an interview with MLK himself from 1967.”




2 comments on “Fifteen Non-Fiction Videos Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  1. Pingback: Evaluation Packet: Part II (Documentation of Content Expertise) « Etena sacca-vajjena…

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