Exactly a year before he was murdered, Martin Luther King Jr., gave one of the greatest speeches of his life, a piercing critique of the war in Vietnam. Two thousand people jammed into New York’s Riverside Church on April 4,1967, to hear King shred the historical, political, and moral claims U.S. leaders had invoked since the end of World War II to justify their counter-revolutionary foreign policy. The United States had not supported Vietnamese independence and democracy, King argued, but had repeatedly opposed it; the United States had not defended the people of South Vietnam from external Communist aggression, rather it was itself the foreign aggressor-- burning and bombing Vietnamese villages, forcing peasants off their ancestral land, and killing, by then, some one million civilians. “We are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure,” King said, “while we create a hell for the poor.” 1
WMU ScholarWorks Citation
Appy, Christian G., "Why Don’t We Have a Peace Memorial? The Vietnam War and the Distorted Memory of Dissent" (2018). Center for the Study of Ethics in Society Papers. 110.