Source of MLK “Cruel jest to say to a bootless man” interview quote

Full interview that NBC originally aired on June 11, 1967 in the special “After Civil Rights: Black Power.”

I saw this tweet, and the accompanying video, which really made me think.

I don’t feel like I can add anything, or that I have anything valuable to add to the conversation surrounding Martin Luther King, and what he worked for, but I felt like I could find the origin of the quote and the interview.

Searching for the Transcript

First I just wanted to read the transcript but I couldn’t find the source of the interview or the transcript. So I transcribed it myself.


Martin Luther King:

I wanted to learn more, read more.

No Twitter Source

But as often happens on Twitter, there was no source, and no link to learn more. So I started googling.

Found this tweet from NBC.

This showed that it was an official NBC video. Watching the video again, I noticed the date and the place.

Image for post
Image for post

This was a good lead. So I googled ‘mlk interview may 8 1967’ which turned out to give me exactly what I wanted. Top of the search results was the original interview.

It is 26 minutes long. The video includes this description:

I avoided all the Facebook videos in the search results, since they are usually re-uploads without source links. However doing more research I found that NBC posted also on Facebook, this with a much better explanation and link than they had on Twitter.

Did more Googling and found this article from NBC in 2013 that explained the setting more fully.

Did more googling and found the transcript from the special.

However the interview in the special is evidently edited as the NBC Learn transcript doesn’t match up with the full interview.

I also found the video on YouTube, as NBC’s custom video player doesn’t load very well.

I tried to find the full special to watch, and I found a mention that the full special was available on

However you have to register and NBC only grants access to those looking to license footage.

I also found this speech that uses the same phrase, and was delivered 38 days earlier at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1968.

What are we going to do?

I feel that the most important thing we can do as we remember Dr. Martin Luther King is to examine our own lives and ask ourselves, “What am I doing to help or hinder civil rights? What can I do to advance Martin Luther Kings dream?”

Written by

Code, design, cook. Make stuff. Cookies. @BYU grad.

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