News Release

Martin Luther King’s Relevance Today


From Martin Luther King’s “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence” speech on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City:

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. … A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, ‘This is not just.’ It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, ‘This is not just.’ The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

“A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

For text and audio, see: American Rhetoric and Information Clearinghouse

Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Concannon lived in Haiti for eight years. He recently wrote “Martin Luther King Jr. and Haiti.”

Professor of communication studies at Morgan State University, Ball is featured in the video “Dr. MLK Jr.: Struggling Not To Lose Him.”

He said today: “Each year we pay tribute to a man who in reality ceased to exist long before he was assassinated. … By April of 1968 King had become a national pariah. Moderate civil rights leaders became troubled by his stances against wars of aggression in Vietnam and throughout the continent of Africa and Latin America. The establishment press depicted him as inspiring ‘fear’ among White House and Justice Department officials for his continued work against structural inequality which they saw as leanings toward ‘communism,’ ‘Leninism’ and as being too friendly to the likes of Stokely Carmichael. In 2010 we must all reach the difficult conclusion that the presence of Barack Obama requires the absence of Dr. King and that the former is more a system’s protective response to the latter than any kind of continuation.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167