Nobel Peace Laureate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a young and almost unrecognizable Buddhist monk, Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, both of whom peacefully and very vocally opposed US war (Image: dannyfisher.org)
Today honors perhaps the greatest American who ever lived. A federal holiday is set aside in memory of the ecumenical Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King (born Jan. 15, 1929; assassinated April 4, 1968). He was shot by government forces in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was 39.
“Beyond Vietnam” is one of his great overlooked speeches, in which he is mindful of Buddhism and the harm being done to innocents in the Southeast Asian Buddhist nations of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The latter were being secretly bombed, and undeclared war was already raging in Vietnam.
2011 MLK Jr. Day Parade, Long Beach, LA County, California (lbpost.com)
Dr. King delivered the speech at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967. He had a dream, as we all know. But his last speech, “I Have Been to the Mountain Top” — given on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated — is less well known.
While Dr. King is remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of economic justice. Moreover, he was a fierce critic of the US War in Vietnam and our violent US foreign policy in general.
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AMY GOODMAN: Today is a federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King. He was born January 15th, 1929. He was assassinated April 4th, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 years old.
More than four decades after Dr. King’s death, Barack Obama took his oath of office to become the 44th president of the United States and the first African American president in US history.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man, whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant, can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
AMY GOODMAN: Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream. More>>