Many misconceptions held by the status quo are raised during this interview, yet despite Dr. King's answers, those misconceptions have persisted. CONAN: And the place - choice of place is very interesting too. Tomorrow, the latest installment with the political junkie. That's the problem with it. And he said these three issues of racism and poverty and militarism are going to destroy this nation. hide caption. Martin built his speech that night, Neal, around three major points: around increasing militarism, around escalating poverty and around the issue of racism. King, Martin Luther Jr. "Beyond Vietnam." 800-989-8255. And Walt's with us from Cortez in Colorado. MLK Beyond Vietnam – Excerpts from Speech “Beyond Vietnam – A Time To Break Silence” was delivered in New York City’s Riverside Church on April 4th, 1967, one year to the day before Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Not only that, but then-President Lyndon Johnson disinvited King to the White House. " One of the eight "sound cells" in @Large, Ai Weiwei's 2014â15 exhibit at Alcatraz, features King's voice giving the "Beyond Vietnam" speech.. 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. The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. CONAN: Well, take us back to 1967. 50 years ago, on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church, in NYC, Martin Luther King delivered his powerful and most controversial speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”. 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. 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. When you read the speech, if you replace the word Vietnam, every time it pops up, with the word Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan, you will be - it will blow your mind at how King, where he alive today at 81, could really stand up and give that same speech and just replace, again, Vietnam with Iraq and Afghanistan. , King was long opposed to American involvement in the Vietnam War, but at first avoided the topic in public speeches in order to avoid the interference with civil rights goals that criticism of President Johnson's policies might have created. Black Protest: History, Documents, and Analyses, 1619 to the Present. But LBJ disinvites him to the White House. So this was a huge, huge speech that got Martin King in more trouble than anything he had ever said or done. And I believe everyone has a duty to be in both the civil-rights and peace movements. We're talking with Tavis Smiley. 736 Words3 Pages. 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. 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. 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. " He connected the war with economic injustice, arguing that the country needed serious moral change: A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. But most Americans, I think, do not know this speech, "Beyond Vietnam.". HOWARD: How are you doing, Tavis? CONAN: Oh, the audio is terrible, though. I feel that Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali are two of the, you know, greatest Americans we've ever had. Hundreds of folks listened outside on loudspeakers. Had the president stopped by giving Martin King his just respect - as he did, to his credit - it would have been okay. Published on May 4, 2013 Many folk have heard that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. made the comment that the U.S. government was … And I think most Americans know the "I Have A Dream" speech. And King was prescient on this. 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." That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. 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.. 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. Life magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi", and The Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people. The full text is available to read online at And thirdly, I think the main point here in this MLK "Beyond Vietnam" speech is that there is another way. The New York Times calls it wasteful and self-defeating. Smiley spoke with both scholars and friends of King, including Cornel West, Vincent Harding and Susannah Heschel. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's new documentary, MLK: A Call to Conscience explores King's speech. 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 … So 60 year(ph) is really, really a hot year here around this particular issue. CONAN: Indeed, it was Oslo. He passed the Civil Rights Act. 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. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? But two, to the audio, there are only less than 10 minutes of this speech that got covered. I've always argue that Dr. King is the greatest American we've ever produced. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. Delivers a speech called Beyond Vietnam He Initiates, ‘War Is not the answer. Excuse me. " 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. And so I think most Americans, Neal, know the "I Have A Dream" speech. And King had preached at this church any number of times before, of course. The speech began conventionally. 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 Martin's advisors basically said, if you are intent on giving the speech, at least allow us to craft a speech and to create a setting that will allow you to speak to clergy members and laity so at least before you get to this rally that we know is going to be controversial, we could at least roll this thing out with a different kind of a crowd. 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. Afghanistan, not so much. 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.  That's at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION. That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. This program presents the first part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech, "Beyond Vietnam." I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in … So practically everybody was opposed to him giving this speech. However, Martin Luther King Jr. supported equality and opposed the Vietnam War. ", 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. 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. Because, to your point now, one, I want people to go online and read the speech so you can see the text for yourself. 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. CONAN: Howard, thanks very much for the call. P. 418-425. 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. The address was part of a conference held by CAL-CAV (Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam), an organization working to bring the war in Vietnam to an end. The march was organized by the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and initiated by its chairman, James Bevel. It was the speech he labored over the most. Mr. SMILEY: Well, I think the question is whether or not - I hear your point, Neal, and I take it. The Washington Post says he has done a discredit to himself, to his people, to his country. And about a month after that speech was given, I was wounded. Answered Dec 05, 2018. But it ends up being the most controversial speech. ", After King delivered the speech, Smiley reports, "168 major newspapers the next day denounced him." For as popular as King was, he was a Nobel laureate, there were only one or two news crews who actually came to see the speech that night, Neal. Obery M. Hendricks Jr., Ph.D. (January 20, 2014). The United States Congress was spending more and more on the military and less and less on anti-poverty programs at the same time. 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. 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. He passed the Voting Rights Act. Check your local listings. WALT (Caller): Yes. A portion of this speech is used in the track "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" by Linkin Park, from their 2010 album A Thousand Suns. It was the speech he labored over the most. Some, like civil rights leader Ralph Bunche, the NAACP, and the editorial page writers of The Washington Post and The New York Times called the Riverside Church speech a mistake on King's part. Well, it was taken in that context, anyway. That's what I feel. So, that's all I had to say. That's what set so many of them off. Beyond Vietnam Speech Analysis. 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 they didn't stay for the speech in its entirety. Date 1967-04-18 Asset type Episode Topics Social Issues Media type Sound Duration 00:29:41 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. At the time, civil rights leaders publicly condemned him for it. 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. Full-Text and Audio Excerpts of Martin Luther King's speech "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967 - Riverside Church, NYC, available on this site. 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. The major speech at Riverside Church in New York City, followed several interviews and several other public speeches in which King came out against the Vietnam War and the policies that created it. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Thanks, as always for your time. And let's see if we can get another caller on the line. In Joanne Grant (Ed.) Tavis Smiley joins us today from the Sheryl Flowers Studios in Los Angeles. This speech was written and basically read word for word so that they could have a copy to give to mainstream newspapers across the country for their consideration, because King did not want to be misquoted... Mr. SMILEY: ...or misunderstood, although that didn't work. Relevance to U.S. Wars and Militarism Today. Let me say this right quick: The comparisons between what King was addressing then about militarism, poverty and racism sound familiar 45 years later. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah, Walt, I thank you for sharing that story as well, for being courageous to tell it, number one. I have not urged a mechanical fusion of the civil rights and peace movements. Thank you. 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. 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. AD Exactly one year before his assassination, on April 4, 1967, Rev. Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett, 1974. And we are spending money for a war abroad that ought to be spent for the war on poverty here at home. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. TAVIS SMILEY (Host, "The Tavis Smiley Show"): Neal, always an honor to be on with you. Martin Luther King April 4, 1967 Riverside Church, New York City 2 Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents. 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.". This is where people started to break away. CONAN: We're talking with Tavis Smiley about his PBS special, "Tavis Smiley Reports MLK: A Call to Conscience." Those pictures turned Dr. King's stomach. Let's get Howard(ph) on the line. At the time, civil rights leaders publicly condemned him for it. Indeed, you play parts of President Obama's speech to the Nobel Committee there in Stockholm where he received the award. We have created a browser extension. He had fallen off already the list, as you mentioned, had already fallen off the list of the most admired Americans as tallied by Gallup every year. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah. Of course, the Nobel Peace Laureate, a man who clearly believed in nonviolence down to his very soul... CONAN: ...but he'd wanted to give that speech two years earlier. Smiley continues, "it was the most controversial speech he ever gave. Howard's calling us from South Bend. Others, including James Bevel, King's partner and strategist in the Civil Rights Movement, called it King's most important speech. He turned that into a great speech when he got out of the hospital. 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. Of course, again, that philosophy, when the papers got a hold of him the next day, that strategy didn't work so well. 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. I want to thank you, as I know listeners do as well, for your service to this country. The message directly challenged the president who'd taken great political risks to support civil rights legislation and also challenged many of his colleagues in the movement who've called it a tactical mistake. In April 1967 American civil rights leader Martin Luther King delivered his best known anti-war speech, dubbed ‘Beyond Vietnam’: “I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. 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. I'm Neal Conan. 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 install click the Add extension button. 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. We had to do a whole lot of work in the booth trying to get that audio right. After he gives it, 168 major newspapers the next day denounce him. Mr. SMILEY: And therein lies the rub. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" was a powerful and angry speech that raged against the war. " King quoted a United States official who said that from Vietnam to Latin America, the country was "on the wrong side of a world revolution. The speech began conventionally. That's my own personal assessment. A combative interview, important, for its proceeding Dr. King's Beyond Vietnam Speech. And so he does in New York City. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah. 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. So all that we have is less than 10 minutes of video of the speech. But I'm hoping that people will get a chance, once they see the speech, they'll be moved to go read the speech and to make comparisons, Neal. 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. This is only an excerpt. 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. 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. Twin towers were planned from Afghanistan. Sorry, I'm a little bit emotional here. The question is, is it a war of necessity or a war of choice at this point? 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. 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. 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. Excerpts from this speech are used in the songs "Together" and "Spirit" by Nordic Giants. And King gives a great speech out of that hospital called "If I Had Sneezed." It basically ruined their working relationship. To change course, King suggested a five point outline for stopping the war, which included a call for a unilateral ceasefire. 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. ", King also stated in "Beyond Vietnam" that "true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggarÂ ... it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. Read The Full Text And Listen To Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" Speech. 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. , In 2010, PBS commentator Tavis Smiley said that the speech was the most controversial speech of King's career, and the one he "labored over the most".. Nevertheless, I am in a different position as the president of the United States. This speech was enormously controversial. 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. And thank you for sharing what had to be a difficult story to tell. This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News in Washington. Mr. SMILEY: That's right. His house was bombed. They brought in extra chairs. ", King also criticized American opposition to North Vietnam's land reforms. Because he received a letter from a little white girl who said, Dr. King, I read the newspaper that had you sneezed that blade would've moved, ruptured your aorta and you would've drowned in your own blood. However, you argue strongly in the film that it was completely consistent with the nature and the character of Dr. King and something he needed to say. "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. Mr. SMILEY: Neal, thank you for the opportunity. MLK Beyond Vietnam _7 minutes.mp3 Rabbi Arthur Waskow worked with Cantor Abbe Lyons when she decided to shape a new Haftarah—the Prophetic passage chanted on Shabbat—from passages of Dr. King’s prophetic “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967—exactly one year before he was killed. 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. "This was a huge, huge speech," he continues, "that got Martin King in more trouble than anything he had ever seen or done. If you remember the speech, tell us what it meant at that time, and does the principle of nonviolence apply in the age of al-Qaida? Of course, he's assassinated in Memphis a year to the day later after giving this speech. 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. 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 Jr delivered his “ Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence ” in 1967 in NewYork City. 2018 Apr 06 [cited 2021 Jan 8]. "It basically ruins their relationship," says Smiley. So it was a great turnout. 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, Neal. , 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. But anyway, where he says, I am mindful of those who spoke at this podium, this spot before me, including Martin Luther King and that I stand on his shoulders as a champion of civil rights. 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. "The press is being stacked against me", King said, According to the report, the government has imposed restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. , 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 capitalisticÂ ..." 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. 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