April 3rd, 2008
11:20 AM ET

Tonight, 360° does something special

Good morning folks..
Tonight, as racial issues continue to roil the presidential race, we at 360 join CNN's sweeping on-air and digitial initiative in examining race and politcs in America.
Starting at 9PM ET, Black in America, reported by anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, begins with the two-hour premiere of Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination (watch a preview), a first-person account of what happened on April 4, 1968. In this first installment of CNN’s Black in America series, O’Brien investigates how James Earl Ray, an armed robber and escaped convict, had already spent an uncommon year on the run that included plastic surgery just a month before his path collided with that of the civil rights leader in Memphis, Tenn.  Through interviews with witnesses and investigators, O’Brien retraces the steps of King, Ray, the FBI and Memphis police and explores alternative scenarios of who was ultimately responsible for the murder that, for some, represented the end of the American Civil Rights era.
Then, at 11PM ET, Anderson anchors a special edition of AC360: Race & Politics, Black in America:
Randi Kaye talks with PA Governor Ed Rendell about his belief that some Pennsylvania voters - "conservative whites" - are not ready to vote for an African American as president. The governor's comments raised howls of indignation that he was injecting race into the contest for his party's presidential nomination.

Joe Johns looks at the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.... no, not the words you usually hear, those inspiring words of hope. Instead, Joe looks at some other things he said that are, in some circles, controversial to this day. Dr. King was known for speaking truth to power. That didn't always make people comfortable.

Soledad O'Brien examines the intense pressure on some black superdelegates to vote for Barack Obama.

Candy Crowley looks at the racially charged moments in the Democratic presidential race: The Reverend Wright sermons, the Bill Clinton comments in South Carolina, Geraldine Ferraro’s comments…moments that some viewed as racist, others did not…sparking racial debate and tension in the campaign. 

A panel helps make sense of it all: Soledad O'Brien, Roland S. Martin, Candy Crowley, David Gergen and more.

Please let us know what you think. Thank you for joining us.

-Barclay Palmer, 360° Senior Producer

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Warren Blackwell

    I think Roland Martin said it best today , what are we prepared to do, because the whole race issue starts within. I actually feel lucky that I was raised in a housing project because of the diversity of the families I grew up around. Latinos ( mainly from Puerto Rico), Whites (Orthodox Jewish), Italians and even some Chinese. I realized at a early age even with the amount of racism I faced personally, that racism is a person by person problem and solution. I am a Obama supporter but would vote for Hilary over Obama if I felt she really was in this for the people. Senator Obama has shown me his intelligence, calmness even in the wasted news of the comments by Pastor Wright.. I was glad to hear the MLK also was noted as being somewhat fiery on the pulpit and yet we honor him. Hey truth is truth whether it hurts or not, but as I have overcome any prejudice thanks to my parents I am sure that with Obamas mixed background the Wright issue should not even have come up.

    April 4, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  2. paul schultheis

    In the past I've always voted for whomever it was that I felt was the best canidate regardless of party. This year I am going to vote Democratic down the line, even if I disagree with their positions. We've had a president of the Republican party for almost eight years I am ready for a presidnt of the United States. As far as the other races go, the Republican incumbents have proven their loyalty is to the party not to the electorate. What else would explain their uncanny ability to vote as a block on every major issue when they were in power. Perhaps their are no members who can bring themselves to vote any other way regardless of which legislation might be in the best interest of the electorate.

    April 4, 2008 at 9:48 am |
  3. Rosemarie Battaglia_McGuire

    Will certainly be watching tonights show. The multiple dynamic's of race need to be fully examined. Stats show America is ready for a Black president however seems like far too many have been startled to the awareness that a subculture of anti-American, anti-White militancy has long been thriving in African American Christian churches. It's a fact that churches actually remain the least segregated
    fortresses where like attracts like in our society.
    It's also a fact that much flies under the radar ( not just racial sepratistism) under the cloak and dagger of "religious" freedom.
    One example alone is how jail time can be served for cruelty to animals yet in recent years the supreme court upheld ritual animal scrafice under a freedom of religion stance brought before it.
    Now that America has diminished racism to the positive degree that
    widespread support for Sen. Obama proves the willngness to vote a minority into office we really need clarity far more specific then minority status alone. A pro-American Black advocate for all American's able to adequately assert the best interest of an entire diverse nation would be an historic and positive event.
    However would large segments of African American's allow a Black president the lassitude to represent the entire country or brushstroke him an uncle Tom sell out to abandon ( or worst assasinate) should he ascribe foremost loyalty to the nation and all it's people? Such glaring clarity is vital. I'll be watching with avid interest!

    April 4, 2008 at 9:41 am |
  4. Brian COBRA

    Kevin, incase you have not noticed u made a racial comment and you also confirmed what I said. Thank you for backing me up and I am one of those "Typical White People" that Obama spoke about. The same poor white folk you mention. Here is the thing. Do you go to church to learn about the teachings of Jesus Christ or to learn how the white people are all out to get you, here in the USof KKK?? Just to let you know, when us "poor white folk" go to church we learn about forgiveness and the coming of the lord. Oh, sorry, that was from Dr. Kings speech. You know the I have a dream speach? Well you get the idea. And Kevin, what about all those "poor white folk" that went to the south to march with the blacks for segrigation. And to help with voter registration. Were they all played? Did the ones who died, did they die for no reason?? So, tell me what hope do us "poor white folk" have now??

    April 4, 2008 at 3:34 am |
  5. Tracy Townsend

    I Thank CNN FOR HAVING A SPECIAL ON DR.KING 4/3/08. It was most refreshing to see the diverse coveradge on blacks in america. People have to stop putting blacks with blacks and whites with whites. At least i know im not voting for Obama because of that reason. I voted for kerry,for al gor'e and bill clinton. I love what they stood for and would hope to bring to the country. As for rev wright PEOPLE don't forget he isn't the only person that said the goverment was behind 911. There are many white reporters and analyst that have made the same argument but because he's Obama's pastor it's amplafied. So if u think bush is the better choice for america don't worry u can vote mccain and im sure we will continue to go down hill.

    April 4, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  6. Fernanda

    Also, when Reverend Wright said that Hillary does not know what it feels like to be called a n*****. I think he needs to hush because many of the people that are voting for Obama are white and if you are going to turn this into a racism campaign, the you are not just referring to Hillary, you are referring to the majority of Obama's supporters!! I think Obama is good by himself because then, all these people try to 'help' him to get their five minutes of fame and they are only going to end up ruining it for him...

    April 4, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  7. Fernanda

    I, being hispanic, take no sides (white or black). However, I want to say a few things. First of all, for my Latinos: I believe that most of the Latin Hillary supporters do not support her because she would make a good president, but instead because we are very easily convinced by convenience. We should vote for her because we want her, not because she promised to bring our Latin family to the United States because many people have promised this and I have not seen it change. Second, I prefer Obama over Hillary, however, people PLEASE do not turn this into a race of races!! I was listening to Obama's former pastor and I just did not like his speech of Hillary not having gone through this and that, I mean come on, can we get over the past 100 years and just get along! I think that neither candidate should try to make this into a race thing! It is just ridiculous, we need to love each other, not hate. Third, honestly I think McCain seems to be the most mature of all the candidates. I believe that someone who did not want him as president made the stubborn excuse that he is too old. Just look at his mom!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding?? That woman is on a roll and she is ninety-something years old. I also think that his scars carry much sentimental value and only that makes him more attached to us than any other candidate!
    Back on the race thing, let's make MLK proud, he had a dream to stop racism... so, why have we still not ended racism?
    By the way I am not for any of these candidates, I am not elligible to vote, and this is only opinions.

    April 4, 2008 at 12:36 am |
  8. yvette

    I've never used a blog, but I was deeply moved by the report on the United Church of Christ supporting Rev. Wright. At the time Wright made those comments, I was an active supporter of CBN, and heard many of the same comments, which Pat and many other ministers later had to recant because of media attention. I also felt the coverage of Dr. Kings early speeches being similar to Rev. Wrights was very effective. I remember back then how upset my family and community was with Dr. King, and we were black. Yet, today I am so greatful because the life I have now is because he was willing to stand up for change. I have prosperity in my life I never would have had, but I also have Asian, Latino and White inlaws. So I live the dream where "it's the content of character not color of skin than counts" in our family now. You don't need to post my comment. I just wanted CNN to be aware of how the report was helpful to me, and hopefully others.

    April 4, 2008 at 12:23 am |
  9. Claudia Miles

    Barack Obama's position in this election is due in part to his ethnicity. He straddles BOTH the Black and White communities. Most importantly, he is not "burdened" by a connection to the Civil rights Era, although he has personally fought for the civil rights of poor people in his Chicago community. He rightly points to his "WHITE" mother and grandparents as the people who have forged him into the person whom he has become today. He rightfully tells white America that he is partly one of them. Black America is not affected by his "foot in the white community" because we are used to accepting the white "blood" that our light complected have within our community. In fact that whiteness is sometimes seen as a badge of honor. Today, that same African-American acceptance of Obama's duality of color/race is now being embraced by whites as well. Perhaps Obama's ethnicity has worked for him because he embodies the best of both races in intellect and in his capacity to meld the two.

    Claudia Miles

    April 4, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  10. Annie Kate

    Soledad's special on Martin Luther King was superb Thank you so much for such a wonderful balanced piece.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 4, 2008 at 12:00 am |
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