Last night the Help was fixated on the television watching a Mike Douglas interview of Rev. Martin Luther King on Bounce (I think, forgot what channel we were watching), which was part of some documentary on Dr.King. The thing was this wasn't a typical small snippet of an interview, but as far as I could tell it was the whole Mike Douglas interview and if it weren't for the other stuff that came later, we thought it was a rebroadcast of The Mike Douglas Show, which was on the air from 1961-1980.
What made this interview special was that it wasn't your usual highlight reel of Dr. King that gets put out. Rather it was Dr. King on the War in Vietnam, the fact that he was not on the same page with other civil rights figures (ex. Stokley Carmichael), and why he wasn't a Communist. For that last one he pointed out that he was a Baptist minister above all, and the two belief systems/philosophies aren't compatable. We are quite familiar with Dr. King and the issue of race, but how familiar are we with Dr. King and his anti-war stance, Dr. King and labor/ workers rights, or Dr. King and the body of Christ in the world? Anyway it was a great interview.
This got me thinking about other 'historical figures' who are now known more by their name and less by what made them an historical figure in the first place. Who is Nannie Helen Burroughs, besides some road that traffic gets backed up upon? Anna J. Cooper was an educator and tiny traffic circle in LeDroit, but anything else about her, or do we stop at the shorthand of 'educator' and move on? Luckily enough people still listen (and dance) to the recordings of Duke Ellington, so he's not just a 'musician' or a set of expensive condos.