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Arts & Culture

Tavis Smiley Reports: Mlk: A Call To Conscience

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr.,and others look on, July 2, 1964.
Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office (WHPO)
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr.,and others look on, July 2, 1964.

Airs Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

The second of Tavis Smiley's special reports delves into one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s greatest speeches, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” which Dr. King delivered on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City.

The speech, delivered exactly one year before the date of his assassination, is considered pivotal but often under-appreciated. King challenged the morality of the Vietnam conflict and urged a national discussion about the role of America in the world.

Inside Riverside Church

Tavis talks with some of the civil rights leader's closest advisors about that speech and the final year of his life. View the images

Smiley examines the context of Dr. King’s words on liberty, responsibility and freedom against the backdrop of the fight for civil rights and an increasingly unpopular war, and examines the implications of his words today, particularly in light of President Obama’s decision to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Watch a preview.

Listen to the original “Beyond Vietnam” speech or read the transcript and share your reaction. Check out a timeline of Dr. King’s final year, from Riverside Church to Memphis.

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