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Leadership Step by Step by Joshua Spodek

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CHAPTER 7

Authentic Voice

On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the Vietnam War in a speech called “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” Some historians have called it his most important. It’s as eloquent and reasoned as anything King wrote and spoke. The text and audio are online, which I recommend reviewing. As an early prominent person to speak against the war so publicly, King knew he would ignite opposition and risk losing support.

He had privately opposed the U.S. involvement in Vietnam for some time but hadn’t spoken publicly against it before because he had a productive relationship with President Johnson and his administration on civil rights. Johnson was escalating the war, and King didn’t want to jeopardize ...

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