This program presents the first part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech, "Beyond Vietnam." Mr. TAVIS SMILEY (Host, "The Tavis Smiley Show"): Neal, always an honor to be on with you. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah. At the time, civil rights leaders publicly condemned him for it. 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. United States House Select Committee on Assassinations, Martin Luther King Jr. Records Collection Act, King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis, The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, Joseph Schwantner: New Morning for the World; Nicolas Flagello: The Passion of Martin Luther King. , King's opposition cost him significant support among white allies, including President Johnson, Billy Graham, union leaders and powerful publishers. Delivers a speech called Beyond Vietnam He Initiates, ‘War Is not the answer. 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. They brought in extra chairs. Black Protest: History, Documents, and Analyses, 1619 to the Present. 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: It's a powerful point made by Clayborne Carson at Stanford who is in charge, as you know, Neal, of the King papers. CONAN: Walt, thank you. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 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. That Vietnam was a mistake. King followed with an historical sketch outlining Vietnam’s devastation at the hands of “ deadly Western arrogance, ” noting, “ we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor ” (King, “ Beyond Vietnam, ” 146; 153). You can also join the conversation at our Web site. 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. 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. And that's just the Times and the Post. I'm Neal Conan. 800-989-8255. One of the eight "sound cells" in @Large, Ai Weiwei's 2014â15 exhibit at Alcatraz, features King's voice giving the "Beyond Vietnam" 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. I've always thought that was, to me, his best speech, his most consequential speech, even better than I have a dream in the mountain top speech. In Joanne Grant (Ed.) 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. Beyond Vietnam Speech Analysis. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence Rev. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. ", 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. "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence", also referred as the Riverside Church speech, is an antiâVietnam War and proâsocial justice speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated.  You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. Rhetorical Devices In Beyond Vietnam Speech. But they didn't stay for the speech in its entirety. Of course, he's assassinated in Memphis a year to the day later after giving this speech. The full text is available to read online at Had the president stopped by giving Martin King his just respect - as he did, to his credit - it would have been okay. Excuse me. Excerpts from this speech are used in the songs "Together" and "Spirit" by Nordic Giants. P. 418-425. However, Martin Luther King Jr. supported equality and opposed the Vietnam War. 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. "It basically ruins their relationship," says Smiley. And thank you for sharing what had to be a difficult story to tell. Mr. SMILEY: Indeed, he did. CONAN: And there's an interesting point you also make in the film that - or at least some of the participants in your film make - that were he alive today and saying the kinds of things you would expect him to say, given that speech, he probably would not be invited to many Martin Luther King Day celebrations. Those pictures turned Dr. King's stomach. 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 … MLK’s Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.  At the urging of SCLC's former Director of Direct Action and now the head of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, James Bevel, and inspired by the outspokenness of Muhammad Ali, King eventually agreed to publicly oppose the war as opposition was growing among the American public.. It basically ruined their working relationship. 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. Indeed, you play parts of President Obama's speech to the Nobel Committee there in Stockholm where he received the award. We had to do a whole lot of work in the booth trying to get that audio right. 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. "The press is being stacked against me", King said, 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. Nevertheless, I am in a different position as the president of the United States. CONAN: Oh, the audio is terrible, though. All rights reserved. CONAN: Howard, thanks very much for the call. But there was a great turnout for the speech. 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. It was, to your earlier point, the most controversial speech he ever gave. 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. 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." 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. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence is an anti-Vietnam war speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1967. 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. That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. 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. 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. 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. It will enhance any encyclopedic page you visit with the magic of the WIKI 2 technology.  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. Relevance to U.S. Wars and Militarism Today. So, that's all I had to say. So practically everybody was opposed to him giving this speech. (That is exactly one year before he was assassinated.) Tavis Smiley joins us today from the Sheryl Flowers Studios in Los Angeles. And King had preached at this church any number of times before, of course. All they wanted was “to save the soul of America” (King, Beyond, 42). The film is the second episode of Tavis Smiley Reports. I just wanted to say that I was an 18-year-old Marine in Vietnam when the speech was given, and I didn't hear it until three or four years ago. And so the question was, Martin, why would you antagonize the president who has been our friend? But the entire speech, of course, thankfully, was recorded on audio. Mr. SMILEY: We - let me just tell you this. But certainly one of the greatest orators of our time. So he was no longer on that particular list. AD Exactly one year before his assassination, on April 4, 1967, Rev. Not only were they fighting for their own rights in 1976, but … That's it. Check your local listings. 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. That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. 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. And about a month after that speech was given, I was wounded. He passed the Civil Rights Act. "MLK: A Call to Conscience" premieres on PBS tomorrow night. That's my own personal assessment. In its 2004 report on Human Rights Practices, the U.S. State Department characterized Vietnam's human rights record as "poor" and cited the continuation of "serious abuses." Twin towers were planned from Afghanistan. “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. Sorry, I'm a little bit emotional here. 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. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" was a powerful and angry speech that raged against the war. 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. Because, to your point now, one, I want people to go online and read the speech so you can see the text for yourself. 800-989-8255, email us firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. 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. There are people who have come to see the moral imperative of equality, but who cannot yet see the moral imperative of world brotherhood. He passed the Voting Rights Act. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Washington, D.C. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, San Jose, Martin Luther King High School (disambiguation), LycÃ©e 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. There were a lot of people inside. 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. 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. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah. 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. " Ken Rudin joins guest host Rebecca Roberts. But it ends up being the most controversial speech. We have created a browser extension. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. So it was a great turnout. He did say he was going to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, so he's kept that promise. He would no longer be respected. But most Americans, I think, do not know this speech, "Beyond Vietnam.". " 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. At what cost? After giving his Beyond Vietnam speech, Martin Luther King Jr. lost some of his allies who had once been strong supporters of his cause. ", 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. Let me say this right quick: The comparisons between what King was addressing then about militarism, poverty and racism sound familiar 45 years later. 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