PBS is airing a documentary later this month called “The March,” which focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic Washington D.C. march highlighted by his “I Have a Dream” speech.
At the 2013 TCA press tour, Clayborne Carson, the founding director of Stanford’s Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, who was a participant in the march 50 years ago, tells the room that he considers the march to be a game-changer, not just in regards to civil rights, but also in regards to the media coverage.
“While those of us who worked in the civil rights movement had heard about Dr. King and followed him, in terms of the overwhelming majority of the country … most people had not heard him or seen him speak in real time,” says Carson. “In all the major media markets in the United States … you had people seeing Martin Luther King Jr. speak that had never actually seen [him] before. Millions of people had never seen him before.
“And I am convinced that that, it almost had … the sheer impact of that — people were taken aback by the extraordinary, the extraordinary content of what he said, too, but just who he was. … Even those who knew who he was had never seen or heard him speak. … So when you have a significant amount of broadcast time in all of the major markets of speech and the background with the 250,000 people who were assembled, I say it was a game-changer as an event in America.”
“The March” premieres Tuesday, Aug. 27 on PBS.