Martin Luther King, Jr, Cesar Chavez, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Alex Haley, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Muhammad Ali, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. George C. Wallace, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, Richard Pryor, Eartha Kitt, James Brown, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rachel and Jackie Robinson, Eldridge Cleaver, and James Baldwin, Shirley Chisholm, and Wilt Chamberlain.
These are just a few of the names who noted political analyst and author Earl Ofari Hutchinson shares with the reader his thrill of seeing, hearing, talking with, interviewing, and engaging with. These are personalities who in many cases have become national and international icons and his coverage of the figures momentous events that they were central to. He writes not from what he heard or read about these individuals and events but from his actual personal interaction with these individuals and events.
He gives his personal impressions of them and the tumultuous events of an era in his half century of work as a journalist, reporter, broadcaster, and political activist in his new book From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History.
“It was May 31, 1964. I was 18 and my father said that he’d like for me to go with him to an event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He said it would be an event that I would long remember. He was right. The event that my father was determined that I attend with him was billed as a “Religious Witness for Human Dignity.” I knew from the many religious types who were in the crowd this was a multi-faith event. Shortly after being seated, all eyes turned to the main Coliseum tunnel entrance. A slow procession of priests, rabbis, and protestant ministers marched solemnly out of the tunnel onto the Coliseum running track. The crowd immediately roared when they marched into view.
All eyes were immediately locked on the small, short, nattily-dressed man at the head of the procession. The man, whom everyone intently watched, smiled broadly and waved to the cheering crowd. We were seated in the front section near the railing. Like many others in the crowd, I stared at Dr. King with a mix of awe and wonderment. “
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and social issues commentator. He is a syndicated columnist and a feature contributor to the Huffington Post. His columns have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Hutchinson is the author of ten books on race and social change in America. He is the National Political Writer for New America Media and the Los Angeles Wave Newspaper. He hosts two syndicated public affairs and issues radio talk shows on KTYM Radio and KPFK Pacifica Network Radio Los Angeles, and a weekly commentator on the Radio-One Network.He is also a guest MSNBC Political Analyst.
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