Beyond the Dream

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking during an anti-war protest in New York City.

You’ve probably heard of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream” speech. In the speech, he imagined an America in which African Americans and whites were treated as equals. Dr. King is well known for his views on equality. However, have you ever heard his views on war? What about his views on poverty [people living with little or no access to food, housing, and other basic needs]?

During the 1960s, the United States was at war in Vietnam. Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia. Early in the war, Dr. King believed there should be peace talks to end the conflict. Later, he spoke out more strongly against the war. He said that the United States had been “wrong from the beginning” in Vietnam. He said that too many American soldiers and innocent people were being killed in Vietnam. This upset many people, including some of his supporters.

Dr. King also wanted to end poverty in America. He believed we could do more to help poor people. Dr. King thought that the money being spent in the Vietnam War was being wasted. He said the country should instead spend the money on housing, health care, and education for Americans. He believed that everybody should have an equal chance to live a good life.

What Do You Think? How were Dr. King’s views on war and poverty similar to his views on African American equality?

Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection, [LC-USZ62-111165]