Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

David Remnick on The New Yorker‘s superb tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The commemoration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., comes just as the Senate, and the entire country, is embroiled in a battle over voting rights. Once more, ballot access is in peril, with members of racial minorities disproportionately affected. The future of the country as a multiracial democracy depends on this battle, one initiated long before Dr. King, but one that seemed to reach some measure of resolution under his leadership in the mid-sixties. Today we’re bringing you a selection of pieces about the significance of Dr. King’s extraordinary work and devotion to principle. In “The Selma March,” Renata Adler chronicles the march from Selma to Montgomery, in 1965, that galvanized President Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the nation. In “When I Met Dr. King,” Charlayne Hunter-Gault writes about a chance meeting with King during the summer of 1961, several months after she became one of the very first Black students to enroll at the University of Georgia. In “The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi,” Calvin Trillin, who covered the movement for the magazine for many years, writes about an airline flight on which he witnessed King’s debate with an opponent of civil rights. In “The Prophecies of George Floyd,” Michael Eric Dyson describes the aftermath of Floyd’s death and how that event resonated with King’s prophecy of his own violent end. Finally, in “Death of a King,” Jelani Cobb examines the legacy of the Kerner Report, which examined the causes of American racial riots during the sixties, and King’s murder.

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David Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker since 1998 and a staff writer since 1992. He has written many pieces for the magazine, including reporting from Russia, the Middle East, and Europe, and Profiles of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Katharine Graham, Mike Tyson, Ralph Ellison, Philip Roth, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Remnick began his reporting career as a staff writer at the Washington Post in 1982, where he covered stories for the Metro, Sports, and Style sections. In 1988, he started a four-year tenure as a Washington Post Moscow correspondent, an experience that formed the basis of his 1993 book on the former Soviet Union, Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. In 1994, “Lenin’s Tomb” received both the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction and a George Polk Award for excellence in journalism.



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