Martin Luther King Jr.: “The Other America”

On April 14, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at Stanford University. During this time, which was about one year before King’s death, Dr. King’s movement addressed a range of issues, including race, Vietnam, poverty, and economic justice. This speech at Stanford would become known as “The Other America” speech, and King would continue to give various speeches on the theme for the next year.

In the speech, King explained: “But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly transforms the ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this America millions of work-starved men walk the streets daily in search for jobs that do not exist. In this America millions of people find themselves living in rat-infested, vermin-filled slums. In this America people are poor by the millions. They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

Yet, near the end of the speech, King still spoke of hope. “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward Justice. We shall overcome because Carlyle is right, “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right, “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right, “Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne — Yet that scaffold sways the future.” With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

A transcript of this speech is available here.

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    Mumford & Sons Join Elvis Costello on “Ghost of Tom Joad”

    Mumford & Sons recently collaborated with Elvis Costello to record Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” They made the recording for Bono’s One campaign to get world leaders to focus on poverty issues as the leader meet in Northern Ireland at the G8 summit.

    In this video, Elvis Costello and Mumford & Sons talk about the song before playing it. Check it out.

    We have discussed on Chimesfreedom the connection between “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and the work of Woody Guthrie. In the video at the end, you see Costello bring the song back to Woody Guthrie with an impromptu singing of “So Long It’s Been Good to Know You,” whose history we also have discussed.

    The new recording of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” is part of a collection of protest songs that you can listen to for free and learn more about on the One website, including songs by Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, The Cranberries, and may others. The collection is listed as “songs that changed the world.”

    What do you think of the new version of “The Ghost of Tom Joad”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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