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Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Call for Peace as Racial Justice Still Rings

Michele Chen @ ColorLines - When Martin Luther King, Jr. “broke the silence” on the war on Vietnam in 1967, he shattered the establishment rhetoric on America’s mission in Southeast Asia. His speech, “Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break the Silence,” delivered at Riverside Church in upper Manhattan, still has revolutionary ring to it as we approach MLK Day more than 40 years later.

Taking a politically risky and unpopular stance—and bucking the advice of some of his most trusted advisors—King drew a link between the destruction of war in Vietnam and the devastation of America’s stratified society. He framed the independence struggle of the Vietnamese as the freedom struggle of communities of color at home.

Civil rights advocates who had preceded King had often bound up patriotism with ideas of racial uplift—for instance, in the Double V campaign of World War II. But King recognized the cancerous injustice of the Vietnam War: Read more.

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