Paul's Perambulations a personal blog

April 3, 2010

Easter Anniversary of MLKing’s speech at Riverside Church, NYC.

Filed under: General — admin @ 10:02 pm

On April 4 1967 at Riverside Church, MLKing delivered Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. This was a moment of great moral courage. History now honors the man but not the message (something similar to Christianity going on here?). The speech was not just about Vietnam, but called for changes to insure a world with true peace and justice for all BEYOND Vietnam. Exactly one year later, he was killed. I have no doubt that the majority of Americans, although shocked at his death, were also relieved. At that time many Americans felt the need for a black American hero (to counter all the white ones), a black who was non-violent (to counter societal fears), but did not want to hear what he said would be required for a world with peace and justice.  Denial of his message seems to be as true today as then. Happy Easter.


  1. See my comments #156 and #203 re the excellent article entitled “We Still Don’t Hear Him” by Bob Herbert in the NYTimes regarding this famous speech by MLKing.

    Comment by admin — April 3, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

  2. The movie Hearts and Minds (1974) showed the bereaved defending the Vietnam War by saying that their loved ones cannot have died “in vain.” This defense of war can be used in support of any war, because it is understandable that family won’t accept that a loved one’s death was meaningless. Any and all war is a mistake and tragedy, but they will not have died in vain if their deaths contribute to our will to prevent future wars.

    Comment by admin — April 4, 2010 @ 7:25 am

  3. Re viewing Hearts and Minds (1974) and other war-related movies.

    The media is indeed the message (Socrates and Plato were correct regarding why they distrusted elocution and the arts such as theater). What gets to me is not the sight of broken and mangled bodies per se, it is the message of mans’ cruelty to one another and finding this acceptable. I stopped watching television news during the 60’s after seeing lots of bodies but learning nothing of the truth about Vietnam. It would be different if they depicted the same images as part of a medical rescue for those in a hurricane or earthquake.

    Two psychological options are available to contend with the horror of war, Denial (I don’t see it or really know what’s happening) and Flooding (I see so much of it that it produces numbing, and the only possible response is a futile “war is war” and “yes, war is hell” and thereby it becomes eventually acceptable).

    Comment by admin — April 4, 2010 @ 7:38 am

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