African American History since the Civil War

The title of the film picked is MLK: A Call to Consciousness on the second episode of Tavis Smiley Reports which examines Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stand against the Vietnam War and the influence of his legacy today. Tavis speaks with scholars and friends of King, including Cornel West, Vincent Harding and Susannah Heschel.

This is the film which Tavis Smiley gives an account on Dr. Martin Luther king jr in which he delivered his most challenging and controversial call to conscience on 4th April 1967 one day to the day he would be killed In Memphis where every available space was jammed with listeners on the minister of the increasingly unpopular war in Asia and it was also the year which was already filled with often times of violent outburst and rage in the American cities.

The central messages of this documentary is the Insistence that the war in Vietnam was destroying the American sole and by only ending the bombing and bringing back the American troops  and  focusing on the needs of the poor and disenfranchise the rights at home in America with all of the promise could survive the bombings. Dr. Martin Luther king emphasizes that they have to speak and break the silence of the atrocities on going in Vietnam. “Some of us who have already began to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is always a vocation of agony but we must speak.” – Martin Luther king

Martin Luther king urges the importance of non-violence reconciliation at a time of war and the criticality of renewed commitment to economic and social justice which has the most arguable teachings today on honorable solutions of conflicts for example the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and narrow the gap between rich and poor at home in America Dr king dedicates himself to non-violence.


Legal changes greatly compelled and influenced the opportunities available to women, nonblack minorities, disabled individuals, and other victims of discrimination. The weaknesses entails the blacks fighting for their rights but use unlawful tactics like vandalism which is not according to martin Luther king philosophy.

The film by Travis smiley gives an account of martin Luther king emphasizing on individuals and the nation as a whole to undergo a radical evolution of values and rapidly begin to shift from a thing oriented society to a human oriented society. He also gives a social justice message whereby he talks about profit motives and personal interests of those owning properties considered more important than people where racism, extreme materialism and militarism not being possible to be conquered the Vietnam war facilitated a devastating hopes of the poor at home by taking the black young men, crippled society for liberties in southeast Asia which they have not found in south west Georgia and east Harlem (Martin Luther king)

In comparison of the documentary take on the Vietnam War and the ongoing Afghanistan and Iraq war there is still confusion on whether the current war in the Middle East is a mistake. Martin Luther king insists that war is not the answer and communism will never be defeated by the use of bombs. Hence there is a rejection of comparison between war in Afghanistan and the Vietnam War because some believe that it is a good war. There is constant quagmire whether the resources used in the war in Afghanistan can be used to fund poverty and education programs in America.

This film clearly brought in to picture the misconception that the black were a community doomed and never deserved any civil rights and thus they were an important part of the society as a whole in achieving social justice and reconciliation for economic progression and the fundamental aspect of peace and harmony in a Nation.


The best lesson obtained from this film is the importance of thinking critically before actions. Hence this documentary highlight the significance of decision making because there is realization that the Vietnam war was a big mistake and even war time secretary of defense Robert McNamara conceded this before his death in 2009 because it lead to lack of peace and was seen as a weakness of the American political policy. Thus this resulted in many people in the civil rights envy on taking on Vietnam War while the civil right was still to be won. It has also helped in learning the importance of individuality whereby even though closely everyone criticizes martin Luther king take on the Vietnam war as wrong move he still stands up for his beliefs which later changes the future of America.

This film is very fundamental in appreciating the African American History since it gives a foundational account of how the civil rights movement lead by martin Luther king was able to create a shift from war to peace and harmony among blacks and the white government from in 1965, 1966 and 1967. It has enhanced the comprehension of contemporary African American history by explaining the shift from the use of racial inspired violence to the use of nonviolence to bring about change whereby the federal government made a legislative lead with initiatives such as voting rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The history has contributed in understanding the post-Civil War constitutional amendments that was able to abolished slavery and established the citizenship status of blacks.


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