Friday, January 22, 2016

What's Really At Stake In The Oscars Boycott Movement?



"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” -- --FREDERICK DOUGLASS, August 3, 1857 



This feeble “response” by the token black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is absolutely PATHETIC, isn’t it? Not to mention utterly predictable. After all It's no coincidence that here we find yet another black token president of a white supremacist institution (this time in Hollyweird instead of Washington D.C.) crying crocodile tears over the brazenly obvious fact that she is the head resident custodian of an institution that despises and has no human, social, economic, political, moral, or ethical regard for not only her but anyone who even looks like her (i.e. “ the nonwhites"). But the much larger and far more important question is this: WHEN WILL THE MORE THAN 100 MILLION PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THE UNITED HATES ACTUALLY FIGHT FOR, DEMAND, ORGANIZE, CREATE, AND SUSTAIN VIABLE ALTERNATIVES TO THE PRESENT WHITE SUPREMACIST INSTITUTIONS THAT CURRENTLY OPPRESS AND EXPLOIT US WITH OUR IMPLICIT/COMPLICIT CONSENT?…OR HASN’T ANYONE HERE EVER HEARD OF A LITTLE PRINCIPLE CALLED SELF DETERMINATION?…


Academy President Issues Lengthy Statement on Lack of Oscars Diversity
‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬ Creator Endorses Oscar Boycott
by Stephen Galloway.

(b. 1949)
In the wake of Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announcing they will not be attending this year's Oscars, Cheryl Boone Isaacs says she was "heartbroken and frustrated" by the nominations, which did not include any performers of color.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Monday issued a lengthy statement on the lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominations, which has become the subject of mounting criticism.

"I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees," she said. "While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.

"The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond," Boone Isaacs said in what amounted to a rare and unusual move on the part of the Academy.

"As many of you know," she continued, "we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly."

"This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy," added Boone Isaacs. "In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together."

Read More David Oyelowo Goes Off on Oscars: "I Am an Academy Member and It Doesn't Reflect Me"

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter earlier Monday evening just before she was honored with the Rosa Parks Humanitarian Award at the King Legacy Awards, presented at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Los Angeles, Boone Isaacs said that “there’s been enough conversation” and that it is time for the entertainment industry to take action to improve diversity.

She said that she was “disappointed” that, for the second year in a row, the Oscar nominations, announced last week, failed to include any performers of color. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, who was also in attendance, added that she was "devastated" by the nominations.

The Academy again finds itself the focus of criticism over the lack of opportunities for minorities within the film industry. Earlier on Monday, Spike Lee, who received an honorary Oscar from the Academy at its Board of Governors Awards in November, announced in an Instagram post that he and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee “cannot support it” and would not attend the upcoming Oscars on Feb. 28.

"Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy," Lee wrote. "But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!!"

Read More Oscars: Jada Pinkett Smith Says She Won't Attend Awards, Contemplates Appropriate Response to Lack of Nonwhite Nominees

The Academy president said she had not heard from Lee about his decision, but that she remained a strong supporter of his in general. 

Boone Isaacs, who is African-American, said she herself has experienced racism, but declined to go into detail. 

At the same time, she said even if it is the industry that is to blame for not creating more diverse product, it would be wrong for the Academy to avoid responsibility in a year when there has been at least a handful of movies with actors of color that she found worthy of nomination. 

'There've been four or five wonderful movies,' she said, citing Lee’s own Chi-Raq, Concussion, Creed, Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton. 

Boone Isaacs noted that the Academy has formed a committee, made up of members of the industry, to explore how to improve diversity. She announced earlier at the Governors Awards that the Academy is developing a five-year plan called A2020 with an eye toward improving diversity within the Academy itself and the industry at large.…/oscars-diversity-academy-voting-ru…

Academy Board Endorses Changes to Increase Diversity in Oscar Nominees and Itself
January. 22, 2016
New York Times

“The academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the academy’s president. Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Confronting a fierce protest over a second straight year of all-white Oscar acting nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Friday that it would make radical changes to its voting requirements, recruiting process and governing structure, with an aim toward increasing the diversity of its membership.

The changes were approved at an unusual special meeting of the group’s 51-member governing board Thursday night. The session ended with a unanimous vote to endorse the new processes, but action on possible changes to Oscar balloting was deferred for later consideration. The board said its goal was to double the number of female and minority members by 2020.

Related in Opinion:
Contributing Op-Ed Writer: The Oscars and Hollywood’s Race Problem
January. 22, 2016

“The academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” the academy’s president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, said in a statement. Ms. Isaacs referred to an often-repeated complaint that the academy, in its lack of diversity, reflects the demographics of a film industry that for years has been primarily white and male.

The most striking of the changes is a requirement that the voting status of both new and current members be reviewed every 10 years.

Voting status may be revoked for those who have not been active in the film business in a decade. But members who have had three 10-year terms will have lifetime voting rights, as will those who have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.

The academy’s membership is made up of roughly 6,200 movie professionals around the world, and it was not immediately clear how many would be purged from the voting rolls by the new rule.

The changes, and possible balloting adjustments, will not affect this year’s awards, which will be presented on Feb. 28.

Related Coverage:
Oscars So White? Or Oscars So Dumb? Discuss.
January 15, 2016

The Carpetbagger: Charlotte Rampling Says Oscars ‘Boycott’ Is ‘Racist Against Whites’
January 22, 2016

In the short term, the new rules and processes may tamp down some of the criticism that resulted when no film focusing primarily on minority characters was among this year’s eight best picture nominees, and all 20 acting nominees were white.

Ava DuVernay, who was not nominated last year for her direction of the best picture nominee “Selma,” declined to comment on the changes, but tweeted the academy’s letter, and added, “One good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color + women artists.”

But the moves by the academy, which aims to replace older members with a younger, more diverse group, are certain to be met with some criticism, and perhaps resistance. Academy voting rights rank among Hollywood’s more coveted marks of status, not least because of the screening invitations and flattering attention that come with them.

“I’m squarely in what I would call the mentorship phase of my life,” said Sam Weisman, a member of the academy’s directors’ branch since 1998. While working steadily in television, he has not had a feature directing credit since “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” in 2003.

“I judge the Nicholl fellowships and the Student Academy Awards, but am I not qualified to vote?” asked Mr. Weisman, referring to academy mentorship programs in which he has been involved.

The academy will also expand its governing board by adding three new seats. Those are to be filled by the group’s president with an eye toward increasing the number of women and minorities on the board. Currently, about a third of the board members are women and Ms. Isaacs is its only African-American.

In a parallel move, the academy will add new members from diverse backgrounds to its various committees.

Stephanie Allain, a producer of “Beyond the Lights” (2014) and “Hustle & Flow” (2005) and a member of the academy, said she was elated, especially with the addition of three members to Board of Governors who, she assumed, would be women or people of color.

“The world is watching, basically, so what are we going to do?” said Ms. Allain, who is black. “Are we going to do the right thing? And I think that we have.”

Many in the industry say that especially in the studio world, opportunities have been slower to come to female filmmakers, an imbalance that the academy’s proposed expansion is unlikely to fix. 

“The academy is the endgame,” Ms. Allain said. “But the beginning of the game is the industry responding to the curated talent that comes through programs like Film Independent, the folks that go through the Sundance Film Festival and the LA Film Festival. They just need jobs. That’s how we’re really going to solve the problem — not by more programs or committees, but by jobs.”

Without providing details, the academy’s statement also said it would “supplement the traditional process” by which members are recruited — an invitation process meant to focus on achievement — with “an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.”

One person briefed on the changes, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of confidentiality strictures, said the supplemental recruiting would be a year-round process, and would be heavily influenced by staff and officers rather than traditional membership committees. While Will Smith, who was overlooked as a nominee for his role in “Concussion,” has said he will not attend this year’s ceremony, Charlotte Rampling, who was nominated for best actress for “45 Years,” condemned much of the protest on Friday as being “racist against whites.”

“One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list,” Ms. Rampling said in an interview with the French radio network Europe 1 that was done before the academy made its announcement.

Still far from certain is whether the voting changes, and further possible tweaks to the Oscar ballot — for instance a return to the 10-film field of best picture nominees used in 2010 and 2011 — will restore the more diverse set of nominations that prevailed in the decade leading to the choice of “12 Years a Slave” as best picture in 2014.

In those 10 years, 24 of the 200 acting nominees were black, approximately matching the proportion of blacks in the North American movie audience and population, according to statistics compiled by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Black actors who won Oscars during that period included Octavia Spencer for “The Help,” Mo’Nique for “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” Jennifer Hudson for “Dreamgirls” and Jamie Foxx for “Ray.” When Mr. Foxx won, in 2005, he was also nominated for best supporting actor for his role in “Collateral.”

In 2014, Lupita Nyong’o was named best supporting actress for her role in “12 Years a Slave,” John Ridley won an Oscar for writing its adapted screenplay, and Steve McQueen, who is also black, was nominated as the film’s director, but lost to Alfonso Cuarón, who is Mexican. Last year’s best director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, is also Mexican.

Last year, however, along with Ms. DuVernay being left out, David Oyelowo was not nominated for his critically acclaimed role as Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma.”

This year’s shutout of minority actors caused particular outrage among those who had believed Mr. Smith might be nominated, or perhaps Michael B. Jordan for his role in “Creed” or Idris Elba as a supporting actor for “Beasts of No Nation.” The director of “Creed,” Ryan Coogler, who is black, was also overlooked.

“Straight Outta Compton” faced a tougher climb in the acting categories, because its young cast was an ensemble, with no obvious leads. But the film has been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild ensemble award, and for a best film award from the Producers Guild of America.

“I think it’s completely ridiculous to bring in ethnicity to the evaluation of creative performances and filmmaking and acting,” said Kieth Merrilll, 75, who won an Oscar in 1974 for his documentary “The Great American Cowboy” and was nominated in 1998 for best documentary short. He also noted that he had an adopted black daughter and four black grandchildren. “We’re supposed to be evaluating talent in categories, and one of the categories is ‘What is their ethnicity?’ To make it one of the categories is ridiculous.”

The speed and breadth of the board’s Thursday night action surprised even some academy insiders, who at midweek were predicting no action until a regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, and who were strongly playing down any steps to trim the voting rights of older members.

How the academy deals with the intricacies of “activity” in the film business may raise complex questions, said Mr. Weisman, the director. If, like Mr. Weisman, a director has had development deals that did not result in a film, will he be ruled inactive? Will writers who have generated scripts that were not bought, or made, likewise lose privileges? Might a cagey executive put a dormant publicist on low-cost retainer during Oscar season, protecting and perhaps influencing that member’s vote?

In its statement on Friday, the academy said those members who are moved to emeritus status because they have not met the new activity criteria would not pay dues, but would continue to enjoy the privileges of membership other than voting.

Correction: January 22, 2016

An earlier version of this article misidentified the Oscar-winning director in 2014, It was Alfonso Cuarón, not Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Cara Buckley contributed reporting from Park City, Utah; Rachel Donadio from Paris; and Lorne Manly from New York.
A version of this article appears in print on January 23, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Oscars to Lead By Example On Diversity.


Academy Members Respond to Swift Changes for Board
January 22, 2016
The reaction to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saying on Friday that it was taking steps to double the number of female and minority members by 2020 was varied.

Some members lauded the move, saying it was necessary in the wake of a second straight year in which no minority actors were cited among the 20 acting nominees. Other members were critical and wondered how older members of the academy would be affected.

 Stephanie Allain, a producer of “Beyond the Lights” (2014) and “Hustle & Flow” (2005)

“I think it’s great they responded so quickly. I think, just from my cursory read of it, it is a really great way to go.”
She said she was especially impressed with the addition of three members to the Board of Governors who would, she assumed, would be women or people of color.

“We’re so visible that we should play a leadership role,” she said, adding, “The world is watching, basically, so what are we going to do? Are we going to do the right thing? And I think that we have.”

She also said, “The Academy is the endgame. But the beginning of the game is the industry responding to the curated talent that comes through programs like Film Independent, the folks that go through the Sundance Film Festival and the LA Film Festival. They just need jobs. That’s how we’re really going to solve the problem — not by more programs or committees, but by jobs.”

Kieth Merrill, who won an Oscar in 1974 for his documentary “The Great American Cowboy” and was nominated for best documentary short in 1997

Mr. Merrill, 75, said he found the changes and the logic behind them outlandish.

“I’m sure I’ll sound racist, I’m sure I’ll sound prejudiced, and I’m not. I think it’s completely ridiculous to bring in ethnicity to the evaluation of creative performances and filmmaking and acting,” Mr. Merrill said, noting several times that he had an adopted black daughter and four black grandchildren.

“We’re supposed to be evaluating talent in categories, and one of the categories is ‘what is their ethnicity?’ ” he said. “To make it one of the categories is ridiculous.”

Michael Moore, Oscar winner in 2003 for best documentary for “Bowling for Columbine”

“These are good changes, but what’s amazing is how swiftly the Academy has reacted,” Mr. Moore said in an email. “A change like this in the old days would’ve taken years (if at all), not days. Now let’s hope that the real culprit in keeping Hollywood so white and male — the industry itself — will make similar changes.”

Photo: Michael Moore, documentary filmmaker: “These are good changes, but what’s amazing is how swiftly the Academy has reacted,” Credit Dog Eat Dog Films

He added that six years ago, “doubling the number of African-Americans in the doc branch would have meant doubling the number zero to ... zero. I and others began an effort to change this in 2010 and now we have around a dozen in our branch. I’m going to propose at the next meeting we double that number THIS year, not by 2020.”

Sam Weisman, director of films like “George of the Jungle” and “Bye Bye Love”

“I judge the Nicholl fellowships and the student Academy Awards, but am I not qualified to vote?” asked Mr. Weisman, referring to academy mentorship programs in which he has been involved.

How the academy deals with the intricacies of “activity” in the film business, he noted, may raise complex questions. Mr. Weisman’s last feature credit was “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” in 2003, though he has done extensive television work since then. If, like Mr. Weisman, a director has had development deals that did not result in a film, will he be ruled out?

“This is a way to get this off their plates in advance of the awards show,” Mr. Weisman said, referring to the controversy over the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees.

Monday, January 18, 2016

In Honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968): Visionary prophet, Social activist, Cultural critic, Public intellectual, Community organizer, Radical political leader, and Profound global advocate and defender of peace, freedom, justice, equality, and human rights


(Originally posted on January 20, 2015):

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Martin Luther King Was A Radical, Not A Saint
January 20, 2014
by Peter Dreier
News Analysis

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966.  

  (Photo: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum )

The official US beatification of Martin Luther King has come at the heavy price of silence about his radical espousal of economic justice and anticolonialism.

It is easy to forget that in his day, in his own country, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was considered a dangerous troublemaker. Even President John Kennedy worried that King was being influenced by Communists. King was harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. The establishment's campaign to denigrate King worked. In August 1966 - as King was bringing his civil rights campaign to Northern cities to address poverty, slums, housing segregation and bank lending discrimination - the Gallup Poll found that 63 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of King, compared with 33 percent who viewed him favorably.

Today Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is viewed as something of an American saint. The most recent Gallup Poll discovered that 94 percent of Americans viewed him in a positive light. His birthday is a national holiday. His name adorns schools and street signs. In 1964, at age 35, he was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Americans from across the political spectrum invoke King's name to justify their beliefs and actions.

In fact, King was a radical. He believed that America needed a "radical redistribution of economic and political power." He challenged America's class system and its racial caste system. He was a strong ally of the nation's labor union movement. He was assassinated in April 1968 in Memphis, where he had gone to support a sanitation workers' strike. He opposed US militarism and imperialism, especially the country's misadventure in Vietnam.

In his critique of American society and his strategy for changing it, King pushed the country toward more democracy and social justice.

If he were alive today, he would certainly be standing with Walmart employees and other workers fighting for a living wage and the right to unionize. He would be in the forefront of the battle for strong gun controls and to thwart the influence of the National Rifle Association. He would protest the abuses of Wall Street banks, standing side-by-side with homeowners facing foreclosure and crusading for tougher regulations against lending rip-offs. He would be calling for dramatic cuts in the military budget to reinvest public dollars in jobs, education and health care. He would surely be marching with immigrants and their allies in support of comprehensive immigration reform.  He would be joining hands with activists seeking to reduce racial profiling by police and ending the mass incarceration of young people. Like most Americans in his day, King was homophobic, even though one of his closest advisors, Bayard Rustin, was gay. But today, King would undoubtedly stand with advocates of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage, just as he challenged state laws banning interracial marriage.

Indeed, King's views evolved over time. He entered the public stage with some hesitation, reluctantly becoming the spokesperson for the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, at the age of 26. King began his activism in Montgomery as a crusader against racial segregation, but the struggle for civil rights radicalized him into a fighter for broader economic and social justice and peace. Still, in reviewing King's life, we can see that the seeds of his later radicalism were planted early.

King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929, the son of a prominent black minister. Despite growing up in a solidly middle-class family, King saw the widespread human suffering caused by the Depression, particularly in the black community. In 1950, while in graduate school, he wrote an essay describing the "anticapitalistic feelings" he experienced as a youngster as a result of seeing unemployed people standing in breadlines.

During King's first year at Morehouse College, civil rights and labor activist A. Philip Randolph spoke on campus. Randolph predicted that the near future would witness a global struggle that would end white supremacy and capitalism. He urged the students to link up with "the people in the shacks and the hovels," who, although "poor in property," were "rich in spirit."

After graduating from Morehouse in 1948, King studied theology at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania (where he read both Mohandas Gandhi and Karl Marx), planning to follow in his father's footsteps and join the ministry. In 1955, he earned his doctorate from Boston University, where he studied the works of Reinhold Niebuhr, the influential liberal theologian. While in Boston, he told his girlfriend (and future wife), Coretta Scott, that "a society based on making all the money you can and ignoring people's needs is wrong."

When King moved to Montgomery to take his first pulpit at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he was full of ideas but had no practical experience in politics or activism. But history sneaked up on him. On Thursday, December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a seamstress and veteran activist with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), decided to resist the city's segregation law by refusing  to move to the back of the bus on her way home from work. She was arrested. Two other long-term activists - E. D. Nixon (leader of the NAACP and of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) and Jo Ann Robinson (a professor at the all-black Alabama State College and a leader of Montgomery's Women's Political Council) - determined that Parks' arrest was a ripe opportunity for a one-day boycott of the much-despised segregated bus system. Nixon and Robinson asked black ministers to use their Sunday sermons to spread the word. Some refused,  but many others, including King, agreed.

The boycott was very effective. Most black residents stayed off the buses. Within days, the boycott leaders formed a new group, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). At Nixon's urging, they elected a hesitant King as president, in large part because he was new in town and not embroiled in the competition for congregants and visibility among black ministers. He was also well educated and already a brilliant orator, and thus would be a good public face for the protest movement. The ministers differed over whether to call off the boycott after one day but agreed to put the question up to a vote at a mass meeting.

That night, 7,000 blacks crowded into (and stood outside) the Holt Street Baptist Church. Inspired by King's words - "There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression" - they voted unanimously to continue the boycott. It lasted for 381 days and resulted in the desegregation of the city's buses. During that time, King honed his leadership skills, aided by advice from two veteran pacifist organizers, Bayard Rustin and Rev. Glenn Smiley, who had been sent to Montgomery by the pacifist group, Fellowship of Reconciliation. During the boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, and he was subjected to personal abuse. But - with the assistance of the new medium of television - he emerged as a national figure.

In 1957, King launched the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to help spread the civil rights crusade to other cities. He helped lead local campaigns in different cities, including Selma and Birmingham, Alabama, where thousands marched to demand an end to segregation in defiance of court injunctions forbidding any protests. While participating in these protests, King also sought to keep the fractious civil rights movement together, despite the rivalries among the NAACP, the Urban League, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and SCLC. Between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles, spoke more than 2,500 times, and was arrested at least 20 times, always preaching the gospel of nonviolence. King attended workshops at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, which connected him to a network of radicals, pacifists and union activists from around the country whose ideas helped widen his political horizons.

It is often forgotten that the August 1963 protest rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, was called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. King was proud of the civil rights movement's success in winning the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act the following year. But he realized that neither law did much to provide better jobs or housing for the masses of black poor in either the urban cities or the rural South. "What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter," he asked, "if you can't afford to buy a hamburger?"

King had hoped that the bus boycott, sit-ins and other forms of civil disobedience would stir white southern moderates, led by his fellow clergy, to see the immorality of segregation and racism. His famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," written in 1963, outlines King's strategy of using nonviolent civil disobedience to force a response from the southern white establishment and to generate sympathy and support among white liberals and moderates. "The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation," he wrote, and added, "We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

King eventually realized that many white Americans had at least a psychological stake in perpetuating racism. He began to recognize that racial segregation was devised not only to oppress African Americans but also to keep working-class whites from challenging their own oppression by letting them feel superior to blacks. "The Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow," King said from the Capitol steps in Montgomery, following the 1965 march from Selma. "And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man."

When King launched a civil rights campaign in Chicago in 1965, he was shocked by the hatred and violence expressed by working-class whites as he and his followers marched through the streets of segregated neighborhoods in Chicago and its suburbs. He saw that the problem in Chicago's ghetto was not legal segregation but "economic exploitation" - slum housing, overpriced food and low-wage jobs - "because someone profits from its existence."

These experiences led King to develop a more radical outlook. King supported President Lyndon B. Johnson's declaration of the War on Poverty in 1964, but, like his friend and ally Walter Reuther, the president of the United Auto Workers, King thought that it did not go nearly far enough. As early as October 1964, he called for a "gigantic Marshall Plan" for the poor - black and white. Two months later, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, he observed that the United States could learn much from Scandinavian "democratic socialism." He began talking openly about the need to confront "class issues," which he described as "the gulf between the haves and the have-nots."

In 1966 King confided to his staff:

You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.

Given this view, King was dismayed when Malcolm X, SNCC's Stokely Carmichael, and others began advocating "black power," which he warned would alienate white allies and undermine a genuine interracial movement for economic justice.

King became increasingly committed to building bridges between the civil rights and labor movements. Invited to address the AFL-CIO's annual convention in 1961, King observed,

The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who today attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.

In a 1961 speech to the Negro American Labor Council, King proclaimed, "Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God's children." Speaking to a meeting of Teamsters union shop stewards in 1967, King said, "Negroes are not the only poor in the nation. There are nearly twice as many white poor as Negro, and therefore the struggle against poverty is not involved solely with color or racial discrimination but with elementary economic justice."

King's growing critique of capitalism coincided with his views about American imperialism. By 1965 he had turned against the Vietnam War, viewing it as an economic as well as a moral tragedy. But he was initially reluctant to speak out against the war. He understood that his fragile working alliance with LBJ would be undone if he challenged the president's leadership on the war. Although some of his close advisers tried to discourage him, he nevertheless made the break in April 1967, in a bold and prophetic speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, entitled "Beyond Vietnam - A Time to Break Silence."  King called America the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and linked the struggle for social justice with the struggle against militarism. King argued that Vietnam was stealing precious resources from domestic programs and that the Vietnam War was "an enemy of the poor." In his last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967), King wrote, "The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America."

In early 1968, King told journalist David Halberstam, "For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you've got to have a reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values."

King kept trying to build a broad movement for economic justice that went beyond civil rights. In January, 1968, he announced plans for a Poor People's Campaign, a series of protests to be led by an interracial coalition of poor people and their allies among the middle-class liberals, unions, religious organizations and other progressive groups, to pressure the White House and Congress to expand the War on Poverty. At King's request, socialist activist Michael Harrington (author of The Other America, which helped inspire Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to declare a war on poverty) drafted a Poor People's Manifesto that outlined the campaign's goals. In April, King was in Memphis, Tennessee, to help lend support to striking African American garbage workers and to gain recognition for their union. There, he was assassinated, at age 39, on April 4, a few months before the first protest action of the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, DC.

President Johnson utilized this national tragedy to urge Congress to quickly enact the Fair Housing Act, legislation to ban racial discrimination in housing, which King had strongly supported for two years. He signed the bill a week after King's assassination.

The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor, spearheaded by Detroit Congressman John Conyers, began soon after his murder, but it did not come up for a vote in Congress until 1979, when it fell five votes short of the number needed for passage. In 1981, with the help of singer Stevie Wonder and other celebrities, supporters collected six million signatures on a petition to Congress on behalf of a King holiday. Congress finally passed legislation enacting the holiday in 1983, 15 years after King's death. But even then, 90 members of the House (including then-Congressmen John McCain of Arizona and Richard Shelby of Alabama, both now in the Senate) voted against it. Senator Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican, led an unsuccessful effort - supported by 21 other senators, including current Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) - to block its passage in the Senate.

The holiday was first observed on January 20, 1986. In 1987, Arizona governor Evan Mecham rescinded King Day as his first act in office, setting off a national boycott of the state. Some states (including New Hampshire, which called it "Civil Rights Day" from 1991 to 1999) insisted on calling the holiday by other names. In 2000, South Carolina became the last state to make King Day a paid holiday for all state employees.

In his final speech in Memphis the night before he was killed, King told the crowd about a bomb threat on his plane from Atlanta that morning, saying he knew that his life was constantly in danger because of his political activism.
"I would like to live a long life," he said. "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."

We haven't gotten there yet. But Dr. King is still with us in spirit. The best way to honor his memory is to continue the struggle for human dignity, workers' rights, racial equality, peace and social justice.

This essay is adapted from the entry for Martin Luther King in Peter Dreier's book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

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Series: King Legacy (Book 11)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press    (January 13, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0807012823
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Martin Luther King Jr: A Lesson in Courage in the Face of Bigotry
by Robert Covington, Jr.
January 18, 2016
The Daily Banter

Dr. Martin Luther King burst on the national scene as the recognized leader of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955-1968, and what followed was a lifelong commitment to social, racial and human justice with relentless activism.

Dr. King helped a nation see its contradictions, inhumanity and hypocrisy in ways that have not been replicated by anyone since his assassination. Dr. King was so deeply American in his undying belief in the nation’s potential to live up to the best of its ideals, he remained undeterred by the constancy of death threats — physical, emotional and psychological abuse that he was subjected to by people who called themselves Americans. Defiantly, Dr. King exposed America’s toxic obsessions and caste systems that created the seeds of hatred, racial tensions and bigotry.

As the nation embarks on a day of observance, hopefully all of us will find our own way to honor his life. One of the ways that I’ve chosen to remember Dr. King involved the reading of some of his speeches and videos. As I read and looked at hours of material, I walked away in awe of his writing skills and gift of oratory.

One of the most clarifying speeches Dr. King has ever given on America’s decadence, occurred on August 31st, 1967. Dr. King was invited to speak to the National Conference of New Politics in Chicago, Illinois and he named his speech: “The Three Evils of Society”. The three evils in Dr. King’s address were: Racism, Materialism and Militarism. There are very few people who are able to unmask America’s sickness quite like Dr. King did.

Here are some excerpts in each category that remain as relevant today, as it was 49 years ago:

Materialism: “It is this moral lag in our thing-oriented society that blinds us to the human reality around us and encourages us in the greed and exploitation which creates the sector of poverty in the midst of wealth. Again we have diluted ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice, the fact is that Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad. If Negroes and poor whites do not participate in the free flow of wealth within our economy, they will forever be poor, giving their energies, their talents and their limited funds to the consumer market but reaping few benefits and services in return. The way to end poverty is to end the exploitation of the poor, ensure them a fair share of the government services and the nation’s resources. I proposed recently that a national agency be established to provide employment for everyone needing it. Nothing is more socially inexcusable than unemployment in this age.”

Racism: “As early as 1906 W. E. B Dubois prophesized that the problem of the 20th century, would be the problem of the color line, now as we stand two-thirds into this crucial period of history we know full well that racism is still that hound of hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization. Ever since the birth of our nation, White America has had a Schizophrenic personality on the question of race, she has been torn between selves. A self in which she proudly profess the great principle of democracy and a self in which she madly practices the antithesis of democracy. This tragic duality has produced a strange indecisiveness and ambivalence toward the Negro, causing America to take a step backwards simultaneously with every step forward on the question of Racial Justice; to be at once attracted to the Negro and repelled by him, to love and to hate him. There has never been a solid, unified and determined thrust to make justice a reality for Afro-Americans.

The step backwards has a new name today, it is called the white backlash, but the white backlash is nothing new. It is the surfacing of old prejudices, hostilities and ambivalences that have always been there. It was caused neither by the cry of black power nor by the unfortunate recent wave of riots in our cities. The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed in chains on the shores of this nation. This does not imply that all White Americans are racist, far from it. Many white people have, through a deep moral compulsion fought long and hard for racial justice nor does it mean that America has made no progress in her attempt to cure the body politic of the disease of racism or that the dogma of racism has been considerably modified in recent years. However for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality while racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists. Racism can well be, that corrosive evil that will bring down the curtain on western civilization.

Militarism: Above all, the War in Vietnam, has revealed what Senator Fulbright calls, “our nations arrogance of power”. We are arrogant in professing to be concerned about the freedom of foreign nations while not setting our own house in order. Many of our Senators and Congressmen vote joyously to appropriate billions of dollars for the War in Vietnam and many of these same Senators and Congressmen vote loudly against a Fair Housing Bill to make it possible for a Negro veteran of Vietnam to purchase a decent home. We arm Negro soldiers to kill on foreign battlefields but offer little protection for their relatives from beatings and killings in our own South. We are willing to make a Negro 100% of a citizen in Warfare but reduce him to 50% of a citizen on American soil.”

Dr. King endured and suffered as an activist and messenger of peace, love and non-violence. But it was not in vain. His work, accomplishments, analysis and assessment of the United States resulted in Dr. King becoming one of the most iconic figures in American history. As we celebrate his life, Dr. King would want us to never forget why he died and what he died for.…

January 26, 2015 Issue

A President and a King
By Jelani Cobb
The New Yorker

Illustration by Tom Bachtell

In June of 2009, when an aura of idealism still attended Barack Obama’s Presidency, he delivered a speech at Cairo University that was intended to recalibrate American relations in the region. He had already offered a qualified overture in his Inaugural Address—“We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”—and the Cairo speech elucidated a vision of American soft power and democratic progress. Some listeners also noted a bit of historical jujitsu. In making a case for nonviolence in the region, the President remarked:

For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves, and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end.

Obama elided a few examples to make his argument: the more than six hundred thousand Civil War deaths in the United States; the well-documented though lesser-known history of armed black self-defense in the early twentieth century, which, in the eyes of many, served to make the nonviolent movement a palatable alternative; the armed resistance to apartheid that, for a time, counted even Nelson Mandela among its numbers. But fidelity to the historical record was not the key point.

There are more than six hundred and fifty streets named for Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States, but, perhaps more significant, there are streets, parks, and monuments dedicated to him in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia—a reminder that not only American authority but also American contradictions play out on the world stage. Cairo represented a moment in which the nation’s history of racism, long its most obvious moral contradiction and the so-called Achilles’ heel of American foreign policy, was, in the hands of a black President, an element to be used to America’s advantage. Obama’s mere existence was a brief for a kind of American exceptionalism. The credibility of his words derived less from the office he held than from his affiliation with the nonviolent movement that had made it possible for him to attain it.

From the moment Obama emerged as a serious Presidential contender, he has been viewed as a symbol of the successes of King and the movement that he led. Early in the campaign, when some African-Americans still harbored doubts about Obama’s identity, he travelled to Selma to mark the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march and to talk explicitly about the ways in which the movement had made it possible for the union between his black Kenyan father and his white American mother to exist legally. His nomination, at the Democratic Convention in August of 2008, coincided with the forty-fifth anniversary of King’s “Dream” speech. After the election, cartoonists deployed King in all manner of celebratory endorsement, and, after the Inauguration, Obama placed a bust of King in the Oval Office. This week, he will deliver his sixth State of the Union address, as he did his first inaugural, a day after the holiday that commemorates King.

Yet six years in the White House have vastly complicated Obama’s relationship to King. They are two of the three African-Americans who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. (The first, Ralph Bunche, was awarded the prize in 1950, for negotiating a truce between Jews and Arabs in 1949.) When King accepted his award, in 1964, he began his speech by questioning his worthiness as a recipient, since the movement he led had not yet achieved interracial peace:

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.

Obama opened his acceptance speech, in 2009, on a similarly self-effacing note, stating that he had barely begun his Presidency and his achievements were few. But then he departed from King’s reasoning. There is such a thing as just war, he said, under circumstances in which force is used in self-defense, is proportional to the threat, and, “whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.” He continued:

I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.

A moral crusader and a Commander-in-Chief grapple with different prerogatives. King was never tasked with national defense; Obama’s election was contingent on a belief that he could keep Americans safe. Some observers nevertheless find it difficult to square elements of Obama’s foreign policy—drone warfare and its civilian casualties—not only with King’s concept of civilization but with the President’s own criteria for just warfare. Cornel West railed against the decision to use King’s Bible at Obama’s second swearing-in. “The righteous indignation of a Martin Luther King,” he said, “becomes a moment in political calculation.” Still, the King who denounced the triple evils of militarism, racism, and materialism would likely hail this week’s address, in which the President is expected to touch upon normalizing relations with Cuba, immigration reform, and providing free education for students at community colleges—along with the Administration’s efforts to prevent  voter suppression, the cause that animated the Selma campaign, fifty years ago.

Beneath all this lies the irony that, nearly six years after the Cairo speech, Obama is less able to deploy the moral capital of civil rights, at least in the Middle East, not only because he is now established as the face of American authority but also because many of the battles that King fought have still not been resolved. Racism remains an Achilles’ heel. The protests in Ferguson, New York, and beyond were watched by a global audience, and, as during the Cold War, America’s domestic troubles become fodder for a morally compromised foreign power to deflect attention from its own failings. Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei took to Twitter to highlight the seeming contradiction that such actions were taking place under a black President. He tweeted, “Racial discrimination’s still a dilemma in US. Still ppl are unsecure for having dark skins. The way police treat them confirms it.” In spite of Obama’s debt to the civil-rights movement, the ideal of American exceptionalism is only as valid as the standing of people who have just as often been seen as exceptions to America. ♦

Jelani Cobb has been contributing to The New Yorker and since 2013, and became a staff writer in 2015. He writes frequently about race, politics, history, and culture. His most recent book is “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.” He’s an associate professor of history, and the director of the Africana Studies Institute, at the University of Connecticut. He won the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, for his columns on race, the police, and injustice.

Dr. Martin Luther King's Prophetic Last speech
APRIL 3, 1968:

"I Have Been to the Mountaintop”-- Full Speech



Excerpt from the end of his speech delivered in Memphis, Tenn. --April 3,1968—THE DAY BEFORE Dr. King’s assassination at the age of 39:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-- "The Three Evils of Society":

An almost lost Dr. King speech, from the Pacifica Archives; this speech was given at the first and only National Conference for New Politics in 1967. It is an amazing speech which looks at American's three deadliest sins, War, Racism and Poverty

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Stanford - "The Other America” (1967):
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech at Stanford University on April 14, 1967. This speech is known as "The Other America".…/in-honor-of-late-dr

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-- "The Three Evils of Society"

An almost lost Dr. King speech, from the Pacifica Archives; this speech was given at the first and only National Conference for New Politics in 1967. It is an amazing speech which looks at American's three deadliest sins, War, Racism and Poverty

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech at Stanford University on April 14, 1967. This speech is known as "The Other America".


Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech:
Martin Luther King Jr. held his Nobel acceptance speech in the auditorium of the University of Oslo in Norway on 10 December 1964.

Copyright © Norsk Rikskringkasting AS 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech at Stanford on April 14, 1967. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech:

Martin Luther King Jr. held his Nobel acceptance speech in the auditorium of the University of Oslo in Norway on 10 December 1964.

Copyright © Norsk Rikskringkasting AS 2012

Martin Luther King Jr., "The Drum Major Instinct" Sermon --- COMPLETE

"The Drum Major Instinct”

This was Dr. King’s last SERMON before being assassinated. Delivered to his congregation Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on February 4, 1968.
Not to be confused with his last SPEECH "I've Been to the Mountaintop" given two months later on April 3, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Beginning at 35:07 MLK begins to dictate his own prophetic eulogy... a prophetic eulogy that goes on and ends as the final note of his final sermon.

There's an edited 19 minute version of this speech floating around. This version cuts out three segments as well as the final sentence.


King's "Drum Major Instinct" sermon, given on 4 February 1968, was an adaptation of the 1952 homily ''Drum-Major Instincts'' by J. Wallace Hamilton. King encouraged his congregation to seek greatness, but to do so through service and love. King concluded the sermon by imagining his own funeral, downplaying his famous achievements and emphasizing his heart to do right.

Mahalia Jackson sings at April 9, 1968
Martin Luther King Funeral:

For Immediate Release
In Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King
Can We Make It to the "Promised Land?"
King delivered his last speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop" on April 3, 1968 -

April 4th will be forty-six years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on a balcony in Memphis. Black America and people of goodwill in the nation and the world were stricken by grief, frustration and anger at the murder of this great man of justice and peace. Indeed, rebellions erupted in urban centers across the nation by people who could not fathom how an apostle of non-violence could be struck down so viciously and violently. It was clear that America was at yet another cross-road in the quest to achieve racial, economic and social justice.

Despite constant death threats, Dr. King never flinched in his determination that this nation should be made to live up to its creed. The night before he was murdered, he reluctantly mounted the podium at the Mason Temple Church in Memphis to once again urge his multitude of followers to remain hopeful, faithful and encouraged. He seemed to have a premonition of his demise, and yet he stared death in the face and proclaimed that he was not afraid. In the most memorable part of his oration he took the audience to the "mountaintop" with him and declared that he had "seen the promised land." Sensing that his life would be cut short he said, "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."

As we reflect on King's courage and optimism in the shadow of death, the question is can we make it to the Promised Land. Clearly Dr. King was speaking to the long suffering sons and daughters of Africa in America when he referenced "we as a people," but given his fervent belief in the promise of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, there is little doubt that he also believed that one day America as a nation must arrive at the Promised Land. King also knew that for the "promise" to be realized Black people and people of good will in the "beloved community" would have to struggle to achieve its fulfillment. There would be trials and tribulations because there were forces deeply committed to restricting economic and political democracy to an elite "few" to the exclusion of the "many" in this society.

As King peered over into the Promised Land, he saw a nation which embraced his concept of an Economic Bill of Rights modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" where every human being would have a decent standard of living: a land where no-one would lack for a job with a living wage or guaranteed annual income, quality affordable housing, healthcare and education. But, to get to the Promised Land, King was preparing a Poor People's Campaign to galvanize the "many" to struggle for an Economic Bill of Rights even in the face of the fierce resistance of the "few" at the commanding heights of capital and finance.

To get to the Promised Land, King also warned that the people, those who aspired to create the change must themselves undergo a change, a personal "revolution" that would translate into creating a just and humane society. Hence he proclaimed, "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

The people must create a "moral movement" to get to the Promised Land and that movement cannot countenance a system incompatible with "person-oriented" values. Therefore, those who would get to the Promised Land must challenge and change systems of oppression and exploitation; they must advance a politics of social transformation. As King put it, "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that the edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

As we witness the calculated, mean-spirited assault on Blacks, labor, women and poor and working people by rightwing extremists, the explosive growth in mass incarceration within the prison-jail industrial complex and the ever increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, we must continue to be inspired by King's view from the mountaintop. Black people in particular must be dedicated to leading ourselves and the downtrodden/dispossessed to the Promised Land.

The Moral Monday Movement led by Rev. Dr. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP embodies the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of the Promised Land and the road we must trod to get there. If King could stare death in the face and still keep his eye on the prize, then we desecrate his memory and violate his spirit if we shrink in the face of the current roadblocks and obstacles to the Promised Land. Too many or our ancestors suffered, struggled, bled, triumphed and passed the baton for this generation to succumb to hopelessness, apathy and indifference in the midst of a State of Emergency in America's "dark ghettos" - and the extremists' immoral assault on poor and working people.

As we memorialize the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, let us remember him on the mountaintop, looking over into the Promised Land, knowing that he would not get there, but courageously exhorting and inspiring us to continue the arduous but ultimately rewarding journey toward full freedom. We may not get there in our lifetime but King's message from the mountaintop was/is a clarion call for a cross - generational struggle for "a more perfect union" and the creation of the Promised Land. Our people and the "beloved community," will overcome some day!

Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Distinguished Lecturer at York College City University of New York. His articles and essays also appear on the IBW website and To send a message, arrange media interviews or speaking engagements, Dr. Daniels can be reached via email at

MLK's "How Long, Not Long" Speech - Archival Footage:

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) delivers his famous "How Long, Not Long" speech on the steps of the state capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama .

Martin Luther King Jr 1963—on Meet The Press (NBC)--August 25, 1963

Published on Aug 27, 2013:

1963 "Meet the Press" interview with Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of the March on Washington's 50th anniversary next week.

King appeared on the news program three days before his landmark "I Have a Dream" speech at the Aug. 28, 1963, civil rights march.

"'Meet the Press' Special Edition: Remembering the Dream" will air Sunday on 10 NBC-owned stations and on New England Cable News and a number of NBC affiliates. Most stations will air it immediately before or after the regularly scheduled episode of "Meet the Press" (check local listings).

The half-hour interview with King and NAACP leader Roy Wilkins will air in full, a half-century to the day after its original showing. It will be available online afterward.…/call-conscience-landma…

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A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Clayborne Carson, ed.
New York: IPM/Warner Books

Purchase Online From Amazon

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is known for being one of the greatest orators of the twentieth century, and perhaps in all of American history. In the 1950s and 1960s, his words led the Civil Rights Movement and helped change society. He is best known for helping achieve civil equality for African Americans, but these speeches--selected because they were each presented at a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement--show that his true goal was much larger than that: He hoped to achieve acceptance for all people, regardless of race or nationality.

This companion volume to A Knock at Midnight features the landmark speeches of his career, including: "I Have a Dream"; his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize; his eulogy for the young victims of the Birmingham church bombing; and "I've Been to the Mountaintop," the last speech he gave before his death.

Also featured in this text are introductions from world-renowned defenders of civil rights, who, reflecting on their own experiences, explain how they believe Dr. King's words can be applied in the twenty-first century. They include Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman John Lewis, George McGovern, Rosa Parks, Aretha Franklin, Senator Edward Kennedy, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Dorothy Height, Reverend Leon Sullivan, the Dalai Lama, and Reverend Walter Fauntroy.


5 Dec 1955     

MIA Mass Meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church

7 April 1957   "The Birth of a New Nation," Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

17 May 1957  "Give Us the Ballot," Address at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom

23 June 1963   Speech at the Great March on Detroit

28 Aug 1963  "I Have a Dream," Address at March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

18 Sept 1963 "Eulogy for the Martyred Children"

10 Dec 1964 Acceptance Speech at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

25 March 1965 "Our God Is Marching On!"

4 April 1967    "Beyond Vietnam"

વિયેતનામ બિયોન્ડ ("Beyond Vietnam" in Gujarati)

16 Aug 1967 "Where Do We Go From Here?"

3 April 1968 "I've Been to the Mountaintop"