The Present as History
"The Present as History" offers a rare opportunity for renowned scholars to address current issues of global power and post-election America in both historical and political terms - Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
Monday, 16 January 2012
AMY GOODMAN: Today is a federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King. He was born January 15th, 1929. He was assassinated April 4th, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 years old.
More than four decades after Dr. King’s death, Barack Obama took his oath of office to become the 44th president of the United States and the first African American president in U.S. history.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man, whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant, can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
AMY GOODMAN: Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech.
REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream.
AMY GOODMAN: While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War.
In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which he delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4th, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated, Dr. King called the United States, quote, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Time magazine called the speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi.” The Washington Post said King, quote, “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”
Today, we’ll let you decide. We play an excerpt of Dr. King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam.”