To honor Dr. King on his day, I wanted to share his 1970 speech in which he spoke out against the war in Vietnam for perpetuating violence and racism overseas while affecting first and foremost the poor everywhere. This speech is said to have sealed his fate and is still painfully relevant today. I have included some of my favorite quotes below. Well worth to listen.
I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal."
I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government."
We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered."
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind. And when I speak of love I'm not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. "
Martin Luther King Jr. removes a burnt cross someone had hammered into his lawn as his young son stands beside him. Original: Library of Congress