New documentary features rare restored footage of Martin Luther King Jr.

Director Sam Pollard’s talks about his timely and stunning new film, "MLK/FBI."
3:47 | 01/18/21

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Transcript for New documentary features rare restored footage of Martin Luther King Jr.
A riveting new documentary takes us deep into the life of Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. Like never before revealing a stunning look at the FBI surveillance and harassment of the civil rights leader. Take a look. After Dr. King gave his famous March on Washington speech, Wednesday, August 28, 1963, in a memo dated the 30th of August, no later than that, the second person in the FBI, sends an urgent memo, in which he says, after the March on Washington, it's clear that martin Luther king Jr. Is the most dangerous Negro in America, and we have to use every resource at our disposal to destroy him. That was a clip from "mlk/fbi" from Emmy award winning and Oscar winning director Sam Pollard, who has built a monumental career, master fully telling stories like "Two trains running" and "Eyes on the prize." Sam, so good to have you here with us. My pleasure, T.J. You used newly declassified information to put this story together and I think people have Ian idea that mlk was under surveillance by the government but this takes it to another level with this information. Why did you want to tell this story? Well, you know, I was motivated by a book that was written by an historian that looked at king and how he was surveilled by the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover from '63 on to the day of his assassination. I was so intrigued by reading that book, I reached out to my producer who read the book and we thought this was a film that we should do. So Sam, obviously so much research, so much time put into this, but I'm curious, there are so many similarities to what was happening then, the peak of the civil rights movement, to what is happening today, in this country. Did that play at all into how you told this story? Not originally. I mean we know how complicated America is, even today, in the age -- almost at the end of the age of trump. But what's fascinating both in some ways, and some ways sad is how it becomes so much resonating in terms of what is happening in America in the last eight months. Here we are on mlk day and the celebration of mlk but at the time -- the focus of your film talks about they were trying to bring him down by a character assassination. They thought they could stop a movement by stopping a man and discrediting him. We are celebrating his life and legacy today. Why did they fail so miserably at what they were planning to do? They failed miserably because the press didn't take the bait, they didn't take on stories about people's personal lives, and news, emails, to spread that misinformation, we didn't do it then. And even though Hoover went out of his way to try to destroy king, no one in the press took the bait. I think the sad thing about what Hoover and the FBI did was the creation of that letter that they sent to his wife, Coretta Scott king, saying king should kill himself because he is such a horrible human being. You are shedding light on what actually happened, and we need this information to process what happened and to move forward. "mlk/fbi," is available on demand and in select theaters. Sam Pollard, thank you so much for being with us on this historic day. Thank you both. Have a good day. It really is incredible, you should check it out. A lot of footage in there we haven't seen before and information that was just, wow.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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