The assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most shocking events in American history. Last fall, several Ithaca College students traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to produce a documentary to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King’s death.
The film, titled “With Infinite Hope: MLK and The Civil Rights Movement,” was produced by Chrissy Guest, assistant professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies; James Rada, associate professor in the Department of Journalism; 2018 graduates Christy Calcagno, Kalia Kornegay and Emily Varga; and current seniors Mary Katherine Jones, Sophia Tulp, and Elena Maria Piech.
For the documentary, students spoke with historians and individuals who participated in some of the most well-known events of the civil rights movement, such as the Montgomery bus boycott, Selma march, and the Memphis sanitation workers strike.
“The civil rights movement was known for its foot soldiers,” Rada said in an interview with WKNO-FM in Memphis. “So whenever there’s an opportunity to explore a civil rights-related event or events, and talk to some of the people who were on the front lines, that’s an opportunity I’m not going to pass up.”
Rada said the students who took part were selected for their ability to produce network-quality content independently. He added that the work they create will serve as an important historical artifact in the decades to come.
“Many of the people who were around in 1968 are in their 70s and 80s,” he said. “When the 75th and 100th anniversary come around, all of the first-hand accounts will be gone. Who will be the voice of record to tell the story? Our students.”