Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Backlash

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Sibley, John. "Bunche Disputes Dr. King on Peace." New York Times, April 13, 1967, p. 1, 32.

This article details Dr. Ralph J. Bunche's reaction to Dr. Martin Luther King's famous anti-Vietnam speech given at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. Dr. Bunche spoke out as a U.S. citizen and as an African-American, not as the United Nations Under Secretary for Political Affairs nor as a director of the N.A.A.C.P. Dr. Bunche, winner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize, spoke out against the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner's (Dr. King) attempts to merge the Civil Rights movement with the anti-Vietnam war movement calling it a "serious tactical mistake." While Dr. Bunche did not directly attack Martin Luther King's personal stance against the war, he did fear that the joining of the two movements would harm both causes, particularly financially.

"He is, after all, an active clergyman and naturally sensitive to moral issues and values. But he should realize that his anti-U.S. in Vietnam crusade is bound to alienate many friends and supporters of the civil rights movement and greatly weaken it - an ironic twist for a civil rights leader."
Dr. King issued a response to Dr. Bunche and his other critics in an article located in the same edition of the New York Times. Click here for more info..

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