Monday, January 15, 2007

The Message Of Dr. King

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There was much more to Dr. King than I Have A Dream. Americans will be bombarded today (and in February) with loops of the famous I Have A Dream speech being played 10,000 times. But you won't see or hear the speech here. The U.S. uses that speech as a way to disarm Kings message. It has been ironic to watch the U.S. government "honor" King over the last few years, particularly while the U.S. has been at war, yet they avoid mentioning anything about his well known moral and political position on War....and the War in Vietnam in particular. Just take out the word Vietnam and replace it with Iraq, and it sounds like King is talking in the year 2007.

It's a shame that his Holiday is not truly celebrated in this country. Most people see it as just another day. Most White Americans barely recognize the day. It's a shame and very ironic that a man who spoke against segregation has a national Holiday that is segregated in terms of how people recognize it.

Below, I have included 5 great speeches from Dr King, some of them dealing with his feelings about war.

What Would MLK Say About The World Today?

What Would Dr. King Think About What Was Going On In The World Today?

He basically told us 4 decades ago.... we were just a little late arriving to the show.
If we would just listen to these Prophets when they are here sounding the alarm, maybe we could avoid more disasters. Many of the things that King spoke of 4 decades ago, we see today. It is a combination of things not changing, and King being way ahead of his time, foretelling issues and threats decades ago that we are now seeing develop today in our lifetimes.

Listen to the speech The Drum Major Instinct, given in February of 1968. This is one of my favorite speeches, and one that never gets old. It is so relevant for today. It's also one of Kings great messages. However, his greatest & most powerful speech, in my opinion, has to be a speech titled "A Knock At Midnight". Scary speech. Unfortunately I don’t have A Knock At Midnight in a digital format. But Drum Major Instinct is also one of his great messages….one of my top 3 favorites.

I Have a Dream is a great speech but it is not his greatest work. But America often uses I Have a Dream to try to sanitize King, and box him into being a Civil Rights/Racial Equality leader. The fact is, between 1965 & 1968, King was the leading anti-war voice and leading voice for economic equality in the country. I think that is part of the reason that he was gunned down. This is the part of Kings history that is hardly ever told. It's the part of his history that America tries to smother every year when the nation goes through its so called "remembrance". If they really wanted to honor King they would rewrite the school books to tell the true story about his efforts. He was not just a civil rights leader. If they wanted to honor him, they would try to live up to his vision....a vision that went beyond race and civil rights. Peace was at the heart of his struggle. He was just as passionate as an anti-war advocate as he was as a civil rights advocate....and perhaps maybe even more so as a Peace advocate.

Dr. Cornel West
Song 3M's

Other Great Speeches

Sticking Together

Beyond Vietnam (Speaking Out Against The Vietnam War in front of a national group of Clergy in New York, April 4, 1967; exactly one year before he died. )

See Text of Beyond Vietnam Speech

Related Article

Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE FOR EASIER PLAYBACK (similar speech given in front of his own congregation at the Ebenezer Baptist Church)

But If Not

I've Been To The Mountain Top - His Final Speech, April 3, 1968, given in Memphis Tennessee. Under an unusually high number of death threats, and feeling ill, King went to speak anyway, braving the assassins and the bad weather.


Longtime King Secretary/Assistant, Ms. Dora McDonald, Dies At 81

Story from the Washington Post

Great Audio Story From NPR

Dora McDonald & MLK


Rev. Lowery

Rev. Joseph Lowery Speaks on January, 14th, 2007 at the St. Sabina Church in Chicago, as part of a King Remembrance. Listen Here.

A video Interview with Rev. Lowery from a couple of years ago.


Isaac Hayes Talks About Working and Living During the 60's Civil Rights Struggle
Listen Here


Democracy Now Covers MLK

Great Story About Kings Last Hours In Memphis Helping the Sanitation Workers

King Is Also Covered By NPR Program News and Notes

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