London showing for rare Martin Luther King film

Bloomsbury Baptist Church in central London is to mark the 50th anniversary year of the death of Martin Luther King with a special showing of a rarely-seen documentary film.

King: A filmed record...Montgomery to Memphis was made in 1970, only two years after King was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. 

WikipediaMartin Luther King pictured during his 'I have a dream' speech in 1963.

The three-hour film – to be shown with an interval – traces King's life and accomplishments from the 1955 bus boycott to his 1968 assassination. It uses only original newsreel and other primary material, framed by celebrity narrators including Harry Belafonte, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman and Anthony Quinn.

During the 1960s King made several visits to the UK and in 1961 he visited and preached at Bloomsbury Baptist. The film is being hosted at Bloomsbury by Baptists Together Justice Hub with Tipping Point North South.

After the screening there will be a panel discussion with contributors coming from a range of backgrounds reflecting the range scope of King's own theology and activism. Panel contributors will include Dr David Muir, Dionne Gravesande, Richard Reddie, Neil Jameson, Selina Stone, Eleasah Louis and Prof Robert Beckford.

According to Bloomsbury, King's insights into the 'triple evils' of his own day are still relevant today, with huge global military expenditure, even greater levels global inequality and a rise in racism and support for the far right.

Bloomsbury minister Rev Dr Simon Woodman said: 'It's 50 years since the assassination of Baptist minister Dr Martin Luther King Jr and his legacy looms as large as ever. This film was created to mark the second anniversary of his death, was screened across America for one night only, was nominated for an Academy Award, and then withdrawn. This is a unique opportunity to see the film in a venue where MLK preached in 1961, followed by a panel discussion on his legacy and impact with world-leading black academics and community activists.'

Admission is free. For more information click here.