Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Forgotten King

The title of this post is intentionally ironic. Of course, today, we are away from school because Dr. Martin Luther King is commemorated by name with his own national holiday. And just about everyone alive is familiar with his "I Have A Dream" speech. However, as we look forward to tomorrow's historic inauguration, we invite you to compare and contrast what you have learned as a school child about this man, to this particular speech (about the Vietnam War, in an excerpt from a sermon given at Ebenezer Baptist Church, on April 30, 1967) Why? Because:
...after giving the speech...King was dropped from Gallup’s annual list of the most admired Americans and was ridiculed by the New York Times, among too many others. Soon after, he was murdered (Robert Scheer,
Although it is over 20 minutes long, you are encouraged to listen to as much of it as you can (it's audio only). We know what amazing multitaskers you are. Press PLAY and have it on in the background as you IM your friends and surf the net ;) Ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Why is this post called, "The Forgotten King"?
  2. Why was this speech so controversial?
  3. How does it relate to our course themes?
  4. Can you make connections to today?
A full text version of this speech is available HERE.


Lars said...

This post is called the "Forgotten King" because this speech is not what Dr. Martin Luther King was remembered for. It is the forgotten or unknown side of him. This speech was controversial because King was an American icon and he attacks the American government calling it the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world today". This relates to our coarse themes in that earlier in the year we looked at the difference in content between textbooks. All the events were told different from book to book and some books didn't even have some things that others did. Just the authors chose what to include, American people chose what to remember Dr. Martin Luther King by. This relates to today's elections because i feel like every one is so concerned about appearing so patriotic and not disappointing anyone, while King calls himself a patriot but is not afraid to speak his mind even if he will be ridiculed for it. It goes completely against what im used to hearing from presidential candidates. It is somewhat similar to how Obama's reverend spoke out against America and how appalled people were from hearing that.

Andrew said...

Having read the transcript, I find it interesting how the speech still would not be recieved well in America today. Although brilliant, King's ideas were, and still are a bit too progressive to be heard. I am fascinated by America's lack of understanding for King when he Addresses the Other Side of a given issue.

Elizabeth L said...

Earlier today I was reading about how the media affects women in the business world and how it can either help or hurt their climb up the ladder or to "break the glass-ceiling". I feel as though, yes, Dr. Martin Luther King's ideas are very modern due to him going outside the box, like Obama (as Maseeh said) but that the media is making a bigger deal out of it and the connotation of "The Forgotten King" doesn't address the speech correctly. I don't know if it is due to me just not understanding it or simply just not agreeing... I try to think about the media would react to a white man giving the speech, or a female, or an asian, or hispanic...?

Zmalkin said...

I think that Elizabeth also had a very nice point to sum up her comment, how would the media react to perhaps a female or asian or hispanic person giving the speech

I would have to agree with you clinkman,

I too cannot really see how the speech would be interpreted today? or if it would be too idealistic?
You have a very interesting point about King's addressing of the other side in his speeches. Does this make MLK jr. an idealist or realist?

Sam B. said...

Zack, i want to ask the same question, would this speech be too idealistic? I think that this speech is called the forgotten king because its almost as if this speech was forgotten by Americans because of the popularity of his i have a dream speech. I had never heard of this speech before until now, so that further proves that it was just pushed away. Why would he be dropped off of the list of Gallup's most admired Americans after this speech?

Victoria said...

I agree with Sam, I think that the reason that this speech was named this was because people were so interested in all of his other speeches including the famous "I Have a Dream" speech that they forgot about this one. I will admit that I have never heard about this speech until just now. It is not a okay thing, because this man was one of the most influenctial men in history, and each one of his speeches were equally moving and important. For people to forget it, or say that it is not important is unacceptable.

The Winnetka Greaser said...

Well I think it's interesting that his speech would get him ridiculed, and after being murdered, then people start celebrating him and that speech? I think that it was an amazing speech, and I also think that many people weren't agreeing with what he was saying because it had talked about the vietnam war, which some Americans were in favor of. His speech was controversial because he was bringing up the war, which many Americans had mixed feelings on, and there were still many racist Americans who hated him and what he was saying.