2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

Featuring Filmmaker William Greaves


William Greaves

African-American filmmaker William Greaves presented the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture on Thursday, March 11,2004 in Alumni Hall. He screened and discuss his documentary, "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey." The film has been called "One of the rare cases where a documentary manages to combine really powerful material with an appealing and truly engrossing presentation."

Greaves began his career as an actor on Broadway and in film but has achieved his greatest success behind the camera. Over the course of his career, he has produced more than 200 documentary films and won over 70 international film festival awards, as well as an Emmy and four Emmy nominations. He has been inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame; was the recipient of a special "homage" at the first Black American Independent Film Festival; and is also the recipient of an "Indy," the Special Life Achievement Award of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, a national organization.

"An American Odyssey" focuses on the life of Ralph Bunche, who served as Under-Secretary General of the United Nations in the two decades following World War II and is considered by many to be the first Black American to have "crossed over" into the American mainstream in a field other than sports or entertainment. In 1950, Bunche became the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche was awarded an honorary degree by Gustavus in the same year.