Friday, April 04, 2008

The MLK I Remember

"As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than 70 students at my own Alma Mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

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. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy, and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. We will be marching and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy."

"Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence"
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
April 4, 1967.


Dione said...

MLK may have had a few skeletons in his closet; but he was indeed a great man.

I agree with the feelings he had for Vietnam, and the fore site he had concerning that. He was extremely bright; and his courageous determination no doubt had a positive impact on America.

I hope things have changed since I was in grade school and high school, but in some respects I doubt it. Not only do they not teach real American history because of that "selective memory" in our history books and education about history as a whole; but also students learn not even the bare minimum about great African American leaders- including courageous citizens who decided to do something about discrimination.

It's positively disgraceful that African Americans are not mentioned nearly enough about their involvement fighting Americas wars! They were fighting for a country that was not accepting of them, they were risking their lives. MLK was right!

Ridwan said...

Hi there Dione. I am not surprised that the "I have a Dream" MLK is the one most popular in mainstream America.

What is more important to note is that his politics radicalized as he realized the nonsense of the "march on Washington" was nonsense.

Exactly a year after this speech he was killed.

The last year of MLK's life is the one that shows a mature thinker and revolutionary.

The same is true of Malcolm.

Peace to you,