Below, a song composed of MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’s voice, Dan Guzman’s music, and Richard Guzman’s sampling.
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, a speech most Americans now eagerly embrace—ironically as a way not to talk about racism. They did not embrace this sermon. Most would not even today. 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 (again very sadly) even more relevant today.
For now, just watch and listen, then…
♦ 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. Our “family’s” foundation—it’s grown well beyond our family now—works to reverse this trend. For more on Emmanuel House start with this article about how, in 2016, it was named one of the “Top 100 Most Innovative” social change organizations in the world.
♦ Go to Father Mike and the Gospel Extravaganza. At my college, MLK week is often paired with the Gospel Extravaganza—an event I helped found and now over 30 years old—which acts as a bridge from MLK week to Black History Month.
♦ Go to the Teaching Diversity page, and hear more of Dan Guzman’s music.