The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Monday, January 16, 2023

King (1978, Part Two) [TV Movie]

"King" (1978, Part II) is the second installment of the NBC made-for-television miniseries about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Written and directed by Abby Mann, the first episode of "King" suffered in the National Neilsen Ratings coming in 64th out of 64 shows. Dead last. 

The lack of viewership was due to multiple factors. For example, "King" aired against Burt Renyolds' "Gator" on CBS and "How the West was Won" on ABC. Both shows brought in large audiences more interested in the entertainment factor. "King" was an honest portrayal of a civil rights leader killed in recent American history. However, just a year before, "Roots" ranked as one of the highest-rated television shows for that year. Plus, "King" had events that were still ongoing in American society. As good as the cast was for "King," "Roots" had more extensive and relatable characters in comparison. While two different shows, these major network companies look to demographic information when greenlighting certain films.

Part II of "King" was driven mainly by Windfield, while everyone else seemed to have faded into the background a little more. Still, the movie addressed critical issues with valuable historical context, which draws you into the film's story. So, perhaps, the film serves better today than when NBC aired it because that history was fresh; that same history today, at least the details of it, is slowly withering into the abyss of time.

Director: Abby Mann
Writer: Abby Mann

Starring Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson, Ernie Hudson, Howard E. Rollins, Al Freeman Jr., Roscoe Lee Browne, Ernie Lee Banks, Ossie Davis, Steven Hill, Lonny Chapman, Cliff De Young, Clu Gulager, William Jordan, Warren J. Kemmerling, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Kenneth McMillan, David Spielberg, Dolph Sweet, Dick Anthony Williams, Art Evans, Frances Foster, Charles Robinson, Roger Robinson, Sheila Frazier, Tony Bennett, Julian Bond, Bill Cobbs

Part two of a three-part biographical portrait of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chronicles his leadership of the Birmingham desegregation campaign, arrest following protest demonstrations, his 1964 Nobel Peace prize, and his famed Selma-to-Montgomery march.