Winner 2012

MLK: The Assassination Tapes

1895 FILMS for Smithsonian Channel

This illuminating documentary was made possible by the foresight of some University of Memphis faculty members. Sensing that a strike by the city’s black sanitation workers in February 1968 was going to be a crucial event in the Civil Rights Movement, they began collecting media coverage -– local TV, radio and print -– for their school’s archives. They continued as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. came from Atlanta to speak, march, show solidarity, and eventually meet a martyr’s death. From this trove of material, much of it never seen outside Memphis, Tom Jennings and his colleagues painstakingly cobbled together a succinct summary of King’s murder and the roiling events before and after. It’s so vivid and immersive that it seems at times to be live on television right now. For the sense of immediacy it creates even as it provides a fresh historical perspective, MLK: The Assassination Tapes receives a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: David Royle, Charles Poe, Tom Jennings. Producers: Tom Jennings, Jonny Filsinger, Ron Frank. Director: Tom Jennings. Writer: Tom Jennings. Editors: Ron Frank, David Tillman. Music: Mac Squier. Research: Woody Farmer, Ellen Farmer, Phil Prazen.