I Also Have A Dream: One Day, I Dream America Will Come To Understand MLK, Jr.’S “Beyond Vietnam” Speech, And The Real Reason Why He Was Assassinated
by Eric Dubin, The News Doctors Mass culture is shaped by interests that seek to trivialize the importance of – and to shift focus away from – history and history’s lessons. It’s that time of year again. Google is happy to display a cute, iconic graphic replacement of their logo for a day and the mainstream media will wax endlessly about King’s ‘dream.’ But you will never see “mainstream” media explain what King’s dream ultimately became — what King ultimately came to understand, an understanding that changed the nature and focus of King’s political activism. The following is suppressed history.
If you want to know what King really was about during the last couple years of his life, you need to understand the intellectual growth he experienced leading up to his “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech. He knew he was going to be assassinated. When he said in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, “…but it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top,” he was literally declaring before god and the world, in essence, ‘you can kill me, but you can’t kill what my ideas represent because they are no longer just my ideas; they are now the ideas impacting the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, and these millions want these ideas to translate into a re-ordering of social relations.’ By 1967, though much work and change remained ahead, King knew momentum had shifted and his direct work on race relations was largely complete. In other words, the civil rights movement had, by 1967, grown to be a massive, nationwide movement and King or no King, that movement would continue on in his absence – period. King was setting his sights on social justice in a broader context. Exactly one year to the day before he was assassinated, his “Beyond Vietnam” speech was part of his coming out, politically. It was part of the start of his political organizing to bring a permanent protest encampment of over 100,000 people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Gen. William C. Westmoreland and others within the power establishment were concerned that given the troop deployment in Vietnam, lesser remaining national guard troop availability was not sufficient to serve as a backstop against the risk of an “occupy” style (using today’s political vernacular) action morphing into an uncontrollable, civil insurrection. Remember, in the late 1960s scores of American inner cities were set ablaze in huge, urban riots. The “powers that be” were FREAKED OUT. A calculated decision was made by “the establishment” that, by whatever means necessary, King could not be allowed to lead a political action that could, with a material but difficult to define probability, set in motion a chain reaction that could produce outright revolution in the United States. Thus, when CONTELPRO operations failed (we even know operation names; e.g., operation “Lantern Spike” [the name of the operation literally intended to be evocative of the idea of extinguishing the “guiding light” that King represented to the Civil Rights Movement], etc.), the assassination was put into motion. This is shocking history. It’s also fully documented. Dig into William Pepper’s work – his books, his interviews, the fact that he prosecuted a successful civil court case representing the King family, where the verdict that the United States government was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate MLK, Jr. was the jury’s verdict. This should have been the most widely covered murder trial in history. Instead, the media, as one would expect, were AWOL. MLK, Jr. and William Pepper became friends. It was William Pepper’s hard hitting photos and his essay in Rampartsmagazine that brought MLK, Jr. to tears, and to an understanding of how the Warfare State, Vietnam and social justice were integrally linked. I haven’t met William Pepper. Someday, I’ll make a point of reaching out to him, and perhaps I’ll be lucky enough that he and I can chat, “tape rolling.” I highly recommend the interviews that Pepper has done with Len Osanic at Black Op Radio. Len does solid work, and these interviews provide rich context on Pepper’s background, how he thinks, and the history-making events he played a part and direct witness to. This is also a great read (thank you, David Ratcliife). Pepper’s book, “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King,” is a “must read” if you want to understand MLK, Jr. But beware: If this history is new to you, you’re not going to like what you learn. — Eric Dubin, Managing Editor, The News Doctors