We’ve observed the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in books, speeches and transcripts. But the opportunity to witness the trailblazing civil rights icon speaking candidly in an interview beside some of his most valued friends is much more scarce.
In a rarely circulated episode from June 1967 of The Merv Griffin Show, Dr. King, who appears alongside his close friend and fellow activist Harry Belafonte, shares powerful insight on the state of race in America at the time.
The interview ― referred to by Griffin as a “rare opportunity” for the show and recently obtained by getTV ― gives us a glimpse into King’s reflections on the Vietnam War, civil rights demonstrations as well as the evolution of the black American’s spirit.
“It’s given the negro a new sense of dignity, a new sense of somebody-ness and this is maybe the greatest victory that we have won,” King said on the effect the civil rights movement had on black Americans.
King also spoke on the resiliency of those involved in the movement as well as their white allies. Despite several legislative and judicial accomplishments, he acknowledged that there was much more work to be done to defeat the “cancerous racism” affecting black Americans.
While the feat is something we’re still working towards overcoming today, King had no qualms about what the resiliency of the movement’s supporters could accomplish.
“I’m not at all pessimistic about the future because I think the negro has a kind of determination,” King said. “And I think there are numerous allies in the white community with the same kind of determination. And with this kind of creative and constructive coalition we can move forward.”
This special episode of the Merv Griffin Show will premiere Monday at 8 PM ET on getTV.