A seldom told chapter in Dr. King's battle for civil rights unfolded in Chicago. That chapter will play before a national audience on PBS in a documentary examining the life of Sargeant Shriver Monday evening. CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports on the events that many believe rescued King from a possible lynching.I hope someone who reads this blog can perhaps let me know how this documentary went. If I can't run into it on TV, I can surely purchase it from PBS.
In the fall of 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested on trumped up traffic charges and sentenced to four months hard labor in Georgia.
"They came to the cell and they shined the light in his face and he didn't know where he was going," said the late Coretta Scott King in one of her last interviews, recalling her husband's frightening ordeal.
"They handcuffed him and put chains around his legs and put a big dog with him and put him in the back of the car," she said. "For all they knew, they were taking him out someplace to lynch him."
Shriver felt his party should reach out to King.
In a documentary premiering on PBS Monday night, Chicago filmmaker Bruce Orenstein chronicles how a phone call to Mrs. King from Democratic presidential candidate John Kennedy became front page news in the black press and eventually helped lead to King's release.
"The reaction within the black community across the country overwhelmingly moves the vote toward Kennedy," said Orenstein.
The politically risky call that could have alienated white southern voters was instigated just after Chicago's historic televised debates by Sargeant Shriver, Kennedy's brother-in-law and civil rights adviser.
"Shriver is rushing to reach Kennedy to get him to make this call and it's taking place here in Chicago," Orenstein said.
It's only one chapter in the life of Shriver that's chronicled in the film "American Idealist."
Sargent Shriver Documentary -From Poverty to Opportunity Campaign