Fifty years ago this month Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of his dream, including that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” We are closer now, though we are still a long way from fully embodying this dream.
In the month of the anniversary of King’s birthday and this often quoted speech my thoughts, however, go to a different oration. One that I rarely hear quoted. While the words of King’s dream stirred my imagination, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence* shook me awake and brought me to my feet, breathless.
I was in junior high school when King delivered this speech at Riverside Church in New York City in 1967. King was talking about the war that spanned my growing up years, one that is history now. But his words reverberate with a truth that is as relevant and crucial today as it was forty-six years ago. King saw and proclaimed the complex web that connected economics, race and war.
In gratitude to King for his courage to speak, an act that flowed out of love for his country and all of his fellow citizens, I will focus the next few blogs on A Time to Break Silence.
What else can I do? It is, indeed, a time to break silence.
*Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Beyond Vietnam–A Time to Break Silence, Delivered April 4, 1967, Riverside Church, New York City
First in a six part series. The next in the series is titled “I Must Speak.”