Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views
The first African-born Prime Minister of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah was a prominent Pan-African organizer whose radical vision and bold leadership helped lead Ghana to independence in 1957. Nkrumah served as an inspiration to Martin Luther King, who often looked to Nkrumah’s leadership as an example of nonviolent activism. The evolution of Nkrumah’s power in Ghana, however, complicated relations between the two men. Just days after King’s assassination, Nkrumah expressed disagreement with King’s views on nonviolence.
The Trumpet of Conscience features five lectures that Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered in November and December 1967 for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Massey Lectures. Founded in 1961 to honor Vincent Massey, former Governor General of Canada, the annual Massey Lectures served as a venue for earlier speakers such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Paul Goodman. The event, sponsored by the University of Toronto’s Massey College, is broadcast each year on the CBC Radio One show “Ideas.” Prior to King’s assassination, the book was released under the title Conscience for Change, through the CBC. After King’s death in 1968, the book was republished as The Trumpet of Conscience, and included a foreword written by Coretta Scott King. The book reveals some of King’s most introspective reflections and his last impressions of the movement.
Four years after President John F. Kennedy sent the first American troops into Vietnam, Martin Luther King issued his first public statement on the war. Answering press questions after addressing a Howard University audience on 2 March 1965, King asserted that the war in Vietnam was “accomplishing nothing” and called for a negotiated settlement (Schuette, “King Preaches on Non-Violence”).
Following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945, Harry S. Truman became the 33rd president of the United States, after serving only 83 days as vice president. Martin Luther King had admired Truman’s record on civil rights until 1960, when Truman made defamatory statements linking the sit-in demonstrations with communism.
Politician and philanthropist Nelson A. Rockefeller was an outspoken supporter of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King once said of the four-term governor of New York: “If we had one or two governors in the Deep South like Nelson Rockefeller, many of our problems could be readily solved” (Walker, 19 October 1962).
King testifies before the platform committee of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, recommending a strong civil rights plank in the party platform.
On the second day of the conference, SCLC demands that President Dwight D. Eisenhower investigate the lynching of Mack Charles Parker in Mississippi.
King greets Kenyan leader Tom Mboya at Atlanta Municipal Airport. He later delivers remarks at the SCLC-sponsored “Africa Freedom Dinner” in honor of Mboya, held at Atlanta University. Following the dinner King and others socialize at Lawrence Dunbar Reddick’s house.
At a press conference in New York, King comments on federal intervention into the Mack Charles Parker lynching in Mississippi and the rape of a black girl by white men in Tallahassee.
King addresses the second Youth March for Integrated Schools at the Washington Monument.