Tuesday, December 09, 2008

King Vietnam Speech

Harry Belafonte will auction off the handwritten draft of Martin Luther King's first anti-Vietnam speech. The CBC story notes that the speech was King's response to reading "The Children of Vietnam" in Ramparts magazine. That article included pictures of Vietnam kids injured by U.S. bombs, including napalm.

The story also says that King left the notes in Belafonte's apartment before leaving for Los Angeles to deliver the speech. What it doesn't mention is that Carey McWilliams and The Nation put together the Los Angeles event and had been urging Dr. King to come out against the war.

King was widely criticized for doing so, but he was buoyant after delivering the speech. He said he had finally relieved his conscience, which had been afflicted ever since he saw the Ramparts story. Ramparts ran the speech the following month.

There will be details in the Ramparts book, of course.

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