A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Airs on WQXR at 10 pm on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington, D.C. (U.S. Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons)

Tune in at 10 pm on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, on WQXR.

Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up listening to and singing church songs and saw gospel and folk music as natural tools to further the civil rights movement.

In this hour-long special from WNYC, WQXR host Terrance McKnight interweaves musical examples with Dr. King's own speeches and sermons to illustrate the powerful place that music held in his work — and examines how the musical community responded to and participated in Dr. King's cause.


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Comments [25]

Aoife from New York

This was outstanding, thank you. Professional and poignant. Educational and inspirational. It was wonderful to trace the musical accompaniment(s) to MLK, Jr.'s life.

Jan. 16 2017 02:44 PM
Anna from Brooklyn

Excellent, beautiful tribute. The way you are telling this makes it new again! Reaffirms the value, the necessity! of storytelling. Many many thanks.

Jan. 18 2016 10:44 PM
Judith Waite from Yonkers, New York

This is an amazingly great tribute to Martin Luther King Jr and the Movement. Your compilation, insights and fine editing are brilliant. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

An admiring fan,

Judith Waite

Jan. 18 2016 09:36 PM
Terry Wright

Terrance, Thank you for your scholarship. It is a marvelous program you have put together. You have a fine mind, a fine heart and I appreciate you hard work assembling such beautifully sounding programs woven with intellectual history. Keep up the great job! Terry Wright.

Jan. 19 2015 10:02 PM
Shepsl Topaz from Queens, Ny

As touching and moving a tribute and telling of the history as I've ever heard. The music said it all. Thank you, Terrence.

Jan. 19 2015 10:00 PM
Jamie Bernstein from NYC

Absolutely magnificent broadcast, Terrance. Thank you. It spoke to many, many souls tonight.

Jan. 19 2015 09:54 PM
andrew bergen from nyc

Fantastic beautiful tribute. TM you are fantastic every night!!!!!

Jan. 19 2015 09:29 PM
Herman Joseph from NYC

As usual Terrance McKnight gives a diverse fascinating musical program. A wonderful tribute to Martin Luther King. Einstein knew Marian Anderson and she stayed at his home when she was giving a concert in his neighborhood. Two giants Anderson and Einstein

Jan. 18 2015 04:08 PM
Linda from NYC

Looking forward to listening to this beautiful tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King.

Jan. 16 2015 12:54 PM

I look forward to hearing this. Just yesterday, I heard very nice settings of Lincoln and Jefferson texts (thank you, WQXR) at Carnegie Hall. History and music are great companions.

Jan. 20 2014 05:06 PM
Mr. Rupert Davis from Manhattan, NY

What an endearing, enlightening, and musically inspirational portrait of this monumental statesman and his dignified, talented, and courageous spouse! Aside from the trials and tribulations that the King's endured, this tribute brought to light some fascinating, light-hearted, and delightful moments in their rich lives. Cheers of gratitude and appreciation for such a gorgeous portrayal!

Feb. 24 2013 11:42 AM
Jean Aniebona

I really loved this. I have spoken to friends who felt the same.
Thank you for presenting the program; please do more.

Feb. 18 2013 12:57 AM
veganmagic from Yorkville

Thank you for this outstanding and inspirational show. I was truly weeping. We still have far to go and much work to do, but this tribute was so inspiring. Looking forward to hearing more diverse programming throughout the year.

Feb. 03 2013 10:19 PM
Anne M. from NYC

Thank you more than I can say. I am so grateful to you for this beautiful and moving program, which has flooded me with memories of King and his beautiful struggle. What a friend we had in Martin.

Feb. 03 2013 10:03 PM
Penny Payne from Port Washington, NY

Thankfully, I was able to hear the beginning of this amazing program...Listening as I drove proved difficult with tears blurring my vision. Wonderful to hear his and Coretta's story intwined with the music they loved. I hope to be able to hear the rest of the program. Thank you Terrance for the gentle yet powerful and moving presentation on this important anniversary.

Jan. 22 2013 01:08 PM
Anne from NYC

Of all the tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King, yours tonight was the one that to me truly captured his spirit and words of truth and the ferocity of the battle he fought. Sending the link to my daughter in college to share - thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jan. 21 2013 08:14 PM
Richard E. Brodsky from Miami via Sonis

Terrance, I listened in tears born in 1960 and 1961 and 1962 and 1963. Thank you. The wonder that was Martin Luther King's life and John Lewis's life will live forever.

Jan. 21 2013 08:00 PM
Janetbin NYC from Upper East Side

Terrific tribute to MLK! Thank you, Terrance.

Jan. 21 2013 07:48 PM
Kevin Mensch from Princeton, NJ

What a beautiful and moving tribute! Many thanks.

Jan. 21 2013 02:34 PM
C-Mon from NYC

All kinds of awesome. What an absolutely beautiful tribute.

Aug. 08 2010 04:53 PM
Tyrone from Brooklyn

Terrance -

Such a beautiful tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.; I found it quite moving and emotional.

Every year I look forward to musical tributes to this great humanitarian and your 2010 show stands strong in this tradition.

As a (semi-retired) deejay I myself compiled a few tribute sets and audio programs devoted to Martin Luther King Jr.. This year I attended a set by hip-hop pioneer ?uestlove. Not surprisingly, the set was seeped in rap music and I found myself a bit disappointed. The next day I heard your show and it brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you!

Jan. 19 2010 02:32 PM
Victoria Elliot from Manhattan

The Carl Jenkin's piece by the London Philharmonic was wonderful and refreshing and new. Can I get a CD of it? Thanks for the MLK tribute.

Jan. 18 2010 09:22 PM
Linda Childs from New York City

Thank you so much for such an wonderful program with such an great selection of musical performances. The commentary was informative and enlightening. Terrance so glad to have you on board at WQXR. Now if WQXR could just play Leontyne Price singing "Depuis le Jour or Jessye Norman singing Strauss' "Im Abendrot", every once and a while, I would truly be in heaven! Keep up the good work.

Jan. 18 2010 10:43 AM
Michael Spudic from Forest Hills, New York

A wonderful perspective on the life of Martin Luther King. Terrance McKnight not only focuses upon the transcendent power of music surrounding King's legacy, but firms it up with appropriate historical and political subtext. Throughout, McKnight never gets in the way of the music; and of course that music includes oration of Martin Luther King himself! A unique and beautiful tapestry has been woven. Thanks to all involved with this program.

Jan. 18 2010 10:35 AM
Suzanne Johnson

BEAUTIFUL program. Thank you.

Jan. 17 2010 08:39 AM

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