MLK Assassination and the Prevalence of Radio Deejays in Black Culture (1968)

Radio deejays became especially important to black culture in the late 1960s, which became particularly evident after the death of Dr. Martinking3
Luther King, Jr. On April 4th, 1968, Dr. King, the Movement’s most prevalent leader, was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. On that day, blacks around the country were in an uproar.  Black radio deejays had enough power in that moment to call blacks around the country to rise up—but they refrained; instead, they called the black people of the nation to mourn and to use this as an opportunity to advance peacefully. Later, as black deejays continued to gain influence, white TV and radio producers began consulting these black deejays for their own shows, as their style and flair was popular with listeners. Don Cornelius, a popular deejay at the time, went on to produce the black popular culture show “Soul Train,” illustrating the great power and opportunities of black deejays in the media industry.



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