Community Reading of Martin Luther King’s Controversial “A Time To Break Silence” Speech

April 4 marks fifty years since Martin Luther King delivered the most controversial speech in his career, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.”  Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 is sponsoring a community serial reading of that speech, to be held near the fountain in the Iowa City Ped Mall.  It will begin at 11:30 AM and conclude at 7:30 PM, Tuesday, April 4, 2017.    April 4th also marks forty-nine years since King was assassinated in Memphis.

King’s April 4, 1967 speech criticized the ongoing Vietnam War and made clear that acceptance of the war was intertwined with the struggle for civil rights.  Many civil rights leaders at that time criticized him.  The speech speaks eloquently to today’s crises.  As King said in the speech, “ A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death….When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

John Jadryev, co-president of Veterans For Peace #161 and a Vietnam combat veteran, said “We extend an invitation to join us in the reading.  We ask as you read and listen to the words of Dr. King from April 4, 1967,  to fast forward to today, looking for the parallels that are present in our nation’s current reality.”

The public is invited to listen to the speech, and individuals who wish to read a portion of the speech will be given the opportunity.   The speech takes nearly an hour to read, and it will be read eight times.  Several organizations, including PEACE Iowa, University of Iowa Center For Human  Rights,  and Iowa Physicians For Social Responsibility, are co-sponsoring the event.  Other organizations are also participating, including 100Grannies and Johnson County United Nations Association.

For further information, contact John Jadryev, 319 430-2019 or Jim Bradley, shoalbro@yahoo.com

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