Original air date: March 31, 2010

MLK: A Call to Conscience

The second episode of Tavis Smiley Reports examines Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stand against the Vietnam War and the influence of his legacy today. Tavis speaks with scholars and friends of King, including Cornel West, Vincent Harding and Susannah Heschel.

Episode Expanded

Susannah Heschel, daughter of Rabbi Abraham Heschel who founded Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, describes how she and her father came to learn of Dr. King's assassination and the impact that it had on her father.
Slide Show
Tavis traveled to New York's famous Riverside Church--where Dr. King delivered his "Beyond Vietnam" speech--to talk with some of the civil rights leader's closest advisors about that speech and the final year of his life.
Clarence Jones, Dr. King's legal advisor, explains the great lengths Dr. King went to in convincing Jones to fill that role.
Vincent Harding, who co-wrote Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech, explains why that title was selected.
What was the religious community's role in the anti-war movement? One organization spoke out for the clergy, but in the years since Vietnam, the group has gone through many shifts and leadership changes, including its most recent incarnation, which responded to the war in Iraq.
A baby clasps the hand of a UN peacekeeper as he controls a crowd in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in January 2010
In his 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech, King boldly asserted that the core principles of nonviolent action ought to be the guiding force behind foreign policy. He passionately believed that relationships built on nonviolent principles would be essential to sustainable world peace. But was King right?
Tavis Smiley blogger Tamika Thompson reflects on suffering ("Thanks. But no thanks.") and the role that it plays in the nonviolent strategies employed by Dr. King and others. To better understand this relationship, she speaks with United Methodist minister and nonviolent advocate and practitioner Richard Deats.
Home | About | Schedule | Pledge | PBS Privacy Policy | Shop