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*Suddenly, 44 years after his assassination, there’s a lot of interest in Martin Luther King Jr. by filmmakers.
At one point last year “Memphis” was one of 5 MLK productions in the pipeline … all at varying stages of development.
The bottom line is that only ONE of the five projects has the backing of the King estate. That would be the undertaking from the Oprah Winfrey/HBO/Steven Spielberg/DreamWorks coalition
Hold on. Not so fast. Now it appears that “Memphis” is back on track after being in limbo for the past year or so, according to Shadow and Act.
Last we wrote about the Paul Greengrass-directed MLK assassination pic, “Memphis,” which was once a sure-thing, the studio backing it, Universal Pictures, had backed out of financing and distributing the film.
Why? Word on the street was that there was pressure from the MLK estate (and Andrew Young’s objections) to call off the project, because they were unhappy with the script.
The film, which was supposed to focus on the events leading up to King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, while he was trying to organize the city’s sanitation workers in spring of 1968; but it would have also highlighted his infidelity, which there was strong opposition to. It will also focus on the manhunt for James Earl Ray.
Tonight, Deadline is reporting that the project looks to be alive again, with French distribution company Wild Bunch getting behind the project, and super producer Scott Rudin producing, after almost a year in hiatus, and it just might be up next for Greengrass.
Meanwhile, entertainment industry blog Deadline also says that they’ve read the script, and called “Oscar caliber stuff.”
*In a recent article, Dr. Boyce Watkins posited that he sees history replaying itself. He sees Barack Obama as John F. Kennedy and Dr. Cornel West (pictured) as Martin Luther King Jr.
In other words, and this is deep, Cornel West is Martin Luther King, the preacher/scholar who is determined to die telling the truth, no matter what the consequence may be.
“It’s important to remember, he writes, “that it was possible to love both Kennedy and King,even as Dr. King refused to work for even the most benevolent politicians (as Rev. Al Sharpton has done with the Obama Administration). In the same vein, it is possible to love both Cornel West and Barack Obama, and I find myself in that category.”
Cornel West is, in my opinion, the most dangerous black man in America, and that’s why most self-serving, manipulative politicians hate him. There is nothing the establishment fears more than a highly-intelligent,conscientious, powerful, courageous and determined black man. Among all of the public figures I’ve had the chance to interact with, Cornel West has been the most impressive and the most persuasive: Even those who disagree with him respect him in the end, and his agenda is not tainted by a quest for money, fame or power. In my assessment, Dr. West is simply “burdened” with the intense desire to honor a higher power by relentlessly advocating for those who are less-fortunate, which can be a crime in a capitalist society.
In a recent interview,Tavis Smiley asked if President Obama is ever going to say the words “prison industrial complex” in public. Perhaps there are those who don’t care or think that these problems belong to other people. But I’ve seen families up close who’ve been devastated by this issue, and this is simply a fight I cannot ignore. Other matters, such as black unemployment,urban violence and unequal educational systems are not problems that we created ourselves, and similar to white Americans, we too have the right to demand that our tax dollars be used to help resolve these issues. Anyone who attacks a black person for speaking up for black people might need to check his psyche.
In the same interview as Smiley, Dr. West goes directly at those who should be his allies, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, and Melissa Harris-Perry, using the term “up for sale” to describe their behavior over the last two years. I consider all of these people to be friends, but the lines in the sand have been drawn by dollar bills being supplied by MSNBC like machine guns being sold to African rebels so they can kill and contain their own people. There are ways that an outside power can use its ability to reward and punish to create factions where none previously existed, making it easier to take resources from the people without compensating them. In Africa, the resource being taken might be oil, and in black America, the resource is votes. Divided black leadership and the containment/control of Al Sharpton have made black people easier to conquer for the Democratic Party.
Read/learn more at Black Blue Dog.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” –Martin Luther King
Those were the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous April 4, 1967, Riverside Church speech, 43 years ago this Easter Sunday. The speech was titled “Beyond Viet Nam: A Time to Break Silence.” It was delivered exactly one year to the day of his1968 assassination in Memphis.
The people who heard that speech recognized it as one of the most powerful speeches ever given articulating the immorality of the Viet Nam War. Some also saw that King was signing his own death warrant by exposing so forcefully the war crimes that were being committed daily in what the courageous Jesuit prophet Daniel Berrigan, who personally witnessed what was going on in the killing fields of Viet Nam, described as “an overwhelming atrocity.”
King and Berrigan were speaking out from their deeply felt sense of moral outrage and anguish over the horrible suffering of the millions of innocent, unarmed Vietnamese civilians. They both knew that women and children were the main victims of modern warfare, especially wars that utilized so indiscriminately the massive arsenal of highly lethal weapons, including one of the US Air Force’s favorites, napalm, which burned the flesh off of whatever part of the body that the flaming, jellied gasoline splashed on. Berrigan often used the phrase “The Land of the Burning Children” when he wrote and spoke about what he had seen in Viet Nam.
Both of these courageous prophets knew about the atrocities that American soldiers and Marines were ordered to commit in the name of “anti-communism.” And King saw the connections between the killing of dispensable “gooks” and “slants” on the battlefields of Southeast Asia and the oppression, impoverishment, imprisoning and lynching of “dispensable blacks” in America. Racism was alive and well in the US military and it didn’t differentiate between foreign or domestic targets.
King was being faithful to the nonviolent teachings of Jesus of Nazareth by speaking out against injustice wherever he saw it. He knew that the willingness to use the violence of racism or the violence of orchestrated poverty or the violence of militarism had the same sources: fear of “the other” and the perceived need to defend, by the use of violence if necessary, one’s own wealth and privilege, no matter how unjustly they were acquired.
King knew that the opposition to his civil rights movement – and now his outspoken anti-Viet Nam War stance – was formidable: from indifferent or frightened bystanders everywhere (whose silence gave consent to the violence) to privileged white Christian churches in the south who wanted the movement to “go slow” to cruel racists, including the Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Councils in the south to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI in the north. Those groups were dangerous enough, but by speaking out he was opposing entrenched systems of racism, economic oppression and militarism, each of which had the power to unleash lethal violence against any and all perceived enemies, especially those of the powerless underclass.
Tremendous fortunes are made in every war, and the Viet Nam War was no exception. Weapons manufacturers thrived, becoming more deeply entrenched as each batch of industry lobbyists and their media propaganda became more and more successful. Hundreds of billions of dollars yearly, all tax-and-spend or tax-and-borrow expenditures, were spent for weapons research and development.
Large numbers of workers were hired to work in hundreds of huge weapons factories in every legislative district in the nation, and the economy boomed — but it boomed on tax money that then couldn’t be spent for other projects. And so the war-making and the wars were popular with the investor class, the power elite, the Pentagon, the CIA, most politicians, the defense industries and, of course, the people who needed the jobs.