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A KING IN PARADISE is a multidimensional project that explores the untold journey of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s five days in Hawaii during September 1959, from a multi-generational point of view.

A King in paradise:

About the Project

A KING IN PARADISE is a project that explores the untold journey of Dr. King’s five days in Hawaii during September 1959. He was invited to speak at the Hawaiian State Assembly one year after surviving a stabbing attempt, and a mere three weeks after the Hawaiian Islands achieved statehood. He was the first private citizen to speak to this body. This honor cements Dr. King as a pioneering figure in the state of Hawaii. At the time of his 1959 trip, Dr. King had spoken to mostly white and black audiences. The speeches he gave in Hawaii were to a diverse, non-black and non-white American audience. This project will explore the impact of Dr. King’s speech on those in attendance and their children. Additionally, this project will also look at the impact of Hawaii on him. Consider the fact when he wore the Hawaiian leis during the 1965 March in Selma and this was one of the rare times he draped himself in another’s cultural symbols. The project seeks to explore three questions:
1) How does Dr. King’s time in Hawaii impact the Civil Rights Movement?
2) What are the tactical and aspirational lessons from the Civil Rights Movements, in particular Dr. King’s legacy as reflected on this trip for this Black Lives Moment?
3) What’s Next? How can youth draw from King’s example as they look to find a pathway past systemic racism?

“As I looked at all of these various faces and various colors mingled together like the waters of the sea, I could see only one face- the face of the future!”

- Martin Luther King

Meet the Team

Charles Burnett

The Director

Charles Burnett is an American film director, film producer, writer, editor, actor, photographer, and cinematographer.

Steven Cleveland 

The Creator

Steven Cleveland is an Executive Producer and a college professor who is committed to helping young people share their worldview through film.

Tamika Lamison

The Producer

Tamika is an award winning actor, writer, director, and producer who has produced/written/directed many shorts, features, and documentaries.