Hebrew School

MLK and snow
January 19, 2009, 8:11 pm
Filed under: events | Tags: , , ,

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the U.S. While the “I Have a Dream” speech has special meaning this year, given what will occur on the National Mall tomorrow, it tends to be repeated ad nauseum on this holiday, a monolithic standard for all King stood for.

But here is a later King delivering his (in)famous 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in Manhattan:

Here, he makes public a realization that the violence that was occurring domestically could not be criticized without considering the U.S.’s violent acts abroad.  What’s more, he refers to the United States as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Life magazine assessed the speech as “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi.”

Not exactly the sanitized version of the King we’ve come to know. King was in fact moving further and further to the left in the mid-to-late ’60s. Sadly, it was during this time that many in the Jewish community– which had strongly mobilized for King while Dylan still sang “Times They Are A-Changin'”–  became alienated from his views and those of the Civil Rights movement as a whole. His assassination came a year, to the day, after this speech. (More here.)

It’s been snowing in Brooklyn for the last couple of days. It’s beautiful.


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