Martin Luther King Jr.

Meet Robert Brown

Jan 18, 2016
Image of Robert Brown (second from right) meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his assistant Bernard Lee and Rev. L.V. Booth.
Robert Brown

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year. To hear a follow up to this interview with Robert Brown, click here

Robert Brown is one of the most influential North Carolinians you’ve never heard of.

A picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dick DeMarsico / Wikipedia

Organizations across North Carolina will host volunteer events, book drives, and unity marches to mark Martin Luther King Junior Day. King would have turned 87-years-old Friday. The national holiday is Monday.

The image of Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. Durham-based printmaker Bill Fick is making prints of this image to spur conversation about what iconography means in the digital age.
Bill Fick

Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. His portrait is often displayed alongside those of presidents and religious figures.

For many, his image evokes the ongoing fight for racial equality, but his image also spurs controversy. Not everyone agrees about how to use it, and more broadly, whether he should be considered the central civil rights icon.

President Richard Nixon greeting Robert and his late wife Sallie Brown in the White House
Robert Brown

In the 1960s, High Point resident Robert Brown worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. as a fundraiser. Brown has also advised several prominent American politicians, including Senators John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, and Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

An image of MLK
Public Doman

“I have a dream tonight. It is a dream rooted deeply in the American dream.”

Eight months before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C., he spoke these words to a crowd of 1,800 people in a Rocky Mount gymnasium on November 27, 1962.

Meet Robert Brown

Aug 3, 2015
Image of Brown meeting with Nelson Mandela in South Africa at his home in Johannesburg.
Robert Brown

Robert Brown is one of the most influential North Carolinians you’ve never heard of.

He had a pretty humble start in High Point, where he was born and raised. He was among the city’s first African-American police officers in the 1950s.

But he moved on quickly, first as a federal drug enforcement officer, and then as an adviser to some of the world’s most powerful people: Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Nixon, Nelson Mandela and John F. Kennedy, and that’s only part of the list.

Rev. Gil Caldwell (far right) with Martin Luther King, Jr.
truthinprogress.com

In 2007, Methodist Reverend Frank Schaefer performed the marriage service for his son Tim's wedding.

The seemingly routine action dramatically altered Schaefer's career because the same-sex union was prohibited by the church. Schaefer’s performance of marriage vows put him at the center of a controversy. He was stripped of his credentials but after a trial, the defrocking was overturned.

Wiliam Henry Curry joins us to talk about his life and career.
ncsymphony.org

When he was only 14 years old, William Henry Curry's music teacher handed him a small wooden baton and said, "I think you'd make a good conductor."

But Curry already knew he was born to be a conductor. In the more than four decades since, he has conducted more than 40 orchestras and some of the world's most renowned symphonies. 

  Host Frank Stasio talks with Curry about his career, facing racial challenges, the difficulties of composing orchestral music and his 19 years conducting the North Carolina Symphony. 

At the end of Selma, the new movie about a pivotal campaign in the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) rises to address a crowd in front of a courthouse.

It's a recreation of the moment in which King gave one of his most well-known speeches: "How Long? Not Long." You know the one: "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

But as the scene goes on, none of the actual language from that speech shows up.

Cover to the first installment of John Lewis' March trilogy of graphic novels
topshelfcomix.com

Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) was once inspired to fight for civil rights by a comic book about Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent protest in Montgomery, Alabama. 

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