The story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stretching from his days as a Southern Baptist minister up to his assassination in Memphis in 1968.




Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 8 nominations. See more awards »





Series cast summary:
Paul Winfield ...  Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 3 episodes, 1978
Cicely Tyson ...  Coretta Scott King 3 episodes, 1978
Tony Bennett ...  Self 3 episodes, 1978
Roscoe Lee Browne ...  Philip Harrison 3 episodes, 1978
Lonny Chapman ...  Chief Frank Holloman 3 episodes, 1978
Ossie Davis ...  Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. 3 episodes, 1978
Cliff De Young ...  Robert F. Kennedy 3 episodes, 1978
Al Freeman Jr. ...  Damon Lockwood 3 episodes, 1978
Clu Gulager ...  William Sullivan 3 episodes, 1978
Steven Hill ...  Stanley Levison 3 episodes, 1978
William Jordan William Jordan ...  John F. Kennedy 3 episodes, 1978
Warren J. Kemmerling ...  Lyndon Johnson 3 episodes, 1978
Lincoln Kilpatrick ...  Jerry Waring 3 episodes, 1978
Kenneth McMillan ...  Bull Connor 3 episodes, 1978
Howard E. Rollins Jr. ...  Andrew Young 3 episodes, 1978
David Spielberg ...  David Beamer 3 episodes, 1978
Dolph Sweet ...  J. Edgar Hoover 3 episodes, 1978
Dick Anthony Williams ...  Malcolm X 3 episodes, 1978
Art Evans ...  A.D. King 3 episodes, 1978
Roger Robinson ...  Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth 3 episodes, 1978
Terry Alexander ...  Bernard Lee 3 episodes, 1978
Robert Christian Robert Christian ...  Wallace 3 episodes, 1978
Sheila Frazier ...  June 3 episodes, 1978
Dallas Edward Hayes Dallas Edward Hayes ...  McKeecham 3 episodes, 1978
Roy Jenson ...  Sheriff Corruthers 3 episodes, 1978
Eric Olson Eric Olson ...  Robert Kennedy's son 3 episodes, 1978
Gene Woodbury Gene Woodbury ...  Claude 3 episodes, 1978
Alveda King ...  Babysitter 3 episodes, 1978
Matt Bennett ...  Reporter 3 episodes, 1978
Julian Bond ...  Self 3 episodes, 1978
Ed Call Ed Call ...  Withers 3 episodes, 1978
Ladonna Carter Ladonna Carter ...  Bonnie King 3 episodes, 1978
Ramsey Clark Ramsey Clark ...  Self 3 episodes, 1978
Hope Clarke Hope Clarke ...  Mary 3 episodes, 1978
Gary Combs ...  Young White Man 3 episodes, 1978
Christine King Christine King ...  Ferris Church Soloist 3 episodes, 1978
Jesse D. Goins ...  Harold O'Connor 3 episodes, 1978
Leon Hall ...  SNCC Militant 3 episodes, 1978
Linda Hopkins ...  Ellie 3 episodes, 1978
Bernice King Bernice King ...  Student 3 episodes, 1978
Dexter King Dexter King ...  Student #2 3 episodes, 1978
Martin Luther King III ...  Rev. Briggs 3 episodes, 1978
Nick LaTour ...  Man #1 3 episodes, 1978
Royce Wallace Royce Wallace ...  Mrs. Parker 3 episodes, 1978
Frances E. Williams Frances E. Williams ...  Mrs. Cumby 3 episodes, 1978
Wycliffe Young Wycliffe Young ...  McDonald 3 episodes, 1978
Don Chambers Don Chambers ...  Policeman 3 episodes, 1978
Jeri Gray Jeri Gray ...  Screaming Mourner in Funeral 3 episodes, 1978
Carl Irwin ...  Alabama State Trooper 3 episodes, 1978
John Lafayette 3 episodes, 1978
Saundra McClain ...  Barbara 3 episodes, 1978
Michael Witt Michael Witt ...  Freedom Rider's bus driver 3 episodes, 1978


The story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stretching from his days as a Southern Baptist minister up to his assassination in Memphis in 1968.

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User Reviews

"I've been to the mountaintop and I've seen the promised land"
14 November 2018 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Ten years after his assassination, this fine mini-series documents the adult life and times of Martin Luther King who despite some other fine folks in the field is recognized as premier among the black civil rights leaders. So acknowledged by the fact it is his birthday that is now a national holiday.

Paul Winfield with one magnificent voice captures the cadence and rhythm of Martin Luther King's poetical style of preaching. His abilities as an actor cover the inner emotions and the reasons that King is moved to do the work he did.

From being a newly minted minister and suitor for the hand of Coretta Scott played by Cicely Tyson we see the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s progress through the eyes of its titular leader.

In the supporting cast I like both William Jordan and Cliff DeYoung as the contrasting personalities of the brothers Kennedy. Jordan as the cool John F. Kennedy and DeYoung as the passionate Robert F. Kennedy. DeYoung really got the accent down impressively.

Martin Luther King certainly did have a private life and if he's regarded for sainthood by some it's for his achievements in advancing civil rights as opposed to any kind of probity in his private life. I doubt most could have stood up to the intense scrutiny he was under Said scrutiny was ordered by that most misanthropic of men in the last century J. Edgar Hoover the 48 year head of the FBI. Things that disturbed the social order like the civil rights movement got Hoover's attention. He spent his last years looking to discredit the movement quite unsuccessfully, but doing a lot of damage along the way. There's a quiet evil in the way Dolph Sweet portrayed him.

In fact some of the private behavior of King is shown in those documented moments before he's shot on a motel balcony in Memphis. You see him among his colleagues there in some down time and these guys could be a salty and rough house bunch, divinity degree notwithstanding.

One thing that did not make me happy was the elimination of Bayard Rustin from the story. I'm thinking Roscoe Lee Browne as Philip Harrison is Rustin and he's as eloquent as I remember him. I actually did meet him during the gay rights struggle in New York City when Rustin finally made it official. In 1978 his gay story was still a hush hush matter. Had King the mini-series been made in 1988 the year after Rustin died he no doubt would have been there in name as well as fact.

The best thing about King is that it makes the civil rights struggle of the time quite real and relevant. You understand the indignities that some minorities have heaped upon them. After that you just might make the connection for all minorities. If that happens you will have been to the mountaintop and seen the promised land.

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Release Date:

12 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Martin Luther King See more »

Filming Locations:

Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmways Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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