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Parents' Guide to

King: Man of Peace in a Time of War

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Inspiring documentary about iconic civil rights activist.

Movie NR 2007 60 minutes
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This solid documentary is packed with information that may be common knowledge to some, but for others -- especially younger viewers -- will be especially enlightening. As well as running through King's incredible achievements, King: Man of Peace in a Time of War also acts as a microscope to another age. A few minutes are given over to experts from King's appearance on Mike Douglas' TV talk show, in which he is grilled about his opposition to U.S. military action in Vietnam. The calm, measured, and respectful debate is a million miles from the hysterical, flashy, and combative TV displays that play out today. Seeing King deliver a mannered, intelligent, and arresting argument on the TV show, or indeed to 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial at Washington D.C., is nothing short of inspirational.

The documentary also highlights rifts between movements, such as Malcolm X's condemnation of King's non-violent approach. Like all aspects of it, just enough information is given to feel informed but also inspire the viewer into reading more about the subject. As well as being a celebration of King, the movie doesn't shy away from the chaos that followed his murder and the state of civil rights in the U.S. 50 years on. As Colin Powell says in the movie, "The danger is thinking it's all done."

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