At the U.N. King also brought up issues of civil rights and the draft. This speech was enormously controversial. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech that may have helped put a target on his back. And King was prescient on this. That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. ” (Martin Luther King) Dry. And his argument, basically, was that I cannot, as a practitioner and a true believer in nonviolence, espouse that nonviolent philosophy in our movement and then somehow sit idly by when I see violence being engaged around the world. Of course, he's assassinated in Memphis a year to the day later after giving this speech. And they, as news crews tend to do, they stayed to get just enough B-roll, as we call it... Mr. SMILEY: ...for the news that night. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Washington, D.C. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, San Jose, Martin Luther King High School (disambiguation), Lycée Martin Luther King (disambiguation), Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, John F. Kennedy's speech to the nation on Civil Rights, 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), Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, List of lynching victims in the United States, Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. Let us not Join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the united States to relinquish its participation in the united Nations. “There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war” declared Rev. Not only were they fighting for their own rights in 1976, but … He turned that into a great speech when he got out of the hospital. And there was a 18-year-old black Marine that picked me up since I couldn't walk, got me away from bombs and saved my life. Excerpts from this speech are used in the songs "Together" and "Spirit" by Nordic Giants. And that's the issue that King was raising. One of the things, I hope, Neal, will happen here is that when people get a chance to see the special, they will be moved - I think they will be - to Google or Bing, whatever search engine you use, to go online, because the speech is so readily available, Neal, as you know. He passed the Civil Rights Act. MLK’s Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. 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. "[10], King also criticized American opposition to North Vietnam's land reforms. A speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., given at Riverside Church in New York City, April 4, 1967, and sponsored by Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. However, Martin Luther King Jr. supported equality and opposed the Vietnam War. In his speech on the meaninglessness of the Vietnam war and to persuade the audience to listen to its own conscience rather than to conform to the idea of war in the name of patriotism, King Jr draws from the realms of economy, society, polity as well as religion and philosophy. 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. The New York Times editorial suggested that conflating the civil rights movement with the anti-war movement was an oversimplification that did justice to neither, stating that "linking these hard, complex problems will lead not to solutions but to deeper confusion." But it ends up being the most controversial speech. But Martin understood very clearly that what we ought to be doing at home is being - we are being distracted, rather, by our engagement around the world. No, Howard, I thank you for your phone call. A few other Americans know, of course, the "Mountaintop" speech given the night before he's assassinated in Memphis. And at that march, he knew there would be people, as you point out in the film, waving Vietnamese flags and chanting... CONAN: ...Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is going to win, and that sort of thing and it would clearly be taken in a very different context. By the time King made the "Beyond Vietnam" speech, Smiley tells host Neal Conan, "he had fallen off already the list of most-admired Americans as tallied by Gallup every year." [20][21], In a 1952 letter to Coretta Scott, he said: "I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic ..."[22] In one speech, he stated that "something is wrong with capitalism" and claimed, "There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. The United States Congress was spending more and more on the military and less and less on anti-poverty programs at the same time. 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. 736 Words3 Pages. And King had preached at this church any number of times before, of course. So you got a Nobel laureate named King, a war president with a Nobel Prize named Obama, for all that we have done over the last two years to wed King and Obama together on T- shirts and everywhere else, were King alive today at 81, he and Obama would have a tension point, Neal, on this issue. But they didn't stay for the speech in its entirety. I have not urged a mechanical fusion of the civil rights and peace movements. And about a month after that speech was given, I was wounded. It was a tactical mistake. (Unintelligible) on this program about, you know, the chances he took and even, you know, speaking truth to power to LBJ helped him so much in civil rights. Nevertheless, I am in a different position as the president of the United States. So this was a huge, huge speech that got Martin King in more trouble than anything he had ever said or done. I'm Neal Conan. CONAN: And I think a lot of people will see your parallels regarding Iraq, where, indeed, the United States was the aggressor in that conflict. P. 418-425. It's a powerful refrain, Neal, about what would've happened in his life, what he would've missed if he had sneezed at that very moment. 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. But two, to the audio, there are only less than 10 minutes of this speech that got covered. Afghanistan, not so much. "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence", also referred as Riverside Church speech, is an anti-Vietnam War and pro-social justice speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated. 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. Hundreds of folks listened outside on loudspeakers. So, that's all I had to say. King had read Marx while at Morehouse, but while he rejected "traditional capitalism", he also rejected communism because of its "materialistic interpretation of history" that denied religion, its "ethical relativism", and its "political totalitarianism. The march was organized by the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and initiated by its chairman, James Bevel. One of his great advisers and great admirers, Stanley Levison, who was always with Dr. King in his corner, was against Martin giving this speech. Let's go to Walt(ph). The speech began conventionally. A Call to Conscience. James L. Bevel dies at 72; civil rights activist and top lieutenant to King", "Martin Luther King Jr. made our nation uncomfortable", "Martin Luther King Jr. as Democratic Socialist.". Martin Luther King, who was already beginning to lose some of his influence, nevertheless made a huge challenge to the establishment. Mr. SMILEY: Indeed, he did. [17][18] Twin towers were planned from Afghanistan. So he was no longer on that particular list. He was stabbed at one time. Life magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi",[9] and The Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people. AFP/AFP/Getty Images Those pictures turned Dr. King's stomach. We had to do a whole lot of work in the booth trying to get that audio right. The Washington Post says he has done a discredit to himself, to his people, to his country. "[15] The major speech at Riverside Church in New York, New York, followed several interviews and several other public speeches in which Dr. King came out against the war in Vietnam and the policies that created the war. One of the eight "sound cells" in @Large, Ai Weiwei's 2014–15 exhibit at Alcatraz, features King's voice giving the "Beyond Vietnam" speech.[29]. Had the president stopped by giving Martin King his just respect - as he did, to his credit - it would have been okay. GradesFixer. This is where people started to break away. King spoke strongly against the U.S.'s role in the war, arguing that the U.S. was in Vietnam "to occupy it as an American colony" and calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence is an anti-Vietnam war speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1967. Sermons and speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. "Vincent Harding dies at 82; historian wrote controversial King speech", "Vincent Harding, author of Martin Luther King Jr.'s antiwar speech, dies", "The Rev. The question is, is it a war of necessity or a war of choice at this point? PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's new documentary, MLK: A Call to Conscience explores King's speech. Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett, 1974. "[25] King condemned America's "alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America", and said that the U.S. should support "the shirtless and barefoot people" in the Third World rather than suppressing their attempts at revolution. Beyond Vietnam Speech - Original Recording by Thirteen NY published on 2017-08-31T18:01:05Z This anti-war speech was given April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City. Through his use of imagery, diction, and parallel structure, Martin Luther King Jr associates the war in Vietnam with injustice in his famous speech, "Beyond Vietnam - A Time to Break Silence. WALT (Caller): Yes. I want to thank you, as I know listeners do as well, for your service to this country. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah, Walt, I thank you for sharing that story as well, for being courageous to tell it, number one. That Vietnam was a mistake. Appreciate it. Some, like civil rights leader Ralph Bunche, the NAACP, and the editorial page writers of The Washington Post[3] and The New York Times[4] called the Riverside Church speech a mistake on King's part. Would you like Wikipedia to always look as professional and up-to-date? Sorry, I'm a little bit emotional here. King Jr. delivered a speech called “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence”, at a meeting of concerned clergy at Riverside Church in New York City, New York. So when the president suggests - and whether directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally diminishes in that Nobel speech Martin's powerful, nonviolent philosophy, it tweaked some people, and you'll see that in the presentation Wednesday night. So King understood violence. English: Martin Luther King, Jr, Ph.D. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was a Baptist minister and political activist who was the most famous leader of the American civil rights movement. But certainly one of the greatest orators of our time. If Dr. King were to say to the organizers of these events, I'd like to show up at your church on Sunday morning, at your rally this weekend, and here's what I want to say, there is a good argument to be made that Dr. King himself might not be welcome - might not be allowed to say what was in his heart, what his conscience really was, given the political correctness of the world that we live in today. Keep in mind now that 1967, Neal, as you know, is the same year that Muhammad Ali, the world champion, decides to not accept that draft to go and fight in Vietnam. To change course, King suggested a five point outline for stopping the war, which included a call for a unilateral ceasefire. President Obama, this is one campaign promise that he has kept. And let's see if we can get another caller on the line. Email us: talk@npr.org. And the last poll taken in his life by Harris, the Harris Poll, Neal, found that nearly three quarters of the American people, nearly three quarters, had turned against Martin on this issue, and 55 percent of his own people, black folk, had turned against him. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" was a powerful and angry speech that raged against the war. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just. 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. Mr. SMILEY: Neal, thank you for the opportunity. And King gives a great speech out of that hospital called "If I Had Sneezed." But there was a great turnout for the speech. Full-Text and Audio Excerpts of Martin Luther King's speech "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967 - Riverside Church, NYC, available on this site. And I think that if nothing else what we need to wrestle with in a contemporary sense, Neal, is the question of whether or not there is another way that King would have us consider were he allowed to do. King contemplated but ultimately decided against the proposal on the grounds that he felt uneasy with politics and considered himself better suited for his morally unambiguous role as an activist.[26]. CONAN: Indeed, it was Oslo. The film is the second episode of Tavis Smiley Reports. That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. 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. That's what set so many of them off. How are you, sir? You can also join the conversation at our Web site. The problem was that practically everyone in his inner circle - not all, there was James Bevel and a couple of others - but practically everyone in his inner circle advised him strongly not to give this speech. And so I think most Americans, Neal, know the "I Have A Dream" speech. It was the speech he labored over the most. His house was bombed. He passed the Voting Rights Act. 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. In Joanne Grant (Ed.) That's the problem with it. That's it. Not everyone who supported equality was opposed to the Vietnam War. Because, to your point now, one, I want people to go online and read the speech so you can see the text for yourself. He guarded his language in public to avoid being linked to communism by his enemies, but in private he sometimes spoke of his support for democratic socialism. 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. Mr. SMILEY: He'd wanted to give it two years earlier and had attempted a dry run at this speech, to your appoint, Neal, a couple of years prior to when he gave it. The speech and its echoes for Afghanistan and Iraq are the subject of "Tavis Smiley Reports MLK: A Call to Conscience.". But Carson makes a powerful point in the special that you just identified, about whether or not Martin King himself would be welcome in some of these mega-churches, at certain political gatherings. But most Americans, I think, do not know this speech, "Beyond Vietnam.". So it was a great turnout. I guess the question now is whether or not Afghanistan is a war of necessity or a war of choice. Martin Luther King 4 April 1967 Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my … ", In 1967, a year to the day before his death, Martin Luther King, Jr. departed from his message of civil rights to deliver a speech that denounced America's war in Vietnam. We have created a browser extension. complaining of what he described as a double standard that applauded his nonviolence at home, but deplored it when applied "toward little brown Vietnamese children. Mr. SMILEY: Well, I think the question is whether or not - I hear your point, Neal, and I take it. CONAN: And one thing that I was unaware of was the timing of the speech in that he had wanted to say something along these lines. As we all know, Neal, before he died, Robert McNamara, the Defense secretary that had Walt and others over in Vietnam, before he died, of course, announced that he was wrong. "[24], King also stated in "Beyond Vietnam" that "true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar ... it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. Through his use of imagery, diction, and parallel structure, Martin Luther King Jr associates the war in Vietnam with injustice in his famous speech, "Beyond Vietnam - A Time to Break Silence. They brought in extra chairs. Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. v. CBS, Inc. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Statue of Martin Luther King Jr. (Atlanta), Statue of Martin Luther King Jr. (Houston), Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, San Francisco, Martin Luther King Jr. Mexico City statue. The major speech at Riverside Church in New York City, followed several interviews[2] and several other public speeches in which King came out against the Vietnam War and the policies that created it. And I can't tell young black men, who are being denied right here in the streets of America, that they should offer themselves up and to sign themselves up to go - to do harm to people around the world who they do not know. Recent reports regarding human rights in Vietnam. And that is precisely what concerned Dr. King so much, that these young boys were being sent halfway around the world to fight a war that was unwinnable, that resources were being used there that should've been used here at home. King delivering his speech, later dubbed "Beyond Vietnam," at Riverside Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side, April 4, 1967 © John C. Goodwin That night, in front of more than 2,100 people, King laid out a five-step plan culminating in the withdrawal of all American troops from Vietnam. Opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. At what cost? And he said these three issues of racism and poverty and militarism are going to destroy this nation. "[15][16], The "Beyond Vietnam" speech reflected King's evolving political advocacy in his later years, which paralleled the teachings of the progressive Highlander Research and Education Center, with which he was affiliated. Dr. Martin Luther King in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech of 1967. Excuse me. Tavis Smiley joins us today from the Sheryl Flowers Studios in Los Angeles. I would like to see the fervor of the civil-rights movement imbued into the peace movement to instill it with greater strength. [11], King's opposition cost him significant support among white allies, including President Johnson, Billy Graham,[12] union leaders and powerful publishers. [25], King's stance on Vietnam encouraged Allard K. Lowenstein, William Sloane Coffin and Norman Thomas, with the support of anti-war Democrats, to attempt to persuade King to run against President Johnson in the 1968 United States presidential election. There are people who have come to see the moral imperative of equality, but who cannot yet see the moral imperative of world brotherhood. CONAN: Oh, the audio is terrible, though. The Uncompromising Anti-Capitalism of Martin Luther King Jr. "Why Martin Luther King Didn't Run for President", "The Story Of King's 'Beyond Vietnam' Speech", "Dragons, legos, and solitary: Ai Weiwei's transformative Alcatraz exhibition", Full transcript of the speech from Commondreams.org. I feel that Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali are two of the, you know, greatest Americans we've ever had. CONAN: Howard, thanks very much for the call. Indeed, you play parts of President Obama's speech to the Nobel Committee there in Stockholm where he received the award. And I believe everyone has a duty to be in both the civil-rights and peace movements. And Tavis, nice to have you back in the program. King began to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation, and more frequently expressed his opposition to the war and his desire to see a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice. The speech began conventionally. Through his use of imagery, diction, and parallel structure, Martin Luther King Jr associates the war in Vietnam with injustice in his famous speech, “Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence.” Martin Luther King Jr. applies imagery throughout his speech in order to illustrate the horrors of the war to arouse anger at its atrocities and injustice. Smiley continues, "it was the most controversial speech he ever gave. But what I want - I think the question - I've always thought that Dr. King, that that speech about Vietnam was his best speech in my mind. Beyond Vietnam Speech Analysis. Mr. SMILEY: It's a powerful point made by Clayborne Carson at Stanford who is in charge, as you know, Neal, of the King papers. April 30 "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" May "To Charter our Course for the Future" Frogmore, SC CONAN: We're talking with Tavis Smiley about his PBS special, "Tavis Smiley Reports MLK: A Call to Conscience." But LBJ disinvites him to the White House. Accuracy and availability may vary. That's at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION. Black Protest: History, Documents, and Analyses, 1619 to the Present. I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like. Smiley spoke with both scholars and friends of King, including Cornel West, Vincent Harding and Susannah Heschel. Read The Full Text And Listen To Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" Speech. Let me say this right quick: The comparisons between what King was addressing then about militarism, poverty and racism sound familiar 45 years later. (That is exactly one year before he was assassinated.) And so the question was, Martin, why would you antagonize the president who has been our friend? Mr. SMILEY: We - let me just tell you this. 2nd ed. The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. Mr. TAVIS SMILEY (Host, "The Tavis Smiley Show"): Neal, always an honor to be on with you. It will enhance any encyclopedic page you visit with the magic of the WIKI 2 technology. The full text is available to read online at And secondly, so many civil rights leaders were opposed to him giving it because LBJ had been the best president to black people on civil rights. He would no longer be respected. And that's just the Times and the Post. Copyright © 2010 NPR. This is only an excerpt. And I think most Americans know the "I Have A Dream" speech. A portion of this speech is used in the track "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" by Linkin Park, from their 2010 album A Thousand Suns. Date 1967-04-18 Asset type Episode Topics Social Issues Media type Sound Duration 00:29:41 The New York Times calls it wasteful and self-defeating. "[9], King opposed the Vietnam War because it took money and resources that could have been spent on social welfare at home. "[9] He stated that North Vietnam "did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had arrived in the tens of thousands", and accused the U.S. of having killed a million Vietnamese, "mostly children. Rhetorical Analysis of Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam: a Time to Break Silence" 1000 Words | 4 Pages. 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