Highlights from MLK's "Beyond Vietnam" Speech

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A little over 55 years ago, Martin Luther King gave a speech titled "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" at New York City's Riverside Church. It divided the nation and drew heavy criticism from major newspapers, political organizations, and fellow activists. Exactly a year later, he was assassinated. Click here for details.

The Point of "Beyond Vietnam"

"Beyond Vietnam" was the first time MLK went on record to state his opinion on the Vietnam War. He was addressing a gathering of 3,000, so it was guaranteed to elicit a reaction.

King categorically condemned the Vietnam War, calling it an economic and human burden on the country's poor working class. He called for the resources being spent on the war to be redirected to equal rights for America's minorities.

His opinions drew the furor of many and the support of some. The former either termed it unpatriotic or claimed it threw a wrench in the civil rights movement Malcolm X by making it an extension of the more radical peace movement.

Following are the highlights from his memorable, opinion-shaping speech.

"An Enemy of the Poor"

By terming war "an enemy of the poor," MLK meant that the Poor People's Campaign, which was flourishing before the war, was in shambles as soon as those very poor people were sent off to a senseless war.

The civil rights leader sounded resigned when he said he knew better than to think the US government would ever divert funds towards rehabilitating the country's poor white and black people.

homeless man

"In Brutal Solidarity"

King used the word "in brutal solidarity" to describe white and black people who were united in the cruelest way possible. They were being sent 8,000 miles away from home to guarantee freedom and restore the rights of an entirely different population when they hardly had any civil rights at home.

Instead of seating white and black students together, we're uniting them in a matter of life and death. He called it a "manipulation" of America's poverty-stricken community.

"This Self-Defeating Path"

King termed hate a "self-defeating path," saying he wanted his country to stop worshipping concepts of hate and revenge. Although uttered 55 years ago, his words are just as relevant today because the US has not learned from history. Its foreign policies continue to override the issues back home that have worsened due to neglect and lack of effective action.

By uttering those words, King wanted his country to take the high road, let bygones be bygones, and focus on its development.

Coming Back to the Martin Luther King Assassination

Martin Luther King gave his famous speech on April 4, 1967. Ironically, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The dates might be a coincidence, but the coverups that followed his assassination are no coincidence.

Stay tuned as we challenge and debunk the many lies that have permeated the mainstream since the Assassination of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Malcolm X.

Get in touch to contribute your thoughts, resources, and insights.

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