The samples come from “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam,” perhaps King’s most controversial sermon. Though miles away from “I Have A Dream,” this sermon deserves to take its place right next to that iconic speech most Americans now embrace. They did not embrace this sermon. Delivered on April 7, 1967, at his Ebeneezer Baptist Church, it is based on a famous speech he gave at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967. There he sought to join issues of Civil Rights to the war in Vietnam and to economic fairness in a stinging, prophetic vision as relevant today—perhaps even more so—than it was then. The vision costed him. Many supporters turned away. Time magazine and the Washington Post denounced him. But he would not stop.
Yet, eerily, one year to the day after the Riverside speech, he would die in Memphis.
For more on the speech and sermon, how Daniel and I came to put together the following music, and the North Central College Poetry and Protest event at which it debuted, go HERE to an article on King’s call to conquer the “Giant Triplets” of Racism, Militarism, and Economic Exploitation—a call perhaps, sadly, even more relevant today.
For now, just watch and listen.
♦ Go to Graphic Inequality to learn more about the growing economic disparities central to King’s sermon. It’s grown worse since King’s prophetic words.
♦ Go to Father Mike and the Gospel Extravaganza. At my college, MLK week is often paired with the Gospel Extravaganza—an event now well over 25 years old—which acts as a bridge from MLK week to Black History Month.
♦ Hear more of Dan Guzman’s music on this site.