Martin Luther King Jr in the Vietnam War Era

Martin Luther King Jr was born on January 15th 1929 in Atlanta Georgia and served as a co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta from 1914 to 1931. He later attained his first B.A degree in 1948 from Morehouse College. Having served in the church ministry, martin later joined Crozer Theological Seminary where he was awarded B.D in 1951 before later enrolling at Boston University in 1953 where he pursued his doctorate degree. This paper seeks to analyze some of the civil rights activities which Martin Luther King Jr. undertook during his lifetime as well as addressing his key participation in the Vietnam War.

It was during the WWII period that the man became active in the civil rights movements. For instance, he led his first great Negro nonviolent demonstration in 1955, a demonstration that was involved bus boycott that lasted for 382 days. The participants advocated for the unconstitutional declaration of the law requiring segregation on buses. During the same period, King was arrested, abused and his home was bombed. Nevertheless, the man was ranked as the first Negro leader (Jackson & King (Jr.), 2007, p.329).

Martin Luther King Jr was elected the president of the southern Christian leadership conference in 1957. Indeed, the1957-1968 period was characterized by a lot of traveling across the region. He delivered powerful speeches which were meant to stop the social and economic injustices to the black Americans. In 1965 King vividly opposed the US military involvement in the Vietnam War and as the Blacks spokesman, he pointed out that the US government was exploiting the poverty conditions of the black people by sending them into the war.

The best trait in the King’s behavior was that he always insisted on peaceful demonstration, an indication that shows that he was a diplomatic leader. He was nevertheless frustrated by the opposition which always countered his moves by use of violence. King was courageous and strong activist who stood for what was considered right without fear of his personal security as many activists do. His courageous moves were observed in 1967 when he openly opposed the government stand on the Vietnam War. His persistent nature to pursue what was right was seen during this period as many civil rights leaders criticized this move. For instance, on April 4th 1967, King delivered a powerful speech in the New York City entitled “Beyond Vietnam: the time to break the silence”. He clearly denounced the US move against the Vietnam where, according to him, the country needed a big moral change. He never considered violence a solution to any problem instead it fueled the soar relationship between the conflicting parties. He greatly believed in dialogue power and always emphasized negotiations between the warring nations.

The fact that the US government took the advantage of poverty level in the black American communities to subject them to the risky war environment heightened his opposition. King believed that it wasn’t effective at all to invest huge sums of money in the war while people were still hardly surviving in the region due to the increased poverty level (Ling, 2002, p.242). He emphasized that the government should learn to prioritize its budget by considering the American issues first and let the others follow. Martin Luther King Jr is and will still remain a hero as he stands out for the best interest of the American people and more so for the poor communities. His integrity therefore went beyond what many will sacrifice for their fellow colleagues. His true character can also be observed by how he was assassinated. King was shot in Memphis, Tennessee where he had gone to further his civil rights activities for the sanitation workers.

Whenever one initiates a move in such justice and truth, nothing should come in between as the dream and own initiative should be the driving force. There may be very many discouragements and frustrations along the way, but this should not deter you from reaching out to your dream. Martin Luther King Jr was a role model whose death was not only an American loss but a worldwide loss.


Jackson, T. F & King (Jr.), M. L. (2007). From civil rights to human rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the struggle for economic justice. Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Press.p.329. Web.

Ling, P.J. (2002). Martin Luther King, Jr. New York, Routledge. P.242. Web.