In Memoriam - MLK - 40 yrs ago today

  • News
  • Thread starter Astronuc
  • Start date
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,543
1,685

Main Question or Discussion Point

Robert Kennedy: Delivering News of King's Death
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89365887

RFK said:
"My favorite poem, my — my favorite poet was Aeschylus, and he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.


"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black."
NPR said:
Two months later, Robert Kennedy himself was felled by an assassin's bullet.
I remember both events quite well, and the riots in the summer of 1968.


Remembering MLK's Prophetic 'Mountaintop' Speech
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89326670
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

Seems like the bullets in the US are always comming from the same direction and the same group always benefits.
 
536
2
and the same group always benefits
The stockholders of the companies that manufacture weapons?
 
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,987
14
Trivia

MLK was partway through writing a speech when he was killed. The speech was titled: Why America may go to Hell.

When MLK was a vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam, the White House was quick to cast him out of its good books. LBJ, unlike RFK, had few good things to say about the man he referred to as "that cool person preacher". MLK was also called a coward by ex-Klansman and current Senate Pro Tempore Bob Byrd (D-WV), who was one of the most determined opponents of JFK's 1964 Civil Rights Act.
 
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,093
174
These are apparently the last words spoken by Dr. King in public. This was the night before he died.

...REV. DR. KING: I've been to the mountaintop, and I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23980325/page/5/

Dr. King appeared on Meet the Press five times, beginning in 1960. The MTP "Take Two" has video excerpts from all five appearances. The link is in upper-right corner of the page linked below. Also, watch for a brief shot of a very young Robert MacNeil - cofounder of the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, on PBS. He looks like a teenager!

The second half of the regular MTP show is dedicated to Dr. King
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/
 
Last edited:
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,743
919
why are we so complacent today in the presence of the horror the bush administration is wreaking on the world?

is it because there is no mlk to tell us to resist this madness? or how to?

i was in montgomery with mlk in 1965, and i remember it too. i risked my life then because the news showed what was being done in selma.

is it because we no longer have free press coverage of war?

why are we puzzled that many people in the world hate us with an abiding hatred and commitment? george bush's and dick cheney's policies are our public face.

if we do not oppose them we are as guilty as the white mississipians in 1965 who sat by while the kkk murdered those who tried to register to vote.

at the least, it is time to go to the polls and throw out the criminals who speak for us and spend our tax monies. better to help register more new voters. there is a chance now to have a new face for america.

mlk is dead, we are not.
 
Last edited:
The stockholders of the companies that manufacture weapons?
I feel like with JFK, JRK, MLK, (Lincoln?) It seems that anybody going against the industrial complex or proposing plans that can adversely effect the Haliburtons in this country can expect to be shot in the face. (Why do republicans never get shot?)

All I say is, Obama you better watch your back!
 
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,543
1,685
I feel like with JFK, JRK, MLK, (Lincoln?) It seems that anybody going against the industrial complex or proposing plans that can adversely effect the Haliburtons in this country can expect to be shot in the face. (Why do republicans never get shot?)
Lincoln was Republican, and Reagan was Republican and both were shot. Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth who apparently had sympathies for the Confederacy. Reagan will shot by a person with mental illness.
 
vincentm
Gold Member
319
3
chemisttree
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,080
61
MLK's Nobel prize speech is awesome and moving.
It's worth printing here.

Martin Luther King's Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice. I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. And only yesterday more than 40 houses of worship in the State of Mississippi alone were bombed or burned because they offered a sanctuary to those who would not accept segregation. I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time - the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are travelling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights Bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a super highway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that We Shall overcome!

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

Today I come to Oslo as a trustee, inspired and with renewed dedication to humanity. I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. I say I come as a trustee, for in the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally.

Every time I take a flight, I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible - the known pilots and the unknown ground crew.

So you honor the dedicated pilots of our struggle who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honor, once again, Chief Lutuli of South Africa, whose struggles with and for his people, are still met with the most brutal expression of man's inhumanity to man. You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headline and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvellous age in which we live - men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization - because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake.

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners - all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty - and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.
 
chemisttree
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,080
61
His http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html" [Broken] is moving as well.

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "cool person," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,543
1,685
Thanks, chemisttree!

My intent was to reflect on the goals and vision that MLK had for the US, not on how he died or the violence that is part of everyday society.

If we do not work for a just and equitable society, with peace and justice for all, then his death and the deaths of all those servicepersons will be in vain. Gift of Freedom comes with a heavy price - we should not squander it.
 
vincentm
Gold Member
319
3
Thanks, chemisttree!

My intent was to reflect on the goals and vision that MLK had for the US, not on how he died or the violence that is part of everyday society.

If we do not work for a just and equitable society, with peace and justice for all, then his death and the deaths of all those service persons will be in vain. Gift of Freedom comes with a heavy price - we should not squander it.
Applause.gif
 
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,743
919
in my opinion, barack obama has the potential to become what mlk was to us in the 60's, a leader who can inspire people to do what is right.

of course like mlk, he must somehow overcome the antagonism and hostility of many groups, some claiming to be supporters of democracy, such as the abysmal news moderators who tried hard to turn the latest ABC news debate into a cat fight.

that was the worst display of petty trivial baiting I can recall in an important political debate. Who chose those cretins to run that debate?
 
mheslep
Gold Member
254
728
.. Why do republicans never get shot?...
Lincoln was Republican, and Reagan was Republican and both were shot. Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth who apparently had sympathies for the Confederacy. Reagan will shot by a person with mental illness.
Add James Garfield to the list of R. assassinations.
 
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,743
919
you are missing the point. In those days republicans were the backers of civil rights and democrats were the racists. since the 60's things have reversed, the republicans are sadly now the party of the racists and democrats are the opposite.

so the correct question is: why do racists never get shot?

but we hope they never do, as it will be a serious loss when people of conscience begin to take up violence. as mlk said, " i will NEVER teach you to hate the white man".

you may enjoy the book by taylor branch: parting the waters, america in the king years.

he describes there very clearly how, by a shred of decency, the kennedys are led by mlk gradually, almost kicking and screaming, to support the civil rights movement.

mainly they were persuaded it was good politics, but they fought against it at every step for fear of losing the segregationist vote.

a main obstacle to civil rights were the segregationist judges on the federal bench appointed by kennedy.
 
Last edited:
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,743
919
the main obstacle however in the federal government was j edgar hoover, a lunatic power mad nut case, concerned almost entirely with keeping his own power.

his power seems to have derived largely from the fact that all the male actors involved, from the kennedys to mlk, were prone to illicit sexual liaisons that hoover documented by wire taps.

the leverage this information gave him allowed him to use lies and smear tactics to try to discredit mlk and the civil rights leaders.
 
Last edited:
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,832
616
I don't credit the Kennedys for civil rights. Lyndon Johnson did the heavy lifting.

A number of years ago, I heard recordings of Johnson talking in the oval office about civil rights; it was very clear his opinion was straight from the heart. He had a strong moral conviction about it, politics be damned.
 
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,987
14
I don't credit the Kennedys for civil rights. Lyndon Johnson did the heavy lifting.

A number of years ago, I heard recordings of Johnson talking in the oval office about civil rights; it was very clear his opinion was straight from the heart. He had a strong moral conviction about it, politics be damned.
I have a completely opposite opinion on this - Johnson was blatantly racist (see my earlier post in this thread).
 
mheslep
Gold Member
254
728
I don't credit the Kennedys for civil rights. Lyndon Johnson did the heavy lifting.

A number of years ago, I heard recordings of Johnson talking in the oval office about civil rights; it was very clear his opinion was straight from the heart. He had a strong moral conviction about it, politics be damned.
I have a completely opposite opinion on this - Johnson was blatantly racist (see my earlier post in this thread).
Yes, but Johnson did support civil rights legislation. I think his beliefs defy simple description. See K. Grahams https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0394585852/?tag=pfamazon01-20where she describes in detail her relationship w/ Johnson and his story telling abilities. She recites a Johnson tale about a black Texas road gang with a white overseer coming in into Johnson City, Tx:

Pg 237
The were building a highway that was to go through town. The roadgang had some Negras on it. None had ever been allowed to stay overnight in the Johnson City before, but the road came nearer and nearer and finally arrived. The town bully found the head of the roadgang in the barber shop, went up to him, and said, "Get them niggers out of town by tonight." The head of the roadgang took his bib off, got up out of the barber's chair, and those two wrestled each other up and down Main Street until the roadgang head had the bully pinned on the street, at which point he beat his head on the pavement as he repeated, "Can I keep my niggers now? Can I keep my niggers now?" Finally the bully said yes. That's how civil rights came to Johnson City.
I've heard Graham tell that story. Its clear she believed Johnson associated himself w/ the roadgang boss to some degree and used it to differentiate himself from the Kennedy "Northern Liberals" who in his mind weren't willing to do the wrestling required to accomplish civil rights in the south.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,987
14
Yes, but Johnson did support civil rights legislation. I think his beliefs defy simple description. See K. Grahams https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0394585852/?tag=pfamazon01-20where she describes in detail her relationship w/ Johnson and his story telling abilities.
I agree that his beliefs are hard to pin down. Robert Caro's 3-part biography on LBJ is probably the most comprehensive work on him, and Caro seems to give him the benefit of doubt on the motives behind pushing Civil Rights legislation. Maybe I'm just being more cynical than I should be.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads for: In Memoriam - MLK - 40 yrs ago today

  • Last Post
Replies
23
Views
3K
Replies
11
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
5K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
29
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
6K
Replies
16
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
Top