DVD REVIEW:  Smithsonian Channel: MLK Assassination Tapes 
RELEASE DATE: July 17, 2012 
DISC INFORMATION: 1 disc, color, Widescreen 
RUNNING TIME:  46 minutes 
RATED: Not Rated (Probably would be PG or PG-13 for violence) 
GENRE:  Documentary/ History

This documentary pieces together the last moments of Dr. Martin Luther King using news reels, radio commentaries,  photographs, and interviews.  From his first arrival in March of 1968 to speak on the behalf of sanitation workers and their union in Memphis to the events leading up to his assassination in April of 1968 and eventual apprehension of his shooter several years later.  This film cuts the news coverage together to tell the story with facts and pictures in an unbiased view.

The pictures that were uncovered for this documentary are emotional and in some cases hard to see.  The photos of him just shortly after being shot and before the EMT’s were able to move him, the photos of his wife coming to claim his body, the photos of the aftermath of the riots that ensued and the photos of the funeral are both captivating and haunting.  It is very horrible to see in some places and done with care to not cast shadows on any side of the coin.  

His last speech saying that he was OK if this was the end of his life because he had done what he needed to do in the path of the Lord will send chills up your spine.  The speech was given just 22 hours before he was shot on the balcony of his Hotel in Memphis.  The aftermath of his death led to the Sanitation Workers’ Union being recognized and a salary raise given to the men who held those jobs.

This film also covers the riots that occurred before and after Dr. King’s assassination, not only in Memphis, but across the US.  The rioting caused such a turmoil that even though our men and women were fighting in Vietnam, our government had to call on the Reserves and the National Guard to get control of its people.  It is a very sad point in the American History books for all of America.  

Very well done documentary that covers a very violent part of our history.  Informative and interesting, this film covers all the way up to the apprehension of the shooter in England several years later.  A great addition to any historian’s collection or history bug alike.  

That’s my review and I’m sticking to it!

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