Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

‘MLK/FBI’ with Sam Pollard and Benjamin Hedin

Air Dates: February 22-28, 2021

This episode was made possible with the gracious collaboration of Newport Film and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities’ “Culture is Key” Project.

In the 1960s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation spied on civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Sam Pollard and Benjamin Hedin tell that story in a powerful documentary that shines a light on race, power, and the politics of personal destruction.

Sam Pollard’s career as a feature film and television video editor and documentary producer and director spans almost thirty years.  He recently served as Executive Producer on the documentary “Brother Outsider,” the Official Selection for the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. His first assignment as a documentary producer came in 1989 for Henry Hampton’s Blackside production “Eyes On The Prize II: America at the Racial Crosswords.”  One of his episodes in this series received an Emmy.  He returned to Blackside as Co-Executive Producer/Producer of Hampton’s last documentary series, “I’ll Make Me A World: Stories of African-American Artists and Community.”  Pollard received The George Peabody Award for the series.  Pollard also edited a number of Spike Lee’s films, including “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Jungle Fever,” and “Bamboozled.”  Pollard and Lee co-produced several documentary productions for the small and big screen, including “Spike Lee Presents Mike Tyson,” a biographical sketch for HBO, for which Mr. Pollard received an Emmy, and “Four Little Girls,” a feature-length documentary about the 1965 Birmingham church bombings for which Pollard was nominated for an Academy Award. He also edited the acclaimed children’s programs NBC’s “Vegetable Soup” and The Children’s Television Workshop’s “3-2-1-Contact,” for which he received two Emmys.

Benjamin Hedin has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, The Nation, The Oxford American, The Chicago Tribune, Poets and Writers, Salmagundi, The Georgia Review, and other publications. He is the editor of “Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader” and author of the nonfiction chronicle, “In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now.” Triquarterly Books will publish his first novel, “Under the Spell” in the spring of 2021. He also produced and wrote of the Grammy-nominated documentary “Two Trains Runnin’.” He teaches at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 3:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.


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