In 1996, when I was a college freshman, my campus was visited by Yolanda King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ms. King was there to offer her perspective on post-L.A. riot America, contemporary problems with battling racism and sharing her father’s optimism on humanity. She was an elegant speaker who seemed to possess an inner glow.

At the end of her moving dialog with us, she added, “Oh, and please see ‘Ghosts of Mississippi,’ I’m in it and it’s a very good movie.” It was an odd, last minute plug and the only time she brought it up.

Ms. King has a small supporting role in the film, though her appearance in it is significant; her familial connection brings heft to the film’s depiction of systemic racism and efforts to change the mindset of those whose opinions on race are ingrained in bigoted tradition.

The opening credits of Rob Reiner’s…

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