For the past few years, Veterans For Peace Chapter 93 has given talks on Martin Luther King Day with the theme of “What They Did Not Want Martin To Talk About.. War And Militarism” which focuses on MLK’s teachings on how poverty, militarism and racism are all connected.
Below you will find additional readings, speeches and other documentation of items discussed at the VFP talks. In addition, a link to a video of the complete VFP Chapter 93 MLK talk given at the Westgate Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library on January 21, 2019 can be found at https://aadl.org/aadl_events_20190121-vets_for_peace
Martin Luther King & Militarism
In some respects, the legacy of Martin Luther King Day has become that of “safe” and non-controversial events and speeches. Rarely these days is anything ever said about Dr. King’s thoughts and teaching on how “the giant triplets” threatening the human race include not only racism and poverty, but also war, and how these triplets are all interrelated. As often seen in wars, the "other side" is labeled "not like us" (racism) and countries boost military spending yet cut social programs (poverty).
In 1967, when Dr. King gave his famous speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” he observed how unpopular speaking against militarism was. He said that people asked him, “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix....” How true his observation remains today, in that to speak out against military solutions is once again called unpatriotic and “not supporting our brave troops.”
The best way to learn more about Dr. Kings teachings on war and militarism are by reading his various speeches, including...
"The Casualties of the War in Vietnam," February 25, 1967 - http://www.aavw.org/special_features/speeches_speech_king02.html
"It's A Dark Day In Our Nation," April 30, 1967 - http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16183.htm
"Beyond Vietnam--A Time to Break Silence," April 4, 1967:
Audio version of "Beyond Vietnam":
Negative reaction to the "Beyond Vietnam" speech: Time magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi," and the Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.". For more on the negative reaction here is a link to a National Public Radio story on this subject... http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125355148
MLK: A Call To Conscience - Part 1 of 6 segments of a series hosted by Travis Smiley on PBS - https://youtu.be/72peuBUy5E4 (follow YouTube links to watch the five other segments)
Suggested Reading ...
"Bearing The Cross: MLK and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference" by David J. Garrow - New York Times review here.
"At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68" by Taylor Branch - New York Times review here
"The Radical King" edited by Cornell West - Chicago Tribune review here
"Martin Luther King, the American dream and Vietnam: A collision of rhetorical trajectories" - Download at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254377756_Martin_Luther_King_the_American_dream_and_Vietnam_A_collision_of_rhetorical_trajectories
For more information on Veterans For Peace and Martin Luther Kings teachings on war and militarism, visit http://www.veteransforpeace.org/our-work/dr-kings-legacy-and-peace-movement