The Masks of Character

Richard Lischer

in The Preacher King

Published in print March 1997 | ISBN: 9780195111323
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853298 | DOI:
The Masks of Character

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In a 1961 article of the New York Times Magazine, Ved Mehta wrote that Gandhi and Martin Luther King shared a particular dramatist genius. Both led demonstrations as if they were theatrical performances, and they were remembered as “imaginative artists who knew how to use politics as their stage.” David Halberstam characterized the Civil Rights Movement as “a great televised morality play, white hats and black hats…” Mehta's and Halberstam's comments are a reminder that Martin Luther King was, in the strictest positive sense of the word, an actor. He perfected his talent in the black church, where he learned how to perform according to the public's expectations.

Keywords: New York Times Magazine; Ved Mehta; David Halberstam; Civil Rights Movement; actor; Gandhi

Chapter.  14024 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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