April 2, 2008
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR

   

NPR NEWS MARKS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. ASSASSINATION
WITH SPECIAL REPORTS ON ALL PROGRAMS, APRIL 3-APRIL 11

COVERAGE PART OF NPR NEWS’ “ECHOES OF 1968” SERIES;
EXAMINES IMPACT OF THAT ERA ON CURRENT AMERICAN POLITICS AND CULTURE



April 2, 2008; Washington, D.C. – The tragedy that transpired outside of a Memphis hotel room on the evening of April 4, 1968, remains a defining moment in American life. NPR News marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of special reports and interviews, airing April 3 to April 11 across all NPR News programs and at www.NPR.org

This coverage marks the launch of “Echoes of 1968,” a year-long NPR News series recalling the events of 1968 and their influence on American politics, culture and society in the four decades since.

Highlights of NPR’s coverage include an interview with the Reverend Billy Kyles, who invited Dr. King to Memphis in 1968, about Dr. King’s defining “Mountaintop” speech, during Morning Edition on April 3; a profile of the civil rights leader’s political influence, on Day to Day on April 4; and a look back at how Dr. King spent his final day, on All Things Considered on April 4. Also on April 4: News & Notes hears from notable African Americans about how they learned of the tragedy and how it changed their lives, and Tell Me More will feature a discussion about Dr. King’s charismatic preaching style.

On several programs, NPR News examines the rioting in the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 one week later – the effects of which are still being felt in communities around the country. NPR News reporter Allison Keyes visits Prince Georges County, MD, a then-rural area where many Washington, D.C. residents fled following the riots, to see how life has changed in the decades since, for a report airing on Weekend Edition Sunday on April 6. Tell Me More host Michel Martin tours the Baltimore neighborhoods that were affected by rioting and discusses their continued path to recovery, airing April 7. Later in the week, NPR News reporter Cheryl Corley follows the evolution of publicly-funded housing initiatives following the Civil Rights Act, during All Things Considered on April 11.

Other stories and interviews related to the anniversary will air throughout this week and next week on all NPR newsmagazines. They include:

Wednesday, April 2
News & Notes: Host Farai Chideya talks with Clarence B. Jones, author of What Would Martin Say?. Jones spent eight years with Dr. King as both his private attorney and one of his closest advisers.

Thursday, April 3
The Bryant Park Project: Host Alison Stewart interviews CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien about her investigative documentary about Dr. King’s assassin, James Earl Ray.

Thursday, April 3
Talk of the Nation: Host Neal Conan interviews Michael Eric Dyson, author of the new book April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How it Changed America.

Monday, April 7
Morning Edition: Host Steve Inskeep visits with residents and business owners in areas of Washington, D.C. affected by the rioting in 1968, to talk about how the neighborhoods have changed since.

NOTE: Broadcast dates and show assignments are subject to change. Please check www.NPR.org for NPR News’ complete coverage of this anniversary. To find local NPR Member stations and broadcast times for each program, visit www.NPR.org/stations