A Time to Break Silence, No. 2, 1967
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
In this speech delivered April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City and reprinted in Freedomways, Dr. King came out publicly against the Vietnam War for the first time. The followiny are excerpts.
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. . . . The recent statements of your executive committee [Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam] are the sentiments of my own heart. . . . "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam. . . .
I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. . . .
Then came the build-up in Vietnam, and I watched the program [the War on Poverty] broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in reha-