Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967

"A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.- - 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. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

Audio and transcript


Time to break the silence

The Nation
by Katrina vanden Heuvel


Since 1865, when it was founded by Northern abolitionists, The Nation has always believed in the liberating power of truth, of conviction, of conscience, and of fighting for causes lost and found. And like our founders, the magazine has an abiding belief that there is no force so potent in politics as a moral issue. One of the great moral figures of our country’s history, Martin Luther King Jr. was a correspondent for The Nation — traveling the South in the early 1960s and filing annual dispatches for the magazine on the state of civil rights. In 1967, Dr. King traveled to Los Angeles … to give the speech that would align the armies of the Civil Rights Movement with the rapidly expanding national protest against the Vietnam War. It was at this gathering, before an overflow crowd at the Beverly Hills Hilton on February 25, that Dr. King first came out, courageously, eloquently and unequivocally , against the war. Two months later, on April 4th, King delivered his famous antiwar sermon at Riverside Church in New York City...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

A Year to the day before his assassination, King gave this speech at the Riverside Church in New York.


Jackson recalls Martin Luther King's last moments

Jesse Jackson and Billy Kyle on Martin Luther King Jr. and the moment he was shot.


Forty Years Later, Still Far From the Mountaintop

Isaiah J. Poole writes for The Campaign for America's Future: "This is the Dr. King that the nation tends not to commemorate when we honor his birthday in January, the man who 40 years ago this week was at the side of workers fighting for fair wages and preparing to take his case for economic justice to Washington. Since that battle, his message has too often been scrubbed clean of anything that would hold the nation accountable for making racial equality an economic fact of life."




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