April 4 is the anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 assassination, but it is also the anniversary of his controversial speech in 1967, “Beyond Vietnam”, where he extended his beliefs on non-violent protest to the conflict in Vietnam. While today Dr. King’s actions are celebrated, at the time his expansion from civil rights to anti-war protest made him a reviled outcast, even among liberal supporters and the black community.
Even President Obama, while freely acknowledging that he is a beneficiary of Dr. King’s legacy, eschews King’s philosophy of non-violence in his approach to the modern global political climate as U.S. Commander-in-Chief. Meanwhile, most citizens have no idea of the potential connection between current U.S. military actions against terrorism and Dr. King’s stance on U.S. military aggression.
Tavis Smiley brings together numerous King associates and scholars to discuss the King-Vietnam connection in his upcoming PBS special, MLK: A Call to Conscience>, premiering Wednesday, March 31 (8/7c). The special includes excerpts of King’s historic speech, as well as commentary from Dr. Cornel West responding to President Obama’s statements, and from Vincent Harding, reminiscing on the turmoil caused by the speech he co-wrote with King.
WATCH TAVIS SMILEY DISCUSS HIS SPECIAL WITH WILLIE GEIST AND PAT BUCHANAN ON MORNING JOE
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