A conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington.

Today, we take comfort and strength from the words of Dr. King.  Studs spoke with him in October of 1964, after it has been announced that he will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Dr. King and Studs are in the Chicago home of Mahalia Jackson, a “mutual friend;” they speak about people who have influenced Dr. King, how to laugh through the tough times, and the “revolutionary aspects of love.”


Photo credit: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.]. By Rowland Scherman; restored by Adam Cuerden – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46527326

Paul Chevigny on Police Power

Shortly after the publication of his 1969 book Police Power: Police Abuses in New York City, Paul Chevigny spent an hour in conversation with Studs.  At the time, Mr. Chevigny was a lawyer practicing in Harlem and working with the New York Civil Liberties Union; in 1977, he began teaching law at New York University and he is now the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law Emeritus.

After the introductions, Studs plays a clip from an earlier interview with an unnamed Puerto Rican man recounting his harassment by multiple Chicago police officers as he leaves his workplace.  Mr. Chevigny and Studs go on to talk about how race and class affect arrests and acquittal rates, and the strategy of bringing false charges in order to cover up inappropriate police actions.  But they also talk about society’s responsibility in police brutality and corruption: a society must change in order for its police force to change.

Toward the end of the interview, Mr. Chevigny predicts that our society will not make any great changes toward ending police brutality and corruption: “I don’t think that the powers of the police are going to decline, and I don’t think that society’s going to want to limit their abuses any more than they’ve done up to now, and probably less.”

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