With M.L.K. Day approaching, we look at a forthcoming book that traces the response to King's assassination -- both here and around the world. At the time of his murder, King was a polarizing figure; indeed, it took until the year 2000 for New Hampshire to recognize the slain civil rights leader with a federal holiday.  We talk with UNH professor Jason Sokol about his book and about how America's fraught racial past has shaped current race relations.

This show originally aired on January 4th, 2018. 

1.18.16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Jan 18, 2016
Minnesota Historical Society via flickr Creative Commons /

Think Civil Rights era, and you think the south...home to Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and peaceful marchers set upon by police dogs. Selma, Birmingham, Little Rock. Well, how about Boston and Brooklyn?  Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a history of progress and regression in a region that considered itself blind to race. 

Also today, the songs of Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger provided a soundtrack for an era of optimism and anger. If we have indeed entered a new Civil Rights era, what do today's protests songs sound like?

Plus, the untold story of one of Martin Luther King Jr's confidantes, businessman Stanley Levison.

Remembering The March On Washington

Jan 19, 2015
MadGrin / Flickr Creative Commons

We talked with African Americans living in northern New England about the civil rights protest that helped change the course of racial history in the US.  Fifty years later, Americans are still contemplating the legacy of that day and debating the extent to which Dr. Martin Luther king’s dream of racial equality has been fulfilled.


Minnesota Historical Society

On a Monday morning the weather more closely resembled Martin Luther King Jr’s hometown of Atlanta, than it did downtown Concord. But the heat and humidity didn’t discourage those who had gathered at the statehouse for the historic bill signing.

The War On Poverty Starts With The Economy

Jan 20, 2014
Hanibaael via Flickr Creative Commons

Fifty years ago this month President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a nearly $950-million anti-poverty bill into law, creating Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Economic Opportunity Act. President Johnson envisioned a wealthy country where no child would go unfed or unschooled.  Five decades on, the official poverty rate has dropped, but childhood poverty is on the rise, as is income inequality. With no victory to declare, is it time for another war on poverty? Our guest is Angela Glover Blackwell. She responded to that question in New York Times’ “Room for Debate” series. She is founder and CEO of Policy Link, a national research and action institute which works to improve access and opportunity for people of color and residents of low-income community. 

Trikosko, Marion S. via Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther King Junior’s ‘I Have a Dream' speech is not in the public domain. The King Estate holds strict copyrights on the famous 1963 speech, claiming it as private intellectual property. But many scholars point out that the laws allowing the King Estate to own the speech are the same laws King himself broke while giving the speech. The tradition of orating is one of sharing ideas, and many preachers of the time, including King, would reference each other’s sermons or any words, past or present,  they felt were relevant. On The Media producer Jamie York has the story of how King preached at the height of his prowess, and his family’s demands that his publicly sourced speech remain privately owned by them.

The Songs That Shaped 'I Have A Dream'

Jan 20, 2014
Archives de la Ville de Montréal via Flickr Creative Commons

On August 28th, 1963, minutes before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his landmark 'I Have a Dream' speech, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson electrified and moved the crowd with took to the stage and sang two traditional  spirituals. Our guest, Jonathan Rieder says her performance wasn’t intended only to evoke an emotional response, but also, to connect the struggle for civil rights to the fight to abolish slavery more than a century before. Jonathan’s article in The New Yorker,  called “Songs of the Slaves: The Music of M.L.K’s ‘I Have a Dream’" details how traditional black music fueled Dr. King’s ground-breaking  speech.

N.H. Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Jan 21, 2013
Emily Corwin / NHPR

Community members gathered at events in Portsmouth, Hollis, and across the state today/Monday to celebrate the life – and the mission -- of Martin Luther King Jr.

Manchester, NH celebrated its 31st annual Martin Luther King Day community celebration at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral.  

The Keynote speaker, Richard Haynes, is the Associate Director of Admissions for Diversity at UNH. He says he thinks about Martin Luther King’s legacy every day, as he drives to the University in Dover.