Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. - April 4, 1967 - Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence [Full Speech]

Uploaded on Jan 15, 2011

Many folk have heard that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. made the comment that the U.S. government [was/is] "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today". This was in context to a speech delivered on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City - exactly one year before his untimely death. Though not as well-known as his other speeches, this is one of the ones that speak deeply to my soul. Because of a few "blips" in the audio, I tried to include include the entire speech to be read along with the speech. It was, however, longer that what is allowed here.

An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (2013)
Published on Jun 9, 2013

The song is based on the book of the same title by King family lawyer, William Pepper. The book tells the story of the trial that Pepper won on behalf of the King family in 1999 in a Memphis court where a jury of 6 black and 6 white jurors unanimously found Loyd Jowers and unnamed government conspirators guilty of murdering Martin Luther King. The King family had long determined that James Earl Ray was not the lone gunman in an act of hate, but rather that Ray was a patsy in a conspiracy to decapitate the unifying justice movement that Dr King represented. Loyd Jowers, a former Memphis cop, was the owner of the restaurant across the street from the Lorraine Motel where MLK was gunned down in broad daylight while in support of the struggle of the sanitation workers union for decent wages. Rather than an act of hate, the execution of Martin Luther King was an act of state. The soundtrack was recorded in Berkeley by Sammy Fielding of Robot Envy Studio. The beautiful viola work is by Eric Golub. Singer-songwriter Vic Sadot is on the vocals and acoustic guitar using a gentle finger picking style. Lyrics and guitar chords below.

An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King

G C Em Am
William Pepper was a young man when he first met Dr. King D7 G
Who read his war reporting on Viet children suffering (1)
G C Em Am
Martin asked young William Pepper to speak about the war
D7 G
To come to his congregation. And they were friends forevermore...

Then William went to law school to put his talents to the task
To fight for social justice! To answer questions we must ask!
It was April 4, 1968 when Martin Luther King
Was murdered in the broad day light... It was a devastating thing!

There was a mighty "Rush to Judgment" (2)...To blame it on James Earl Ray
There was agreement in the government to tell the media what to say
The media called it "a crime of hate"... A "lone-nut" simple thing...
Now we know it was "An Act of State" (3), the execution of Dr. King

James Earl Ray was just a patsy, an escaped prisoner for sure...
With a top security identity for the whole 9 months before...
Some rogues within the government shielded James as "Eric Galt"
Gave him a car and a driver's license to secure him 'til the assault...

To protect this petty criminal... To put the patsy into place
His handler sent him to Memphis where like a pawn he showed his face
Well, Martin marched for Civil Rights! And he stood against all war!
He spoke for truth and justice, and non-violence. That's for sure!

When Martin stood with the workers... in solidarity with the poor...
That high class oligarchy hated Martin all the more!
Earl Clark was one of the Memphis cops meeting at Loyd Jowers Grill
Across from the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was killed

Two military snipers teams would have also fired
If the police team from Memphis failed to do what was required
Next day cops cleaned the crime scene... Hauled the brush and the proof away
They avoided all the witnesses that might have some truth to say

Too many unanswered questions still blowin' in the wind
In a murder investigation so deliberately ruined
Too many disturbing answers still came out in the trial
Enough to prove conspiracy to a nation in denial

Six white and six black jurors unanimously agreed
The facts presented at the trial proved who really did the deed
Yes, it all came out in the trial that in '99 they won!
When the government was convicted of the conspiracy they'd done

William Pepper was the lawyer who won the case in court
But when he went to the press conference no reporters came to report
So here's to William Pepper! The King Family, brave and wise!
For standing for the truth for us! For "overcoming" all the lies!

William Pepper, keep on struggling! You know you're following...
The teachings, and the vision, and the dream of Dr. King!
William Pepper wrote a book about the trial and everything...
An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (3)
An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King

Repeat the last line slowly to end.

Copyright August 12, 2009 Victor Rene Sadot, BMI, Orbian Love Music

Footnotes: 1 Ramparts magazine 1967; 2 Rush To Judgment, a book by Mark Lane; 3 An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther, a book by William Pepper 2003 Verso Press.