King in the Wilderness

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King in the Wilderness
King in the Wilderness.png
Directed byPeter Kunhardt
Produced by
CinematographyClair Popkin
Edited by
  • Steven J. Golliday
  • Maya Mumma
Music bySaul Simon MacWilliams
Kunhardt Films
Distributed byHBO
Release dates
  • April 2, 2018 (2018-04-02)
CountryUnited States

King in the Wilderness is an American documentary film about Martin Luther King Jr. that premiered on April 2, 2018 on HBO, focusing on the final two years of his life leading up to his assassination on April 4, 1968. The film includes some never-before-seen footage of interviews with some of those closest to King interspersed with historical archives during a period of his life. In addition to upsetting both President Lyndon Johnson and the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, as well as numerous other opposition groups, and despite King's own self-doubts as he was coming to terms with his possible death, he refused to back away from the civil rights and anti-war challenges of his times.[2][3][4]

The film focuses on events in King's life and the civil rights movement such as the Chicago Freedom Movement, the James Meredith march, the anti-Vietnam War protests and King's "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" speech, the 1967 riots, preparation for the Poor People's Campaign, the Memphis sanitation strike, the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, and King's assassination and funeral.

King in the Wilderness won an Emmy for Outstanding Historical Documentary at the 40th News and Documentary Emmy Awards.[5][6]

Among King's colleagues and friends interviewed in the documentary are Bernard Lafayette, Andrew Young, Diane Nash, John Lewis, Dorothy Cotton, Joan Baez, Xernona Clayton, Jesse Jackson, Mary Lou Finley, Cleveland Sellers, and C. T. Vivian.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "King-in-the-wilderness".
  2. ^ "Exclusive: Watch the trailer for HBO's MLK documentary 'King in the Wilderness'". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  3. ^ "'King in the Wilderness': Film Review | Sundance 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  4. ^ Hale, Andreas. "HBO's Documentary King in the Wilderness Is a Chilling Portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final 18 Months on Earth". The Root. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  5. ^ "NOMINEES FOR THE 40th ANNUAL NEWS & DOCUMENTARY EMMY® AWARDS ANNOUNCED – The Emmys". Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  6. ^ "Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary - News & Documentary Emmys: 2019 Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-17.

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