The Hidden Dr. King + Beyond Vietnam
Program #SMIT001-KINM003. Recorded in – on –.
First Program: Tavis Smiley The Hidden Dr. King
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr has been shrink-wrapped and formatted to be innocuous and non-threatening. Dream speeches, desegregation, voting rights, and Selma marches could be accommodated. But when he articulated a critique of the system as a whole then he became a danger to the establishment. That Dr. King has been largely obscured. At Riverside Church in New York he said the Vietnam War was “a symptom of a far deeper malady.” And then he added, “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” By giving that speech Dr. King basically signed his own death warrant.
Second Program: Martin Luther King, Jr. Beyond Vietnam
August 28th marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It will be aired over and over again. The charismatic orator is forever frozen on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on that August day. No doubt it was a great and historic presentation, profoundly moving and full of dazzling poetry and inspiring images. But he was to give another address no less significant to a much smaller audience on April 4, 1967 in Riverside Church in New York. There King demonstrated his deep understanding of how the system works. He moved beyond a simple race analysis to include class and foreign policy issues. He forcefully denounced the war in Vietnam. He called the U.S. “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and he deplored the “giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism.” Exactly one year later King was assassinated in Memphis where he had gone in solidarity with striking sanitation workers.
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