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At home, Smiley suffered from poverty as well as from physical abuse by his stepfather.

He attended Bunker Hill's Maconaquah High School, where he participated in student government and the debate team.

There’s work to be done, and if I can reintroduce King to some, and introduce him to others, I’ll feel like I have done my job.” Smiley also told me that he and J. Abrams have just finalized an agreement to turn “Death of a King” into a TV miniseries at the end of 2018 and are currently in the casting phase for the project.

When I asked Smiley if performing this show on these significant dates would take a toll on him emotionally he simply laughed and replied: “I’m trying not to think about it, but I know it’s going to be emotional.” At the end of the day, King’s message and philosophies are as important as ever and being able to bring it to the people is one of Smiley’s greatest joys.“It is my great and deep honor,” Smiley explains, “to be able to try and share a bit more about him that might allow us to see him for who he really was.To finally come to terms with his real legacy and to get more serious about how to create an America that will one day be as good as it’s promise. In this country, there is too much of a gap between the promise of America and the possibilities in America for every fellow citizen.In 2017, PBS announced it was indefinitely suspending the distribution of his talk show, BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 11: Talk show host Tavis Smiley attends The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Presents The 50th Anniversary Screening Of ' To Kill A Mockingbird' at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on April 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.(Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)Tavis Smiley was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, on September 13, 1964.