From King to Obama:Witness to a Turbulent History

ABOUT Earl Hutchinson

earl hutchinson
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and social issues commentator. He is a syndicated columnist and a feature contributor to the Huffington Post. His columns have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Bal More...



From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History conveys the exhilaration the author feels at having walked in the shadow of history of a Dr. King, a Miles Davis, a John Lennon, a Bob Marley, and many others. Hutchinson’s mission is to make the reader feel the exhilaration he felt meeting, talking with, interviewing and personally engaging with as a journalist, broadcaster, and activist the people whose monumental accomplishments affected the lives of millions over a half century from the mid-1960s to the first decade of the 21st Century.

“It was May 31, 1964. I was 18 and my father said that he’d like for me to go with him to an event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He said it would be an event that I would long remember. He was right. The event that my father was determined that I attend with him was billed as a “Religious Witness for Human Dignity.” I knew from the many religious types who were in the crowd this was a multi-faith event. Shortly after being seated, all eyes turned to the main Coliseum tunnel entrance. A slow procession of priests, rabbis, and protestant ministers marched solemnly out of the tunnel onto the Coliseum running track. The crowd immediately roared when they marched into view. All eyes were immediately locked on the small, short, nattily-dressed man at the head of the procession. The man, whom everyone intently watched, smiled broadly and waved to the cheering crowd. We were seated in the front section near the railing. Like many others in the crowd, I stared at Dr. King with a mix of awe and wonderment. “

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is the person who is responsible for getting me interested in politics – that wasn’t a small feat. Through his writing, I started to learn more about the dynamics of the political climate, the various “players” on the landscape, how politics impacts different ethnicities in very different ways, how the different ethnic and racial groups impact one another throughout the country. This book provided even more detail on many of these issues.
I have a lot of respect for him – but we have very different views on politics. We’re two different people from different backgrounds and its logical that we see things differently. But in From King to Obama – we get the human perspective and view of some of the biggest newsmakers of the last half century. People that seem “larger than life” – but through Hutchinson’s insights, we have a great opportunity to see them “behind the scenes” in many instances. The spotlight is off with many of them and we can see a different side of that person.

I’ve often wondered how Hutchinson developed some of his viewpoints. From King to Obama gives the answers to a number of those questions. His writing often give some insights into the author’s mind – but this book really pulls back the curtain to shows us the scope of the things he has done and the decades he’s spent learning more about life, politics and so much more on a global level.

One of the things I really like is the wide variety of people that he included in the book. From Martin Luther King, the Harlem Globetrotters, Nelson Mandela, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Johnnie Cochran, and so many more. The sections about entertainers, especially the musicians were a real treat. There are so many types of music that I love and its interesting to hear other people’s perspectives on some of the musical “greats”. Check the cover for a list of the people who are included in the book. There were many instances where I stopped reading temporarily to get some more info about specific people and events – even taking a few minutes to find and view the Jimi Hendrix performance that is mentioned.

I highly recommend this book – I love learning more about “history” and other people and places. I got a great education about events that happened in the US – some happened before I was born and I’d only heard sketchy details about other people and places. I want to know the “good, the bad and the ugly” and I want to understand how those things contributed to and brought us to the place where we are now. This book did that very well and I walked away with many interesting tidbits. Hutchinson doesn’t go into deep detail about these various events – that’s not the point of the book. Like the title says – its an eyewitness account to a tumultuous history. That is just what he gives us in this deeply personal memoir about the events that shaped his life, our country and the world we live in.