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Martin Luther King, Jr. - Political and Social Views

Nkrumah, Kwame

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.

Trumpet of Conscience, The

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.

Vietnam War

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”).

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