*Los Angeles, CA — March 7 marks the 50th anniversary of the bloody attack on civil rights protesters in Selma. The civil rights marches there led to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act. It also marked the start of an era of unprecedented upheaval in America. Here are a few names that were central to that drama.
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. Hutchinson takes the reader on a fast paced, highly readable, and enjoyable remembrance of those times. He gives a you are there sweeping feel of events from Dr. King’s civil rights battles to the entrance in the White House of President Obama.
From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History seeks to convey the exhilaration the author feels at having walked in the shadow of history of a Dr. King, a Miles Davis, a John Lennon, a Bob Marley, and many others. Hutchinson’s mission is to make the reader feel the exhilaration he felt meeting the people whose monumental accomplishments affected the lives of millions over a half century from the mid-1960s to the first decade of the 21st Century.
Here’s a peek at how he gives the reader a personal glimpse into a historic event and personality in 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. “
Hutchinson presents the personalities that he interacted with not as legends and icons, but as real persons. From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History is a personal tribute to those who made magnificent contributions and refreshing breakthroughs in politics, the arts, music, film, and sports. They remain the stuff of legend today. Hutchinson was proud to be a witness to their accomplishments. He tells that story in From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History.
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.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
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Los Angeles, Ca. 90043