Martin Beyond Vietnam

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On April 4, 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a powerful speech titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”. In “Beyond Vietnam,” Dr. King outlines the armed conflict in Vietnam from its birth in French colonialism through its inheritance by the United States in 1954. Dr. King skillfully highlights interconnections between “racism, extreme materialism, and militarism” and links the struggles for racial justice in the United States to anti-war and anti-poverty movements around the globe. Exactly one year later, Dr. King was murdered.

Almost 50 years later, the issues that Dr. King raised in his speech are still hauntingly relevant to the poverty, racism, and militarism that face us in the United States and around the globe. To better explore these issues and a speech that is often overlooked in favor of Dr. King’s seemingly less controversial “I Have a Dream” address, The Free Poster Program enlisted Oakland MC Do D.A.T. and San Francisco producer Jacobo to collaborate on a track that touches on the speech’s themes. What resulted is pure sonic ambrosia, punctuated by poignant prose that takes aim at U.S. military imperialism, economic inequality, and state violence at home and abroad. D.A.T. and Jacobo’s Martin Beyond Vietnam serves as a powerful reflection piece that both reminds us of the ongoing work of racial, social, and economic justice that Dr. King championed and “breaks the silence” about the scourges of racism, militarism, and poverty that still hang all over this nation like a wet shirt.