“Beyond Vietnam” (1967) is a speech Martin Luther King, Jr gave at the Riverside Church in New York exactly one year before he was shot dead. He came out against the Vietnam War, calling it immoral. It burned his bridges with the president. The Washington Post said it “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”How come white folks never quote speeches like these from MLK?
King could no longer remain silent – as a minister of Jesus Christ, as one of God’s children, as an American, as a believer in non-violence, as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. As a black man:
- How can he ask a young black man with a Molotov cocktail in his hand to put it down because violence is not the answer – when his own government thinks violence is the answer in Vietnam?
- How can he ask him to fight for freedom in Vietnam when there is no freedom in East Harlem?
- How can he ask him to fight alongside a white man in Vietnam when he cannot live alongside him on the same block in Chicago?
- How can he ask him to fight in a war where he is more likely to die than a white man?
Civilization of Blood