Saturday, March 14, 2015

Great Minds #76 | Earl Ofari Hutchinson | From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History

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Ilene Proctor Proudly Presents #76 in the Great Mind Series

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary
of Selma March.

From King to Obama:
Witness to a Turbulent History

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Available at

Date: Thursday, March 26 at 7:00 PM
Hosts: Jan Goodman and Jerry Manpearl

939 San Vicente Blvd., Santa Monica, CA  90402

TICKETS: $25.00 includes dinner and drinks



Activist-author's latest book
examines legendary figures

Written by: Shawnte Passmore, Contibuting writer, author, columnist and activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson is shown at a community rally in 2013. He has a new book coming out March 7, entitled "From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History." (Photo by Gary McCarthy)

LOS ANGELES - For many, the only chance encounter with legendary figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez are found in history books, but not in the case of author and political activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson. Hutchinson document his meetitins with legendary figures from the 1960s and '70s, ranging from Bob Marley to Barry White, in his latest book "From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History."

Before the author became a political commentator or president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, he reported for the alternative weekly Los Angeles Free Press. With only a tape recorder and camera in his hand, he covered rallies for the civil rights and black power movements along with anti-war protests - which many celebrikties attended to express their political views.

After working at the paper, he went on to host two shows, jazz and sports, on the Pacifica Radio outlet KPFK-FM. Hutchinson remembers the first time he saw dreadloocks on anyone when he met Bob Marley, who was on his first American tour. While the hairstyle was a novelty for people in the U.S., it was not the only thing that caught Hutchinson's attention. The reggae star never discussed his music, but only talked about his Rastafarian religion. He also praised hgis heroes, Ethiopianh leader and messianic figure in Rastafari, Haile Selassie, and black nationalist leader of the 1920s, Marcus Garvey.

"The book is about two things: it's a memoir of my rememberance of my compiled interviews and engagements with these people who turned out to be legendary figures over time," Hutchinson said. "Secondly, over the years, people have urged me to write a biography because they would say, 'Earl, you've done a lot. You've seen a lot.'"

Hutchinson said he never gave much attention to the thought until he saw the 2014 biopic film of JMames Brow, "Get On Up."

"We had Brown at the station, saw three of his concerts - and now with biopic films on Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye - it just hit me. I was there. I could give anotgher perspective, not just literary, but as real people," he said.

Hutchinson was unconcerned with detailing dry dates, times and places, but focused on making readers feel like they were there by bringing the encounters to life. In the book, Hutchinson's earliest recollection of meeting revered figures started at the age of 5 in Southside Chicago during the holidays. Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson used to live right arounde the corner from him and purchased Christmas cards from his stand.

After meeting the celebrated gospel artist, he later went on to hear a famous pastor speak. His minister father, who was very active in the civil rights movement, took the young Hutchinson to see the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speak at a rally held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Hutchinson's moment of watching King from only a few feet away left a  lasting impression on the writer.

The author of several books several books said capturing the essence of what the memoir was really about could only be summed up to witnessing a turbulent time in American histor from the 1960s to '70s. "These figures represented visionaries who revolutionized the arts, politics and social events in America," he said. "I wanted to give a perspective to Dr. King all the way to President Obama - a foundation, a probgression from King to Obama."

Hutchinson cautions that the book is not only for historian buffs.
It is a reflective account meant to inspire and encourage readers. "Many of these individuals achieved things against the odds," he said. "All contributions, all parts of history is living history. We're still feeling the effects of it today. Obviously, Dr. King made it better fro so many people."

To coincide with living history, the book was released on the 50th anniversary of the Selma March which was March 7..

The book is available on Amazon.

Media Contact, Ilene Proctor
310-858-6643, Cell: 310-721-2336

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