Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stephen Colbert Salutes Civil Rights - An Amazing Show

If you didn’t watch Stephen Colbert last night you missed a fantastic piece of history. As part of his Martin Luther King tribute, Colbert gave a history of the Charleston Hospital workers union strike of 1969. Through archive photos and footage, Colbert told the story of how the civil rights struggle that manifested itself as the strike was settled. The key players in the settlement were Andrew Young, part of Dr. King’s inner circle and the newly-appointed vice-president of the medical college James Colbert.

If you noticed a similarity in the name it’s no coincidence, turns out it was Stephen Colbert’s father and to prove the point the camera tilts down the photo of James Colbert to show his son, Stephen. As further connection to the events, Colbert’s guest for the evening was Andrew Young himself. It was great television! Their interview discussed those events from 1969 but segued easily into the Writer’s Strike and how Colbert might start the behind-the-scenes work to start settling the strike. It isn’t often you are encouraged to do great things by a hero of the Civil Rights movement.

In typical Colbert Show fashion the interview ended with a musical finale featuring not only Andrew Young and Malcolm Gladwell (Stephens other guest) as well as the Harlem Gospel Choir singing “Go Down Moses”. Watch It!

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