‘Meet the Press’ and the pervasive racism of 1963

So, “Meet the Press” rebroadcast the interview with Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins that aired three days before the March on Washington in 1963. Take a look:

Here’s what I got out of it.

The questions for the most part were the fear mongering you’d expect from Fox News. References to “militant Negroes” (with an emphasis on the Southern pronounciation of “nig”), allegations of being communist dupes, a tie in to Puerto Rican terrorism and constant badgering that essentially came down to “how you gonna keep those crazy black people from actin’ up an goin’ wild.”

The questioners are contemptible. The racism in the questioning is off the charts. And the outright dismissal of any effort toward racial equality is an abomination.

People who participated in the March on Washington were gathering to exercise their rights to equality under the Constitution. But these vermin of the establishment press were doing all they could to scare white America and justify the continued oppression of an entire race.

How King and Wilkins managed to get through this interview without saying, “What the hell is your malfunction, dude?”, is beyond me. They exhibit an amazing show of restraint. But then you look at how much the freedom movement went through (people were arrested, assaulted and murdered by state sanctioned bigotry), and it’s obvious the only thing they could do was practice restraint in the face of uncontrolled violence.

And these questioners (all white, all male) never emphasized that the true danger of that time came from those who were against civil rights.

It really is a wonder why NBC ran this at all.

 

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