Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. In fact, in the aftermath of the “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Dr. King was wildly unpopular. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. v. CBS, Inc. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, San Francisco. Exactly one year later, King was assassinated in Memphis. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement. Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. After more than 40 years, it still sounds revolutionary (Hansen, p. 175-177). 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. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. Now let us begin. It was his first major public antiwar speech and a powerful warning that a rise in racial hatred, militarism and … The peasants watched and cringed and Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor. He guarded his language in public to avoid being linked to communism by his enemies, but in private he sometimes spoke of his support for democratic socialism. 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. "The calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak," said King. 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." Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. "[9] He stated that North Vietnam "did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had arrived in the tens of thousands", and accused the U.S. of having killed a million Vietnamese, "mostly children. The United States Congress was spending more and more on the military and less and less on anti-poverty programs at the same time. 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]. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church—the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate—leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [applause] War is not the answer. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a unified Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.” It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. Rhetorical Devices In Beyond Vietnam Speech 736 Words3 Pages All they wanted was “to save the soul of America” (King, Beyond, 42). They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands. 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. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor. [sustained applause]. As Arnold Toynbee says: “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. [20][21], In a 1952 letter to Coretta Scott, he said: "I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic ..."[22] In one speech, he stated that "something is wrong with capitalism" and claimed, "There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. "[23] Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. "[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. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views, American Prophet: Online Course Companion, Freedom's Ring: King's "I Have a Dream" Speech. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western worlds, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the North” as if there was nothing more essential to the war? Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech that may have helped put a target on his back. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. 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.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. His speech was titled "Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break the Silence '. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. [25], King's stance on Vietnam encouraged Allard K. Lowenstein, William Sloane Coffin and Norman Thomas, with the support of anti-war Democrats, to attempt to persuade King to run against President Johnson in the 1968 United States presidential election. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. . Is it among these voiceless ones? They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight hundred, or rather, eight thousand miles away from its shores. This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. The march was organized by the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and initiated by its chairman, James Bevel. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam. Exactly one year before his assassination, on April 4, 1967, Rev. Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. © Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305. Martin Luther King, Jr. - April 4, 1967 - Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence Full and unabridged. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. [applause]. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. [19] There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. [sustained applause] So such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God. 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. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. Martin Luther King: “Beyond Vietnam” (1967) In April 1967 American civil rights leader Martin Luther King delivered his best known anti-war speech, dubbed ‘Beyond Vietnam’: “I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. These are revolutionary times. Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. I have not urged a mechanical fusion of the civil rights and peace movements. Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. King, “ The Casualties of the War in Vietnam, ” 25 February 1967, CLPAC. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. At the U.N. King also brought up issues of civil rights and the draft. 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. Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence", also referred as the 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. Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government. The peasants watched as all of this was presided over by United States influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. The speech began conventionally. I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. "[24], King also stated in "Beyond Vietnam" that "true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar ... it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict: Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence Rev. By Staff of United for Peace & Justice - 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”. 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. I would like to see the fervor of the civil-rights movement imbued into the peace movement to instill it with greater strength. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, delivers a speech entitled “Beyond Vietnam” in … For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent. In “Beyond Vietnam” (1967), his speech delivered at the Riverside Church in New York, Martin Luther King opened by quoting from Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam.. “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” King explained, then concluded: “That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.” King’s words that followed still ring true today. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality [applause], and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. King, “ Beyond Vietnam, ” 4 April 1967, NNRC. Some, like civil rights leader Ralph Bunche, the NAACP, and … Jamie Mason Ms. Lowe English 1102 TR, 8:25 2 February 2013 A Time to do What is Right In Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence” (1967), Dr. King asserts that the war in Vietnam is totally immoral and has far reaching negative implications not only for Vietnam, but for The United States and the rest of the World as well. 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. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.” Unquote. 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