News Release

MLK’s Call to Get on the “Right Side of the World Revolution”


In a major speech at Riverside Church in New York, exactly a year before his assasination, Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed: “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. 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, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.'”

King came out against the war in Vietnam, calling military spending a “demonic destructive suction tube” and said: “A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. … True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. …

“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.” See text and audio.

See the piece “Nuclear Weapons and the Legacy of Dr. King“: “In 1959, five months after being stabbed in Harlem, King addressed the War Resisters League’s thirty-sixth annual dinner, where he praised its work and linked the domestic struggle for racial justice with the campaign for global disarmament: ‘Not only in the South, but throughout the nation and the world, we live in an age of conflicts, an age of biological weapons, chemical warfare, atomic fallout and nuclear bombs … Every man, woman, and child lives, not knowing if they shall see tomorrow’s sunrise.'”

See C-SPAN’s coverage of the Church Committee’s investigation of the FBI’s “Suicide Letter” to Dr. King, part of the Counter Intelligence Program or COINTELPRO.

Ball is a professor of communication and Africana studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore and author of The Myth and Propaganda of Black Buying Power. Ball is also host of the podcast “iMiXWHATiLiKE!” and co-founder of Black Power Media. His decades of journalism, media, writing, and political work can be found at

See Ball’s videos: “Dr. MLK Jr.: Struggling Not To Lose Him,” “Dr. King Did Not Support ‘#BuyBlack” and his interview with The Real News: “The Revolutionary MLK.”