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David Susskind: MLK Interview 1963

Monday, January 18 at 8pm on MPT

On June 9, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the special guest on a national television talk show hosted by David Susskind, a renowned producer well remembered for his interviews discussing social issues of the 1960’s, such as race, sexuality, and the Vietnam War. Susskind risked his life and career by conducting this wide-ranging interview with Dr. King.

Among the subjects discussed were:

  • The state of the American Civil Rights Movement and the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama; and,
  • Dr. King's disappointment at the speed at which the Kennedy Administration was moving regarding Civil Rights legislation.

The interview so rattled the White House that President Kennedy responded by going on national television to defend his Administration's positions and to outline his push for what would later become the Civil and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.

Despite its historical importance, this 1963 interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been seemingly lost to the sands of time. However, it has been unearthed and restored by The Paley Center, and can now be presented again, in full.

Many of the issues discussed almost 60 years ago by King and Susskind are still prevalent today.


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