Al Bell and James Alexander Participate in “MLK50 Commemoration,” Broadcast

  • Thursday, April 5th, 2018
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April 4, 2018 marks 50 years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a tragedy that reverberated across the globe and transformed the fight for civil rights in the United States. Comcast NBCUniversal is honoring this historic milestone by serving as the Media and Technology Sponsor for the National Civil Rights Museum’s “MLK50 Commemoration,” and is proud to bring you a powerful lineup of speakers and performances.

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Stax: The Importance of Black Radio

Al Bell, the former co-owner of Stax Records in Memphis, discusses his early days in radio, the importance of black radio stations during the Civil Rights Era, and his relationship with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus. He said, “I knew from the very beginning of my involvement the importance of radio in the lives of people, period. And black radio, certainly in the lives of black people.”

Influence of Daisy Bates

Al Bell, the Former Co-Owner of Stax Records in Memphis, discusses his school years in Little Rock, the influence of Daisy Bates and his interactions with Dr. King. He recalled, “My English Literature teacher at Jones High School … started calling me while I was working at the radio station saying to me, ‘Alvertis, you need to get involved with Reverend Martin Luther King.'” See more about Daisy Bates in The Importance of African American Newspapers, the first-hand account of Janis F. Kearney, former personal diarist to President William Jefferson Clinton

Stax: James Alexander of the Bar-Kays

James Alexander, bass guitarist for the Bar-Kays (Stax Record Label, Memphis) on the plane crash that killed his band mates and Otis Redding, and Dr. Kings assassination. “On April the 4th, 1968, we just happened to be in the studio recording. We couldn’t leave the studio and go home because all out on Macklemore they had National Guard there were a lot of riots and a lot of unrest in the city.”

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