The Brookings Public Library hosts a commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, April 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will include a presentation of Dr. King's April 4, 1967, "Beyond Vietnam" speech, along with a photo montage by local artist Phyllis Cole-Dai. A group discussion will follow. The program is sponsored by the Brookings Humans Rights Committee (yes, the city has one!).
That MLK speech has come to my attention often. Some key lines:
...We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside . . . but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved....
...A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
Martin Luther King's calls for social justice sprang from his Christianity. Those calls provoked rage from whites desperate to "take our country back!" from people who don't "deserve" America. The same rage that led to King's murder by a racist thug 22 years ago Sunday sounds uncomfortably familiar to today's politics.
Read more: Bob Herbert discusses the relevance of Dr. King's 1967 speech to today's foreign policy in Afghanistan... a costly endeavor of our federal government about which Tea Bags are confusedly and confusingly silent.