The Other America

There’s not much left to say about Martin Luther King Jr. on the national holiday that bears his name. The media and conservatives have attempted to transform him into a toothless Teddy Bear. To some extent that worked as the I Have A Dream speech has become King’s best-known oration. It *is* an impressive speech, especially as part of it was pure improv; inspired by a conversation King had with Mahalia Jackson.

I prefer King’s Stanford speech on April 14, 1967. It was a formal lecture entitled The Other America. and focused on American struggles, not American dreams. The country was just as divided in 1967 as it is today.

It was an interesting setting as Stanford University was and is a citadel of privilege and the home of the Hoover Institute, The transcript can be found here.

Here’s one of many money quotes from that speech:

“One America is beautiful for situation… millions of young people grow up in the sunlight of opportunity. But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly transforms the ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair… They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

A video of the speech itself in its entirety:

2 thoughts on “The Other America

  1. It is timely, now, to mention that Sidney Poitier, according to the great historian and chronicler of King, Taylor Branch, could be counted on in those years to show up with a briefcase of cash, when there was bail money needed, or expenses to be paid, in many cases ( and there were many ) uncalled; as if he could sense the need.

  2. You can’t beat the Riverside Church address he gave one year to the day before he died. You don’t hear Republicans – or many Dems – bring that one up often. Most of it is available on Democracy Now

Comments are closed.