Robert Scheer: MLK Has Been Portrayed as an Innocuous, Benign Figure. He Wasn't That at All. (Audio)


In an episode of the KPFK radio show “This Is Happening,” Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer unpacks Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, an address inspired in part by a harrowing piece published in Ramparts magazine while Scheer was editor of the publication.

Scheer tells host Jerry Quickley how King picked up an issue of Ramparts that featured a piece by William Pepper called “The Children of Vietnam,” which included graphic photographs of victims of napalm and bombings.

“He looked at these pictures,” says Scheer. “And he pushed away his food … he said, ‘After this, I’m not going to be eating comfortably for a long time.’ He had already been speaking out [against the Vietnam War], and he said, ‘We have to up the ante on this.’ ”

Listen below to Scheer and Quickley’s discussion of the great civil rights leader, whom Scheer describes as “a man of passion, concern, a very broad vision [who believed] you cannot have a war economy and yet do something about poverty; you cannot have a civil rights movement that’s successful if you don’t solve the issues of poverty.”

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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