‘The bright daybreak of peace’

Martin Luther King, Jr., at freedom rally, Washington Temple Church, 1962 / World Telegram & Sun photo by O. Fernandez. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

By Craig Nell, Santa Cruz Branch

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. .  .  . I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
            —Martin Luther King, Jr.

The NAACP Santa Cruz County Branch and the Santa Cruz chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom hosted a community reading of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, in which he connected militarism, capitalism, and racism—an electrifying speech. We read the speech on the steps of the downtown post office, 1–3 pm on April 2—close to the 50th anniversary of the speech (April 4, 1967).

Many readers were lined up—some locally well-known and some interested citizens—to take turns reading sections of the speech. And, at around 2 pm, beloved Gospel and jazz singer Tammi Brown honored us with a song.

During the last year of his life, Dr. King struggled in the midst of war and governmental abandonment of the poor to create new multiracial, multireligious coalitions and to move toward the “Beloved Community.” His speech speaks to everyone seeking peace and justice today!


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