To Heal A Sick Nation: Martin Luther King, Jr. and IDEAS (with videos)

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo: AFP/GettyImages)

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo: AFP/GettyImages)


By 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. saw his dream becoming "a nightmare". Criticised by black militants, rejected by white allies, and threatened with death as violence tore America apart, he delivered the Massey Lectures, produced by Janet Somerville. Now -- for the first time -- she reveals the behind-the-scenes story leading to King's message of hope. Conceived, researched and prepared by Montreal-based journalist, Stephen Smith.

Participants in the program:

Janet Somerville, former IDEAS producer and producer of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1967 CBC Massey Lectures, Conscience for Change.

Harry Belafonte, internationally-celebrated entertainer and close friend of Dr. King.

Dorothy Cotton
, friend and colleague of Dr. King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

J. Herman Blake, sociologist and former student activist in the 1960s; co-author of Revolutionary Suicide with Huey P. Newton, co-founder of Black Panther Party for Self-Defence.

David J. Garrow, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Del Mackenzie, CBC Radio's sound engineer on Dr. King's CBC Massey Lectures.

Lew Auerbach,  IDEAS producer in 1967.


Left to right, Del Mackenzie, Janet Somerville and Lew Auerbach. Photo by Craig Desson, CBC Radio

The original 1967 CBC Massey Lectures, Conscience for Change by Martin Luther King, Jr. is out-of-print. The lectures have been re-published in The Lost Massey Lectures: Recovered Classics from Five Great Thinkers, published by House of Anansi Press.

Watch A CBC Radio IDEAS Reunion

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The speech excerpts featured on the program are copyright property of the King Center.
They are: Conscience for Change (December 1967); I Have A Dream (August 1963); Where Do We Go From Here? (August 1967); Why I'm Opposed to the War in Vietnam (April 1967); But If Not (November 1967); Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution (March 1968); The Drum Major Instinct (February 1968)

We've also created a preview of tonight's show.  You can watch it below. 

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At one point in our interview with Dorothy Cotton, she broke into song and captivated everyone in studio. We didn't have room for it in the documentary, but you can hear it here:

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