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The Trumpet of Conscience – Summary | Write to Be Read

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The Trumpet of Conscience

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a famous U.S. civil rights leader and Christian preacher, delivered this speech in 1967. He worked for the rights of the poor and of African Americans and other minorities. Dr. King was waging a war against poverty and discrimination while the U.S. government was waging forces of North Vietnam and supporting the National liberation front of South Vietnam. Dr. King spoke out against violence as a way to solve problems and achieve civil rights goals. Hi support of non-violence was in sharp contrast to the violence of the war in Vietnam. In his speech “The Trumpet of Conscience,” Dr. King expresses his opposition to the Vietnam War. We learn that Dr. King’s decision to oppose the war was not an easy one when he tells us he was confused and perplexed by the complexities and ambiguities of the war. He knew that neither side, North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front, was a paragon of virtue, a model of just and good behavior. As a preacher, he also knew that conflicts can only e resolved when there is give and take form both sides. The speech reveals some of king’s most introspective reflections and his last impressions of the movement. Dr. King was not only a champion for civil rights, but also a stalwart defender of peace and social justice.

In this speech Dr. King speaks prophetically to today’s perils, addressing issues of equality, conscience and war, the mobilization of young people, and nonviolence. He speaks against the war in Vietnam. The concerns against the Vietnamese war were based on the moral issues of war working against poverty, as it drew effort and money away from the war on poverty, as it drew effort and money away from the war on poverty. He based his argument that the war was an enemy to the poor on the fact that the greatest percentage of the men fighting and dying was poor black young men who fought in a foreign country for freedom, and he was not able to enjoy in his own home. The violence in the ghettos mimicked the war, with young black men facing soldiers and guardsmen. King believed that the Peace Prize had given him a commission to work for peace for all men.

Dr. King believed that poetry caused much of the unrest in America. This poverty was not only in communities for African-Americans, but also neighborhoods of whites, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans. Dr. King believed that the United States involvement in Vietnam was also a mistake. He believed that the Vietnam War was causing conflict in the whole country. Many people were against this war. This belief against the war caused problem between King and the African-American leaders. They felt that racial problems deserved priority and that the African-American leadership should concentrate on fighting racial injustice at home. By early 1967 Dr. King had become associated with the antiwar movement. Dr. King continued his campaign for world peace. He traveled across America to support and speak out about civil rights and the rights of the underprivileged.

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America sacrificed many of her young people and invested an exuberant amount of money on this war fighting against communism. However, at the same time, the rights of the poor people were broken and the reason for which they were fighting vanished. Dr. King raises his voice and will for a better oncoming in hose times where poor people were utilized as element of war. Dr. King was an energetic oppose to the Vietnam War. He also claimed to the government greater attention to the poverty program.

In the remainder of the speech, King gives us three reasons that he sees a connection between the war in Vietnam and his was on poverty in the United States.

  • First , the U.S. government had been making efforts to help poor Americans through poverty programs that provided assistance in education, nutrition, and employment. However, the entry of the United States into war had eviscerated* these programs because all the money, men, and skills were eaten up by the war, which was like an evil, destructive force.
  • Second, besides devastating the hope of African Americans at home, the country sent them to fight and die in higher proportions than other Americans. Young men who were neglected by their own society were sent thousands of miles to guarantee others rights they themselves didn’t have.
  • Third, Kind told young people in U.S. ghettos that Molotov cocktails (homemade bombs) and rifles would never solve their problems at home, that a solution could only come through no violence. Could Dr. King speak out against violence in the ghetto without speaking out against a bigger purveyor* of violence, his own government, in Vietnam? Dr. King knew segregated accommodations* were wrong. How could he segregate his moral concern by not including the Vietnamese people?

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