Accuracy and availability may vary. 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. 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. 2nd ed. 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. It was written by activist and historian Vincent Harding. Had the president stopped by giving Martin King his just respect - as he did, to his credit - it would have been okay. This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News in Washington. It was the speech he labored over the most. We're talking with Tavis Smiley. 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. The full text is available to read online at That Vietnam was a mistake. The film is the second episode of Tavis Smiley Reports. CONAN: Indeed. On April 15, 1967, King participated and spoke at an anti-war march from Manhattan's Central Park to the United Nations. As the head of state, I cannot necessarily embrace the same principles that, as you point out, Martin Luther King, a prophet, an outsider could embrace. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence Rev. And I believe everyone has a duty to be in both the civil-rights and peace movements. 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. [13] WALT (Caller): Yes. And thirdly, I think the main point here in this MLK "Beyond Vietnam" speech is that there is another way. "The press is being stacked against me", King said,[14] So it was a great turnout. Smiley spoke with both scholars and friends of King, including Cornel West, Vincent Harding and Susannah Heschel. 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. He turned that into a great speech when he got out of the hospital. 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. 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. 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. Thanks, as always for your time. 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. 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. Mr. SMILEY: Well, I think the question is whether or not - I hear your point, Neal, and I take 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." The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. 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. Delivers a speech called Beyond Vietnam He Initiates, ‘War Is not the answer. This speech was enormously controversial. It was a wonderful, I think, place to give the speech in the sense that it's pretty cavernous. And King had preached at this church any number of times before, of course. 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. 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. It was the speech he labored over the most. Check your local listings. 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. 16, 1967 in New York. Martin Luther King, who was already beginning to lose some of his influence, nevertheless made a huge challenge to the establishment. 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. Mr. SMILEY: And therein lies the rub. Excerpts from this speech are used in the songs "Together" and "Spirit" by Nordic Giants. That's what I feel. CONAN: Indeed, it was Oslo. And it was on that occasion that he - when he saw those pictures, said, I have to speak out about this. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" was a powerful and angry speech that raged against the war. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. To install click the Add extension button. 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. CONAN: And the place - choice of place is very interesting too. But it ends up being the most controversial speech. And that's just the Times and the Post. And so he does in New York City. CONAN: We (unintelligible) to see it. 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. The Washington Post says he has done a discredit to himself, to his people, to his country. 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. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood. King Jr delivered his “ Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence ” in 1967 in NewYork City. ” (Martin Luther King) Dry. And thank you for sharing what had to be a difficult story to tell. "[9], King opposed the Vietnam War because it took money and resources that could have been spent on social welfare at home. He did say he was going to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, so he's kept that promise. And so the question was, Martin, why would you antagonize the president who has been our friend? 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. 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. 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. Rhetorical Analysis of Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam: a Time to Break Silence" 1000 Words | 4 Pages. 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. 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. 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. Sorry, I'm a little bit emotional here. The New York Times calls it wasteful and self-defeating. King, Martin Luther Jr. "Beyond Vietnam." I have not urged a mechanical fusion of the civil rights and peace movements. CONAN: "MLK: A Call to Conscience" premieres on PBS tomorrow night. At the time, civil rights leaders publicly condemned him for it. "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. hide caption. 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. CONAN: Walt, thank you. Because, to your point now, one, I want people to go online and read the speech so you can see the text for yourself. 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. It will enhance any encyclopedic page you visit with the magic of the WIKI 2 technology. So 60 year(ph) is really, really a hot year here around this particular issue. According to the report, the government has imposed restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. 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. Smiley continues, "it was the most controversial speech he ever gave. 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. Relevance to U.S. Wars and Militarism Today. But two, to the audio, there are only less than 10 minutes of this speech that got covered. I'm Neal Conan. And King was prescient on this. 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. 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. 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. So practically everybody was opposed to him giving this speech. Full-Text and Audio Excerpts of Martin Luther King's speech "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967 - Riverside Church, NYC, available on this site. 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. We have created a browser extension. And Tavis, nice to have you back in the program. This is only an excerpt. 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. Rhetorical Devices In Beyond Vietnam Speech. 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. ", After King delivered the speech, Smiley reports, "168 major newspapers the next day denounced him." He passed the Civil Rights Act. 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]. So he was no longer on that particular list. A Call to Conscience. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech that may have helped put a target on his back. 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”. I feel that Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali are two of the, you know, greatest Americans we've ever had. Let me say this right quick: The comparisons between what King was addressing then about militarism, poverty and racism sound familiar 45 years later. He was stabbed at one time. 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. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett, 1974. This is where people started to break away. Date 1967-04-18 Asset type Episode Topics Social Issues Media type Sound Duration 00:29:41 And I think most Americans know the "I Have A Dream" speech. So, that's all I had to say. "MLK: A Call to Conscience" premieres on PBS tomorrow night. "[23] Thank you. ", 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. The Riverside Church donated largely with Rockefeller money. 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. It was a tactical mistake. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence is an anti-Vietnam war speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1967. Black Protest: History, Documents, and Analyses, 1619 to the Present. "This was a huge, huge speech," he continues, "that got Martin King in more trouble than anything he had ever seen or done. We had to do a whole lot of work in the booth trying to get that audio right. "[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. HOWARD: How are you doing, Tavis? "It basically ruins their relationship," says Smiley. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 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. Email us: talk@npr.org. They brought in extra chairs. In Joanne Grant (Ed.) Answered Dec 05, 2018. Tavis Smiley joins us today from the Sheryl Flowers Studios in Los Angeles. Copyright © 2010 NPR. But there was a great turnout for the speech. 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). 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.". Let's go to Walt(ph). 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. 800-989-8255, email us talk@npr.org. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah. You can also join the conversation at our Web site. 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. Many misconceptions held by the status quo are raised during this interview, yet despite Dr. King's answers, those misconceptions have persisted. 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. The United States Congress was spending more and more on the military and less and less on anti-poverty programs at the same time. I would like to see the fervor of the civil-rights movement imbued into the peace movement to instill it with greater strength. He would no longer be respected. AD Exactly one year before his assassination, on April 4, 1967, Rev. Mr. SMILEY: Yeah, Walt, I thank you for sharing that story as well, for being courageous to tell it, number one. 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. 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. Of course, he's assassinated in Memphis a year to the day later after giving this speech. (That is 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. After he gives it, 168 major newspapers the next day denounce him. He passed the Voting Rights Act. Hundreds of folks listened outside on loudspeakers. The speech began conventionally. And let's see if we can get another caller on the line. All rights reserved. Obery M. Hendricks Jr., Ph.D. (January 20, 2014). It will enhance any encyclopedic page you visit with the magic of the WIKI 2 technology. CONAN: We're talking with Tavis Smiley about his PBS special, "Tavis Smiley Reports MLK: A Call to Conscience." Martin Luther King’s Purpose in His Speech Beyond Vietnam: a Time to Break Silence [Internet]. 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. Mr. SMILEY: Indeed he did, Neal. And he said these three issues of racism and poverty and militarism are going to destroy this nation. Would you like Wikipedia to always look as professional and up-to-date? 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. April 30 "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" May "To Charter our Course for the Future" Frogmore, SC After giving his Beyond Vietnam speech, Martin Luther King Jr. lost some of his allies who had once been strong supporters of his cause. 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. 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. Mr. SMILEY: We - let me just tell you this. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. 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. Mr. SMILEY: That's right. 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. I guess the question now is whether or not Afghanistan is a war of necessity or a war of choice. Martin Luther King Jr. 800-989-8255. 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