Citizen King

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


In the summer of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered what was to become one of the most memorable speeches of all time. With extraordinary passion and vision, he proclaimed his dream for a nation free of racism and injustice. In commemoration of what would have been King's 75th birthday this January, veteran filmmakers Orlando Bagwell and Noland Walker explore the final five years of King's life in their richly textured documentary Citizen King. Framed by the "I Have a Dream" speech and King's assassination in Memphis, the film weaves together archival footage, personal recollections, and eyewitness accounts to evoke a powerful sense of the time and key moments in King's personal and political transformation as he struggled to dedicate himself beyond the civil rights movement and embrace a larger quest for equity and social justice in American society.

Meticulously researched and beautifully constructed, Citizen King offers fresh insight into the enormously complex challenges and decisions facing King, for which he ultimately paid the highest price. This moving document is particularly relevant today, when the politics of fear and violence cloud the American consciousness, reminding us that King's compassion and commitment to peace and social justice continue to be goals worth striving for.

— Diane Weyermann

Screening Details

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