The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has asked all people to study the last speeches of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to reflect on the evolution of his message—from one of an integrationist “Dreamer” in 1963, to one of a true wide-awake revolutionary in 1968 when he was murdered. It is clear that Dr. King began to consider The Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad had profound relevance to the struggle for Black freedom in America. Dr. King and his wife Coretta met with The Hon. Elijah Muhammad at his Chicago home on February 24, 1966. Privately, Dr. King indicated a true shift in his belief that the pursuit of “integration” through “non-violent” civil rights struggle would be the answer to the righteous demands of his oppressed people. In the last days of his life, Dr. King confided in his friend Harry Belafonte:
“You know, we fought long and hard for integration...But I tell you, Harry, I’ve come on a realization that really deeply troubles me. I’ve come to the realization that I think we may be integrating into a burning house.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., right, pictured in his first meeting with Elijah Muhammad, left, head of the Black Muslims, said February 24, 1966, in Chicago, IL, his visit does not mean they have a common front. King said Elijah Muhammad agreed a movement is needed against slum conditions.
In 1967, Dr. King, asked, “Why does White America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains?” He said White people’s belief in the fairness of America “is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.”
His indictment of White America grew harsher and unsparing:
“White Americans left the Negro on the ground and in devastating numbers walked off with the aggressor. It appeared that the White segregationist and the ordinary White citizen had more in common with one another than either had with the Negro.”
Incredibly, he even conceded, “there are points at which I see the necessity for temporary separation as a temporary way-station to a truly integrated society.”
By 1968, Dr. King was unequivocal about the country and the war to which White America and many negro leaders were irrevocably faithful:
“And I am sad to say that the nation in which we live is the supreme culprit. God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war, as the war in Vietnam. And we are criminals in that war. We have committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I’m going to continue to say it.”
In his very last speech in Memphis in the midst of the striking sanitation workers on April 3, 1968, Dr. King was speaking of BLACK RETALIATION against the forces of wickedness using “the power of economic withdrawal.”
“Up to now,” he taught, “only the garbage men have been feeling pain; now we must kind of redistribute the pain.”
The United States government spied on Dr. King and attempted to make his life a living hell and ultimately, they were responsible for the death of our brother on that Memphis motel balcony at 39 years of age. His intellectual and spiritual journey into the mind of God may have been nearly complete. Among Dr. King’s personal effects were notes of a speech he was preparing to deliver on that Sunday titled: “Why America May Go To Hell.”
It is TRULY time that we acknowledge the brilliance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, and to rescue his legacy from those who would misuse his words to send Blacks into that “burning building.”
Below is a partial list of public speeches given by Dr. King since that meeting with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. This list will expand in the coming weeks.
Dr. King placed a list of demands on the door of the Chicago City Hall in order to gain leverage with city leaders.
August 10, 1966
SCLC President’s Report
Delivered at the Tenth Annual Convention of the SCLC, Dr. King addresses several elements of the Civil Rights Movement as he discusses the successes, plans, goals, and vision of the SCLC in relation to the wider movement it represents.
Statement on The Negro’s Political and Economic Power
Dr. King discusses the inferior political and economic power of American Blacks against the backdrop of emerging Black Power organizations. He reveals several new non-violent programs the SCLC targeted at economic and social justice: youth training and political reformation in the South.
Howard University presents Dr. King as its primary speaker for their seventh annual Gandhi Memorial Lecture in 1966. Dr. King traces the slow but meaningful progress society has made from slavery to the current civil rights movement.
MLK Address to the United Neighborhood Houses of New York
Dr. King focuses on the need to alter the ineffective, piecemeal manner in which the government tries to fight poverty by fighting its symptoms, and instead suggest that the government channel those funds into a new “guaranteed annual income” that will help turn non-producers into consumers.
Dr. King’s fourth book, “Where Do We Go from Here? Chaos or Community?” is published
Draft of 1967
“A Journey of Conscience”
Dr. King provides the many reasons he so strongly opposes the war in Vietnam. He writes of how he first felt it was important to remain silent, but gradually felt compelled to speak out, as the U.S. made no initiatives toward peace. He points at that the war abroad takes away our focus on our problems at home, and we must “combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement.” (http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/journey-conscience)
February 25, 1967
The Casualties of The War In Vietnam
Dr. King speaks at a symposium held in Los Angeles, California. He addresses the moral, social, and political causalities that arise as result of war.
Dr. King discusses seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into “a field of moral vision,” five things that the government should do to remove itself from conflict with Vietnam, and also encourages those in the churches and the synagogues to speak out against the war in Vietnam. (http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/beyond-vietnam)
April 9, 1967
Three Dimensions of a Complete Life
Dr. King states that the key to an extended and fulfilling life is to live a life that is “three dimensional.” He further identifies these dimensions as: “length, breadth and height.” Dr. King proclaims these dimensions will ensure a life of self-love, community and love for God.
May 1 – October 1: Summer riots where 43 people are killed.
Dr. Martin Luther King makes appeals to stop the riots
May 10, 1967
America’s Chief Moral Dilemma delivered in New York
Dr. King’s address to the Hungry Club highlights an array of issues that relate to America’s “Moral Dilemma.” Dr. King explains the three major evil dilemmas that face the nation: war, poverty, and racism.
Dr. King provides introductory remarks to participants of the Pacem In Terris II Convocation held in Geneva, Switzerland. He addresses several moral and political concerns as it relates war and Vietnam.
Dr. King on the ABC program “Issues and Answers.” They discussed the civil rights movement, Dr. King’s upcoming book, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Dr. King would serve jail time in Birmingham.
Dr. King, A. Philip Randolph, Whitney M. Young Jr., and Roy Wilkins issue a joint statement urging Black Americans in cities to end the public disorder and rioting. The civil rights leaders emphasize the potential damage the urban riots pose to “the Negro population, to the civil rights cause, and to the entire nation.”
MLK Announces The Jail Sentences Stemming from the 1963 Birmingham Demonstrations
Dr. King makes this statement regarding the arrest of himself and other leaders of the 1963 Birmingham struggle. The Supreme Court in 1967 ruled that these leaders unjustly broke the citywide injunction banning demonstrations. Dr. King urges the nation, “Take heed. Do not allow the Bill of Rights to become a prisoner of war.”
Dr. King parallels the war in Vietnam to the injustice and violence inflicted on urban dwelling American Blacks. King implores the government to reassess the nation’s domestic priorities and institute anti-poverty programs, so that the Great Society does not deteriorate into a “troubled and confused society.” (http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/domestic-impact-war-america)
December 4, 1967
MLK Announces a New SCLC March in Washington, D.C.
Dr. King challenges the Black residents of Eutaw, Alabama to participate in the upcoming SCLC Poor People’s Campaign. In this address, he urges the citizens of Eutaw to occupy Washington, D.C. in an effort to press Congress for a redistribution of wealth in America. He urges, “All ye who are tired of segregation and discrimination, come unto us. All ye who are overworked and underpaid, come unto us.” (http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/mlk-address-mass-meeting-eutaw-alabama)
March 20, 1968
Speech in Jackson, Mississippi
Dr. King addresses supporters in Jackson, Mississippi during his statewide tour for the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. He speaks of his excitement about the number of Blacks in Mississippi that participated in the last congressional election. He emphasizes that the Poor People’s Campaign cannot be successful without a strong coalition of organizations that see the need to combat poverty. (http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/document/speech-jackson-mississippi)
March 28, 1968
Dr. King leads striking sanitation workers in a march in Memphis, Tennessee. The march erupts in violence.