True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. He gave a famous speech about the fact that he - when stabbed in New York at a book signing, the blade was just a scintilla away from his aorta. What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition. That's what I feel. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on. Martin Luther King's Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, 10 December 1964 Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: While King was personally opposed to the war, he was concerned that publicly criticizing U.S. foreign policy would damage his relationship with President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had been instrumental in passing civil rights legislation and who had declared in April 1965 that he was willing to negotiate a diplomatic end to the war in Vietnam. Dr. Benjamin Spock (2nd-L), Martin Luther King, Jr. (C), Father Frederick Reed and Cleveland Robinson lead a huge pacifist rally protesting U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war, Mar. 0000002694 00000 n King Leads Chicago). Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. "[14] Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Kings opposition to the war provoked criticism from members of Congress, the press, and from his civil rights colleagues who argued that expanding his civil rights message to include foreign affairs would harm the black freedom struggle in America. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts. Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. But this is, again, precisely what King was concerned about, putting the lives of everyday Americans on the line in a fight that was not winnable and a war that was unjust. Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation. Afghanistan, not so much. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is known for being one of the greatest orators of the twentieth century, and perhaps in all of American history. And let's see if we can get another caller on the line. The speech and its echoes for Afghanistan and Iraq are the subject of "Tavis Smiley Reports MLK: A Call to Conscience.". So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. Excuse me. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. We appreciate that. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, for example, issued a statement against merging the civil rights and peace movements. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Copyright 2010 NPR. King led his first anti-war march in Chicago on 25 March 1967, and reinforced the connection between war abroad and injustice at home: The bombs in Vietnam explode at homethey destroy the dream and possibility for a decent America (Dr. Attachment 4: Are We Ready to Listen to Dr. King? Dr. King in a March 25, 1967 antiwar march in Chicago. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Washington, D.C. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, San Jose, April 15, 1967 Anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, 1968 Democratic National Convention protests, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee, National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, John F. Kennedy's speech to the nation on Civil Rights, Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, Chicago Freedom Movement/Chicago open housing movement, Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Council for United Civil Rights Leadership, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), "Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind Stayed On Freedom)", List of lynching victims in the United States, Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument,, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from January 2023, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2023, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2021, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 13 January 2023, at 12:35. He criticized the Vietnam War and praised Muhammad Ali for being a conscientious objector. [citation needed]. I must cry out when I see war escalated at any point (Opposes Vietnam War). Due to the Vietnam War is that plenty of individuals, both Americans and Vietnamese were killed. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land. Fifty-years ago in April 1967, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered one of his most memorable, if not controversial sermons, at Riverside Church just steps away from the Columbia University campus. So, that's all I had to say. And after I was wounded, we had four or five 100-pound bomb dropped on us, and 10 Marines were killed outright and 24 were wounded. CONAN: Indeed, it was Oslo. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor both black and white through the poverty program. At what cost? He turned that into a great speech when he got out of the hospital. CONAN: Tavis Smiley, author, journalist, political commentator, host of his talk show on PBS, joins us today from the Sheryl Flowers Studios in Los Angeles. The True Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Free Press. But for those who presently choose but one, I would hope they will finally come to see the moral roots common to both. Robert B. Semple, Jr., Dr. His house was bombed. Undeterred, King, Spock, and Harry Belafonte led 10,000 demonstrators on an anti-war march to the United Nations on 15 April 1967. 0000002004 00000 n Mr. SMILEY: We - let me just tell you this. In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4 in . 3. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. So King understood violence. King delivered the speech, sponsored by the group Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, after committing to participate in New York's April 15, 1967 anti-Vietnam war march from Central Park to the United Nations, sponsored by the Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. 2/QB(yQVz^*oU.FW They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. It was the speech he labored over the most. They must see Americans as strange liberators. As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. Martin Luther King's Beyond Vietnam Speech is in many ways even more relevant today than in 1967. . The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. And he starts out in the opening line at Riverside Church by saying: I am here tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. But when he turns the corner and then says, essentially, that Martin's philosophy wouldn't work in today's world, he goes on to say that Dr. King didn't know al-Qaida, as if to suggest that Martin didn't understand evil, that Martin didn't understand violence, that he himself had not been subjected to it. 0000003199 00000 n For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. "MLK: A Call to Conscience" premieres on PBS tomorrow night. King to Weigh Civil Disobedience If War Intensifies, New York Times, 2 April 1967. If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor. And what really got him to the point of figuring that he really, really had to address this again back to the children, he couldn't say to young folks in this country who were being denied, that they should engage nonviolence as a philosophy when he saw the children, when he saw these pictures of these Vietnamese children being bombed and the impact - the effect that napalm was having on their bodies. Delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Manhattan's Riverside Church, April 4, 1967 . I want to thank you, as I know listeners do as well, for your service to this country. On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech in New York City at Riverside Church on the occasion of his becoming co-chairperson of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam (subsequently renamed Clergy and Laity Concerned ). In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: To save the soul of America. We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. . He supported Johnsons calls for diplomatic negotiations and economic development as the beginnings of such a step. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. Dr. King is trying to get the point across that our country is being unfair to others. So practically everybody in his inner circle was against him giving it - one, because they knew the kind of pushback he was going to get. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. or 404 526-8968. That's at, click on TALK OF THE NATION. [28], A portion of this speech is used in the track "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" by Linkin Park, from their 2010 album A Thousand Suns. HdTn0+=3hRnm)zK#-t\|Ha)S 0000008347 00000 n What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? 159. When he saw those pictures, there's a very famous picture, Neal, that we all know of a Vietnamese girl running naked in the streets who had just been, you know, had been victimized as had her village by these napalm attacks. And so I think most Americans, Neal, know the "I Have A Dream" speech. A Comparative Study of Martin Luther King Jr & Malcolm X. by. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands. Ken Rudin joins guest host Rebecca Roberts. At the time, civil rights leaders publicly condemned him for it. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. He summed up this aspect by saying, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nations role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? "I've Been to the Mountaintop" is the popular name of the last speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. King spoke on April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters) in Memphis, Tennessee. Twin towers were planned from Afghanistan. CONAN: Oh, the audio is terrible, though. In December 1966, testifying before a congressional subcommittee on budget priorities, King argued for a rebalancing of fiscal priorities away from Americas obsession with Vietnam and toward greater support for anti-poverty programs at home (Semple, Dr.

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