[Listen] Martin Luther King, 50 Years Ago, on Vietnam

[Listen] Martin Luther King, 50 Years Ago, on Vietnam

On the national holiday celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King, we remember when he spoke in New York, explaining why the Vietnam War was immoral to wage.

by #teamEBONY, January 16, 2017


By 1967, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had become more frustrated with the number of soldiers dying in Vietnam, feeling that the effort to wage war in Southeast Asia was an immoral one. This was a sentiment not immediately popular and it took another year for the war to lose favor among many Americans after the bloody and politically costly Tet offensive.

King, however, having criticized American involvement in the region for years, was unwavering when public support leaned toward the war and despite being accused of having communist sympathies.

On April 4, 1967, some 50 years ago and exactly one year before he was assassinated in Memphis, King spoke at Riverside Church in New York to express his opposition to the war in what became known as the “Beyond Vietnam” speech.

The points King made gave foundation to the growing disdain for sending troops to die in the far off land, and arguably changed him from a civil rights activist to a human rights leader.

Click “play” above to hear King’s words in their entirety.

Stay in the Know
Sign up for the Ebony Newsletter