MLK Opposed “Poverty, Racism & Militarism” in Speech One Year Before His Assassination 53 Years Ago

Democracy Now!

Published on Apr 5, 2021

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 53 years ago, on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor, organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice, and was a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We air an excerpt of his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated, in which Dr. King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and urged support for “a genuine revolution of values” that centers collective liberation and revolt against oppressive systems. “Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism,” King said.

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