Beyond Vietnam, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peaceful relations among humans on earth, and peaceful relations between humans and the other life forms on the planet, are imperative for the survival of planet earth as a habitat for life as we know it. Making the achievement of peace an affirmative goal for all humanity is noble and essential.

Beyond Vietnam, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Postby admin » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:03 am

Beyond Vietnam
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
New York, N.Y.
4 April 1967




Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, some of the most distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside Church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it’s always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit.

I come to this great magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization that brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement, and pray that our inner being may be sensitive to its guidance. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns, this query has often loomed large and loud: “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people?” they ask. And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment, or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live. In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church—the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate—leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides. Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans.

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years, especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957, when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard from Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes, I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.” It can never be saved so long as it destroys the hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that “America will be” are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1954.* And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances.

But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men—for communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place, I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood. Because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned, especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954—in 1945 rather—after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China—for whom the Vietnamese have no great love—but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed and Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all of this was presided over by United States influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.


So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call “fortified hamlets.” The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation front, that strangely anonymous group we call “VC” or “communists”? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the North” as if there was nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only real party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of a new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western worlds, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led this nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a unified Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be considered.

Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight hundred, or rather, eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Surely this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroy, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and dealt death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increased in the hearts of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.

Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.

Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.

Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.

Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement. [sustained applause]

Part of our ongoing [applause continues], part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary. Meanwhile [applause], meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. [sustained applause] I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. [applause] Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. [applause] These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality [applause], and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. [sustained applause] So such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [applause]

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [sustained applause]

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. [applause] War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy [applause], realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low [Audience:] (Yes); the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says:

“Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.”

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation comes a moment do decide,
In the strife of truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. [sustained applause]

*. King says “1954,” but most likely means 1964, the year he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Site Admin
Posts: 31737
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Beyond Vietnam, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Postby admin » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:42 pm

Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam (CALCAV)
by The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute
Stanford, University
October 25, 1965



Member William S. Coffin, Jr. spent three years with CIA and then became a leader of anti-Vietnam war activity through the National Conference for a New Politics and Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam.

-- America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones, by Antony C. Sutton

In October 1965, 100 clergy members met in New York to discuss what they could do to challenge U.S. policy on Vietnam. Believing that a multi-faith organization could lend credible support to an anti-war movement often labeled as Communist, they created the Clergy Concerned about Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the few black members and the only member from the South. After the group opened its membership to laypeople and changed its name to National Emergency Committee of Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam (CALCAV), King used the organization’s platform in April 1967 for his widely acclaimed “Beyond Vietnam” speech that condemned the war in Vietnam.

In February and April 1967 King delivered two speeches devoted entirely to Vietnam. On 25 February 1967, King delivered “The Causalities of the War in Vietnam.” He was eager to ensure his message would not be distorted and approached CALCAV to organize a public event where he could situate his position within the broader religious opposition to the war. CALCAV hired a publicist exclusively for the event, which was held at Riverside Church in New York City on 4 April 1967. King’s speech, which drew over 3,000 people, provided his most significant endorsement of the anti-war movement to date. CALCAV published and distributed 100,000 copies of the Riverside speeches and King accepted an invitation to be co-chair of the organization.

Later that month, CALCAV endorsed “Vietnam Summer,” a campaign promoted by King and the noted pediatrician Benjamin Spock to mobilize grassroots anti-war activists in preparation for the 1968 elections. Throughout the summer and fall, CALCAV chapters engaged in civil disobedience by protecting draft resisters, a departure from their more moderate tactics, such as petitions and vigils. The organization’s second national mobilization was timed to coincide with the February 1968 release of a study commissioned by CALCAV documenting American war crimes in Vietnam. At the gathering, King led 2,500 CALCAV supporters in silent prayer at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns.

Following King’s assassination, CALCAV increased civil disobedience activities, protesting against Dow Chemical (producer of napalm) and Honeywell (maker of anti-personnel weapons). By 1971 CALCAV had turned its attention to several other social justice issues, dropping “about Vietnam” from its name to become simply Clergy and Laymen Concerned (CALC). During the subsequent decades, CALC supported sanctions against South Africa, a nuclear weapons freeze, and the end of U.S. military involvement in Central America.



Hall, Because of Their Faith, 1990.
Site Admin
Posts: 31737
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Beyond Vietnam, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Postby admin » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:58 pm

Clergy and Laity Concerned Records, 1965-1983
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Collection: DG 120
Accessed: 3/27/19



Contact Information:
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399 U.S.A.
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator); Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: (Curator); URL:

Descriptive Summary

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.
Clergy and Laity Concerned
Clergy and Laity Concerned Records
Inclusive Dates
Call Number
DG 120
Language of Materials
Materials in English
48 linear feet [papers only]
Brief statement about person/group and what is included in the papers/records (no more than a few sentences)

Administrative Information

Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Clergy and Laity Concerned, 1979 [Acc. 79 A-65, Acc. 79A-73]; 1980 [Acc. 80A-85]; 1986 [Acc. 86A-99]; 1997 [Acc. 97A-48]
Processing Information
Processed by Eleanor M. Barr, 1982, 1983. This on line version of the finding aid was created by Emma Madarasz, July 2013.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Clergy and Laity Concerned Records (DG 120), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright may have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection or may have been retained by the creators/authors (or their descendants), in this collection, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Please contact the SCPC Curator for further information.

Online Catalog Headings

These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record

Historical Background

Clergy and Laity Concerned is a nationwide network within the religious community which was founded to mobilize opposition to U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia. In late 1965, John C. Bennett, William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Rabbi Abraham Heschel and others organized the National Emergency Committee of Clergy Concerned About Vietnam.

This committee soon developed a national organization of Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant clergymen and laymen which was known as Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam (CALCAV). Richard R. Fernandez was hired as Executive Secretary in 1966, continuing in that capacity or as Co-Director until 1973. Others who have served as Director or Co-Director include Richard M. Boardman, John Collins, Robert S. Lecky, Barbara Lupo, Don Luce, Richard Van Voorhis, and Trudi Schutz Young.

During the first ten years of its existence, CALC's program focused on mobilizing the religious community to oppose U.S. involvement in Vietnam and Indochina, supporting those who refused induction into the armed services, and challenging governmental and corporate policies which were more concerned with power and profit than with the needs of people. CALC sponsored several mobilizations of religious leaders in Washington, DC, sent Rev. Thomas Hayes to Sweden to minister to American deserters in that country, and produced and distributed numerous publications. In addition, CALC sought to influence religious insitutions to use their investments as a means of moving American corporations out of the war-making business. The Honeywell Campaign, launched in 1972, focused on that corportation's manufacture of anti-personnel weapons. From 1973 to 1977, CALC worked with the American Friends Service Committee in a joint Stop the B-1 Bomber/ National Peace Conversion Campaign.

In 1972, the name of the organization was shortened to Clergy and Laity Concerned to reflect the broadening scope of the organization's concerns. Since the end of the Vietnam war, CALC has worked in the areas of reconstruction and reconciliation in Indochina, amnesty, world hunger, human rights, corporate responsibility, and peace conversion. Their human security program focuses on support for a nuclear moratorium. The basic belief which underlies these programs is that moral/ethical/religious values must be brought to bear on problems of political, economic, and social injustice.

CALC is an action-oriented movement of individuals and groups. From the beginning, an effort has been made to stimulate concern and action at the grassroots level. Trudi Schutz Young was hired in mid-1971 to work on field development, building a more cohesive and organized accosciation of local, regional, and national staff through training, frequent communication, and periodic conferences. The 1976 Annual Report stated that the local chapters were "the heart and soul of CALC--- generating public pressure for change and struggling to embody CALC's vision of a better society in our daily lives." In 1982, there were 42 chapters and affiliates in 29 states.

Formerly guided by the national staff and a National Steering Committee, the governing structure of CALC has gradually become more decentralized and democratic. From 1977 onward, the highest decision-making body in CALC has been the National Assembly, a group composed of chapter and action group members and at-large members. Between annual meetings of the National Assembly, a National Interim Steering Committee and the regional staff coordinate the work of the local chapters. The national office in New York City provides administrative and program support for CALC's network of local groups, raises funds, and represents CALC in public forums and in national coalitions.

Collection Overview

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for the records of the national office of Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC). The bulk of the material deposited to date is from the period 1966-1977. Included in the collection are minutes of the Steering Committee and other administrative committees (1966-1973, incomplete), correspondence (1965-1978), inter-office memoranda, various materials relating to CALC's programs and projects, CALC publications (periodicals, pamphlets, reprints, flyers, form letters, and posters), press releases, clippings, and photographs. Correspondence with and newletters from local CALC groups throughout the United States are included, as well as printed and mimeographed material from various other organizations.

American Report, a weekly or biweekly newspaper, was published by CALC from 1970-1974 under the editorship of Robert S. Lecky and later Robert G. Hoyt. Records of American Report in the CALC collection include correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and financial records.

The collection also contains materials relating to Help Unsell the War, a mass media campaign which CALC helped to promote in 1971 and 1972. Help Unsell the War materials include correspondence, posters, sound recordings, and videorecordings.

Additional files document the joint CALC/AFSC campaign against the B-1 bomber (1973-1977).

Among the correspondents are CALC staff members Barbara Armentrout, Robert Bland, Richard M. Boardman, Richard, R. Fernandez, Ron Henderson, Robert S. Lecky, Carl D. Rogers, Richard Van Voorhis, Trudi Schutz Young, and Vicki West. Other correspondents include John C. Bennett, Robert McAfee Brown, William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Harvey G. Cox, Peter Davies, Thomas Lee Hayes, Abraham Heschel, David L. Hurwood, Robert Jay Lifton, Robert A. Maslow, Richard John Neuhaus, Sidney M. Pack, George W. Webber, Charles C. West, and Herman Will, Jr.

Items removed:
Audio-Visual Items

Arrangement of Collection

The records of Clergy and Laity Concerned came to SCPC in three accessions in 1979 and 1980. Upon examination of the contents of the 49 cartons, it was decided that the material need not be treated as three separate units. Material which obviously belonged together as a series was often found in two or three accessions. Unfortunately, the boxes had not been labelled or numbered in any way by the CALC staff before the material was shipped, so it was up to the SCPC staff to determin which materials belonged together.

To the extent possible, materials which were found together have been kept together and materials which looked as though they belonged to the same series have been brought together even if they were found in several different boxes.

In each series, the boxes are numbered starting with Box 1. This numbering system will facilitate the addition of material to the collection when future accessions are processed.

Series I, Administration, is an "artificial" series which has been brought together from the files of several different staff members. The minutes of the Executive Committee, the Steering Committee, and of several administrative committees are imcomplete and are filed with related material.

Sries II, Correspondence, consists of several subseries. Two folders of correspondence and statements are from the files of John C. Bennett, but the bulk of the series is the correspondence (1966-1973) of Richard R. Fernandez, the first Executive Secretary of CALC, most of which is in chronological order. The 1966 correspondence is in alphabetical order. Correspondence for the period January 1969 through June 1970 is missing. Correspondence (1970-1971) of Vicki West, an administrative assistant, is filed in separate folders in the same chronological sequence. A file of correspondence (1970-1974) and information about prospective donors is in alphabetical order.

Series III, Programs and Projects, brings together material from numerous cartons and represents the work of many CALC staff members. Boxes 1-12 cover the period 1966-1972 and are presumed to be the files of Richard R. Fernandez. Folders are arranged in alphabetical sequence as found. Box 13 contains material on Deserters in Sweden and files of Peggy Scradnick, bother pertaining to the time frame of the preceding twelve boxes, and several mailing lists (1972-1974). Boxes 14-21 are arranged in rough chronological order (1971-1974) and are primarily the files of Trudi Schutz Young and Barbara Armentrout. Boxes 22-24 are arranged by topic (Corporate Responsibility, Amnesty, B-1 Campaign), with each section arranged to show the development of CALC's program in that area.

Series IV, Publications and Public Relations, brings together material from many cartons and includes publications of various types, records of the Literature Services Department, and of American Report, press releases, clippings, posters, and material relating to Help Unsell the War. Arrangement is by types of material and, in most cases, chronological. Office files of the Literature Services Department were found to be in alphabetical order and have been kept that way. The files relating to the newspaper, American Report, published from october 1970 to November 1974, were not in good order when found and some re-arrangement has been done to put the material in a logical order. The material relating to editorial work on the paper (staff memoranda, correspondence with authors, etc.) dates almost entirely from Robert S. Lecky's editorship (October 1970-November 1972).

A subject file of clippings, primarily from American Report, has been handled as follows. Because a complete set of American Report is available in the periodical collection of SCPC, it was decided to discard the clippings from that source after making and index to the articles. Material from other sources has been kept as a subject file and is arranged in alphabetical order.

Information about the casualty posters and issue posters put out regularly by CALC from 1969 to 1972 and about the Help Unsell the War campaign of 1971-1972 is filed in Series IV. The actual posters, advertisments, videorecordings, and sound recordings which were produced and distributed have been moved to appropriate storage in the oversize or audio-visual areas.

Series V, Files of Local CALC Groups, are arranged geographically, by state and city (in alphabetical order). These files were found in three separate sequences (1968-1971, 1971-1973, 1973-1975) but have been combined into one series. Within each city (or chapter), the arrangement is chronological.

Series VI, Photographs, is housed with SCPC's photograph collection.

Series VII,

Reference Material, contains two types of material: an alphabetical file on organizations and subjects (1965-1972) and a file of miscellaneous reference material (1968-1977). The file on organizations and subjects was found in two alphabetical sequences but has been combined into one sequence because the folder labels and the span dates indicated that the material belonged together. This file covers approximately the same time period as the correspondence file in Series II (Boxes 3-11) and the files of Richard R. Fernandez in Series III (boxes 1-12). Some folders contain a small amount of correspondence.

Box 8 of Series VII contains reference material on several topics which was found throughout the CALC collection and which could not be incorporated elsewhere.

Series VIII, Audio-visual material is arranged according to the type of material.

Later Accessions:

Acc. 86A-099
Acc. 97A-048

Detailed Description of the Collection

SERIES I: Administration
Box 1
Annual reports
Executive Committee, 1966-1970
Steering Committee, 1968-1972

Box 2
Steering Committee, 1973
Finance Committee, 1970-1973

Box 3
Program Committee, 1971
Personnel Committee, 1971-1973
Staff Meetings, 1971-1973

SERIES II: Correspondence
Box 1
Correspondence (1965-1969) and Statements (1966) from the files of John C. Bennett
Correspondence, 1966 (alpha arrangement)

Box 2
Office files and financial records, 1966

Box 3-11
Correspondence, 1967-1973
Primarily correspondence of Richard R. Fernandez. (chronological arrangement)

Box 12-15
Donor file, 1970-1974 (alpha arrangement)
SERIES III. Programs and Projects
Box 1-12
Files of Richard R. Fernandez, 1966-1972 (alpha arrangement)

Box 13
Deserters in Sweden, 1969-1972
Files of Peggy Scradnick, 1969-1970
Mailing Lists, 1972-1974

Box 14-15
Ann Arbor Conference, 1971
-"Vietnam and America: From Bondage to Liberation," a national organizing conference arranged by CALC

Box 16-21
Program and Field Development, 1971-1974
-Files of Trudi young, Barbara Armentrout, and others. (chronological arrangement)
NOTE: Folder listing for Boxes 1-21 available on following pages.

SERIES III. Programs and Projects
Files of Richard R. Fernandez, 1966-1972 (arranged in alphabetical order as found)

Box 1
ABM, North Dakota (April 1970)
AFSC, Peace Education Division List
ACLU, Case Against Military
Ad, New York Times (1966-1967)
Ad, B.E.M.
Ad, Vietnam Sunday (November 1968)
Ad, How Patient Must We Be (March 1970)
Ad, Christian Century (1969)
Ad, Will You Help... (1969)
Ad, Chicago Seven and B. Seale (March 1970)
Ad, Student Presidents and Editors
Advertising Information
Air Force Academy Teach-in (November 13, 1970)
Allenwood, Sherman's Trip (1968)
Allenwood, Workshop Report
Alperovitz, Gar (1971)
America is Hard to Find Weekend (March 1970)
Amnesty, Second Petition Mail
Amnesty, Signers
Amnesty, Senators
Amnesty, Visit to White House
Articles (1970)
Batson, Rob. Consultant
Bernstein, Dan. Memorial address given by Peter Weiss (September 1970)
Berrigan, Phil. Statement of Support (August 27, 1970)
Berrigan, Prisoner Strike for Peace Letter (October 1972)
Berrigan, Acts of Witness
Berrigan, Miscellaneous articles
Billboards (1970)
Black Manifesto, CALCAV statement
Bloom, Bill
Branfman, Fred. War is Peace on the Haiphong Blockade (May 1972)

Box 2
Cambodia Invasion (1970)
Cambodia Teach-in Newpaper
Cambridge Conference on the Future of CALC (August 1969)
Campaign to set the Date (February 1971)
Canada, Rich Kilmer
Canada Statement (May 1969)
Carter Case
Catholics' Trip to N. Vietnam (December 1972)
Celebration of Ron Young's Resistance (February 1970)
Chandler, Rich. Draft Resistor (1970)
Chemical/ Biological Warfare (1969)
Chicago 1968
China Trip, Fernandez (1971)
Citizens Conference to End the War in Indochina (March 1971)
Clinton Staff Conference (March 1970)
Comm. of Liaison with Families of Servicemen Detained in N. Vietnam 1970
Company A resisting orders. Cox's statement
Conference Calls, Cost
Congressional Action Fund (1972)
Congressional Addresses
Conscience and Conscription Statement (1967)
Conscription (1967)
Consultation on War Crimes and Religious Responsibility (1971)
Contact List (3 folders)

Box 3
Contact mailings (July-December 1970)
Contact mailings (January-June 1971)
Convention, Delegates (1968)
"Crisis of Conscience"
"Crisis of Conscience", Comments
Daily Death Toll Project
Deserters Articles
Deserters in Canada
Deserters, Christmas Gifts (1969-1970)
"Deserters in Exiles"
Deserters, Sweden
Deserters, Underground in U.S.
Draft (1967)

Box 4
East Pennsylvania CP List
Economy of Death, Manuscript
Economy of Death, Barnet's Book
Education/ Action Conference on U.S. Crimes of War in Vietnam
Emergency Ministry to Draft Age Imigrants in Canada
Emergency Religious Convocation on S.E. Asia (May 1970)
Emergency Witness in D.C. (May 16-18, 1972)
Emergency Witness in D.C. (May 1972) (clipping)
End-the-Killing, Memo and Correspondence (1971)
"End the War", FAST (1969)
Expo Island, Mothers Day 9 May 1970)
Fact Sheet, Sources
Fernandez, Dick
-Affidavit (1968)
-Biographical Sketch (New) (1971)
-Biographical Sketch (Old) (1967-1968)
-Proposal for Vietnam
--The Laws of War and Responsibility
-Laos articles from trip (April 1970)
-Laotian refugees Interview (April-June 1970)
-"The Air War in Indochina, some response" ( December 1971)
-Article on Ecumenical Witness Meeting in K.C. (January 1972)
-"Cease-Fire: Are You Kidding?" (June 1972)
-Draft of Church Investment Article (1972)
-"Ad Firms and the POW Issue" DRAFT
-Speech at Florida Presbytery on Foreign Policy
Film "All We are Saying" from MOBE (1969)
Flag Day, Rededication of Flag (June 14, 1970)
Fort Dix (1969)
Fort Hood Three (1966)

Box 5
Fund Raising
-Letter (1969-1970)
-Booklets (1968-1970)
-Business reply envelopes
-Thank you- samples (1969-1971)
-Financial Report (1969-1970)
-Replies (1969-1971)
-Fund raising Report 1968
-Mailing List Count (1968)
-Big Givers, Receipt Sent (1968)
-WRWR Fund Raiser (June 26, 1968)
-Lunch (July 9, 1968)
-Beverly Hills Fundie (1968)
-Reply, Fund raising returns (November, 1968)
-Who's right? Who's wrong? Fund raising (1968)
-Coffin Fundie (January 1969)
- KEYA (February 1969)
-Boston, N.Y. (1969)
-BEM Center (October 1969)
-Berrigans (1970)
-Big Donor, Letter (1970)
-Letter (1970)
-Winter Soldier Investigation (1970)
-Winter Soldier Invitation (1970)
-DPS Brochure (1970)
-Canada Deserter, Christmas Money Project (1970-1971)
-Coffin Signature, sample
-Postage, Rynander (1970-1971)
-Contributors (1968)
-Mailing Lists (1970)

Box 6
G.I.'s, Letters from (1969-1970)
G.I.'s, List of
G.I. Office (1970-1971)
G.I. Office Washington D.C. (1970)
Good Friday Fliers (March 1970)
Guidelines for Local Groups
Harvey, Will. and Daniels, Geo. (1969)
Hate Mail (1969)
Hate Mail (1970)
Hayes, Tom.
-Biographical Sketch
-Letters (April 1969)
-Letter and Memo (June 1969)
-Letters from Sweden (1969-1971)
-Newsletters from Sweden
-Letters about (1969)
-Letters to him in Sweden (1969-1970)
-Projects report (June 1969)
-Project Report, printed version (August 1969)
-Project Report, xeroxed version (August 1969)
-"The Least but not the Last" (poem)
-Dresden and My Lai
-Trip to Midwest (January 1970)
-Trip to South (February 1970)
-Warrants (1969)
Hurwood, David. "Plant" (June 1972)
Hurwood, David (1971-1972)

Box 7
In the Name of America
-Ads (1968)
-Commentary Signers
-Distributors of Fliers
-Permission for Material
-Refusals of Material
"In the Public Interest" (1970-1972)
-American Report Radio Program
Individual Responsibility and the Laws of War
Joint Strategy Action Comm., Proposal for Staff Development (1970)
King, Tribute to (April 4, 1967)
-Includes "Beyond Vietnam" speech
Koch, Ed. Congressional Record
-Piece on Deserters (1970)

Box 8
Laos/Cambodia articles (1970)
Lenten/Passover Fast (1970)
Lenten/Passover Fast Action permit (1970)
Lenten/ Passover Fast, Local Action (1970)
Literature List (Feb 1969)
Local Organizing Project (1969)
Maine Meeting (1969)
McGovern/Hatfield Amendment (1969-1970)
Military Industrial Complex (1969)
Military Justice by Finn, Correspondence (1969)
Mirsky, U.S. in Laos (manuscript) (1969)
-Minutes and Initiatory Meeting (Oct 1966)
-1967 (2 folders)
-McCarthy's Speech (1967)
-Participants (1968)
-Miscellaneous (1968)
-Receipts (1968)

Box 9
Mobilization (1969)
-Advance Registration
-CP (special) Mailings
-Congressional Visits
-Coupon Mailings
-Lecture/Discussion Leaders
-Position Papers
-Press D.C.
-Registration Packets
-Scouting Reports
-Senators' Mailing
-Send-out Materials
-Sermons and Speeches

Box 10
Montreal Trip Reports (1969)
NCC Kansas City Meeting (January 13-16, 1972)
NCC General Assembly at Dallas (December 1972)
National Black Referendum (1970)
National Fast (April 1968)
Next of Kin Project, Fernandez (no date)
Neuhaus, "Forgotten Victims" article about deserters (1969)
Neuhaus, "Prisoners and Politics"
New Approach
New Approach, copies
Nixon Quote, ad (oct. 1972)
Nixon Quote, buttons and press releases
Office Space (1969-1970)
Ohio Conference, Gulf Resolution
One World
POW articles (1970-1971)
Parents of Deserters
Parilla Pilgrimage (January 1970)
Paris Trip (October 1968)
Paris/Stockholm Trip (November 1968)
Patriotism Statement on (June 17, 1970)
Pastoral Letter (March 1970)
Peoples Bicentennial Commission
Peoples Peace Treaty (1971)
Peck, Sidney. Trial (February 1970)
Political Prisoners
Poster (March 1969)
Presidio (1969)
Presidio, Commentary

Box 11
Press Services (1968-1969)
Prison Visitation
Radio Spots
Recent Activities (March 1969)
Regional Conference (August 1969)
Regional Conference (September 1969)
Regional Conference (October 1969)
Regional Conference (North and South), Preparations
Regional Organizing Conferences (March-April 1970)
Redress of Grievances (1972)
Seitzman, Bea. Speech at Cambridge Conference (August 1969)
Senators Poll on U.N. (1969)
Set the Date Campaign (1971)
Signers for Teach-ins (march 1970)
Statement on Bombing of North Vietnam (November 1970)
Stationery/Steering Committee Listing (1969)
Stockade, Rules and Information
Stockholm Conference on Vietnam
Stockholm Ministry, applicants (1968)
Stockholm Ministry, project proposal (1969-1970)
Stockholm Report by Fernandez (December 1969)
Symposium on War Crimes, AFSC/CALCAV action (February 1970)

Box 12

Teach-ins on War in Indochina (May-June 1970)
Teach-ins (1970)
Television Contacts
Tennessee Repression, 1970
Thanksgiving Liturgy (1970)
Time Sheets
Titus Oates
United Churchmen for Change Proposal
United States Serviceman's Fund (1970-1972)
U.S. Study Team to Vietnam (1969)
Vietnam Dialogue Film (1968)
Vietnam Elections
Vitarelle, Greg. Deserter who Drowned (1969)
War Crimes
War Crimes Booklet, Prelim
War Crimes (U.S.) in Vietnam (1970)
Washington (June 1969)
Washington, June 1969. Two Days of Protest
Washington Action Committee (1969)
White House Demonstration, Clergy and POW relatives (December 20, 1971)
White Manifesto, Malcom Boyd
Windsor Consultation Reports- Killmer (1969)
Winning Hearts and Minds (VVAW)
Winter Soldier Investigation, Detroit (December 1970)
Wood, Henry. Letters from
World Conf. on Religion and Peace, Japan (oct. 1970)
Yatsuke, Prison Visits (1969)

Box 13
Files of Richard Fernandez re Deserters in Sweden
-Sweden, Information and Correspondence (1969-1971)
-Stockholm (1969-1972)
-Sweden, Correspondence with American Deserter Committee (1970-1972)
Files of Peggy Scradnick
(Secy. to Richard Fernandez) 1969-1970
-Creeden/Newsletter etc. (1970)
-Scradnick, Peggy. (1969-1970) (2 Folders)
-Computer to be
-Mailing Lists (1968-1969)
Mailing Lists 1972, 1974, n.d.
-additions to mailing list (1972)
-Van Voorhis, Richard
-Address Labels

Boxes 14-21, Files of Trudi Schutz Young and Barbara Armentrout, 1971, 1974 (arranged in rough chronological order)

Box 14
Ann Arbor Conference (1971)
-Letters, response to ad
-File copies of conf. letters, memos, etc.
-Key Conference Contacts
-Travel Team Reports
-Travel Team Reports- Eastern
-Travel Team Reports- Southern
-Travel Team Reports-Midwestern
-Travel Team Reports-Western
-Attended Travel Team Meetings

Box 15
Ann Arbor Conference (1971)
-Transcripts of Plenaries
-Mailings to Participants
-Priority Setting Agendas and Votes [2 folders]
-Votes for Campaign Proposals
-Protracted Campaigns
-Participant Survey
-Conference Questionnaire

Box 16
Correspondence (primarily files of Trudi Young) 1971-1972
-ACLU vs. US Army (1971)
-Bob Bonthius CATS
-Balfour Brickner (1971)
-Committee of Liaison
-Ross Flanagan (1971)
-Cynthia Fredrick
-Paul Kittlaus COMMIT (1971)
-Methodist Missionaries (1971)
-Richard Neuhaus
-Walter Wink (1971)
-War Resisters League
-Miscellaneous Inquiry
-Miscellaneous Correspondence

Field Development and Program (primarily files of Trudi Young) 1971-1973
-Program (1971)
-General field staff (1972)
-Field Staff, Memo (1972)
-Field Staff, applications (1971-1972)
-Field Staff, Temporary Coordinating Committee
-Field Development
-Field Development Committee (1972)
-Field Development Committee, Guidelines 91972)
-FDC, Correspondence (1972)
-Funding Requests (1972)
-Funding Requests for Field Staff (1972)
-Prospective CALC groups (1972)
-1973 Program for Regional Field Dev. (1972)

Box 17
Correspondence (Barbara Armentrout, Gerry O'Kane, Trudi Young) 1972
-General Correspondence 1972-1973 [2 folders]
-Response to Inquiries on CALC
-Rhode Island
-NUTSS Seminaries Network
Memoranda 1972
-CALC Contacts
-Occasional Memo and Correspondence (March-November 1972)
-CALC Organizing Manual
Meetings and Conferences
-Program Proposals
-Kansas City Meeting (January 13-16)
-Notes on Paper #2 from Denver/Louisville (January)
-Emergency Moratorium and Washington Convocation (April)
-Nationwide Moratorium (May 4)
-Emergency Witness
-Midwest Organizing Conference (May)
-William Coffin Speaking Tour (October - November)
William Coffin Conference Phone Call (November 9)

Box 18
Fund Raising 1972
-Fund Raising
-Fund Raising Department
-For the Victims, Money (1972-1973)
-For the Victims, (December 1972)
-The Laws of Money

Miscellaneous Topics 1972
-Peace Action Network, Cliff Kirkpatrick, Chmn.
-Peace Education Programs (1972-1973)
-Unity Reports (1972-1974)
-Info about Harvey Cox (1970-1972)
-Info about Stephen C. Rose

Box 19
Administration Correspondence (Primarily files of Trudi Young) 1973
-Office Meetings and Administration Minutes and Reports (1973)
-Budget (1973-1974)
-Correspondence. Young, Trudi (1973)
-Memoranda to Occasional Memo contacts (1973)
Field Staff, Program 1973
-Regional Field Staff (2 folders)
-Local CALC Chapters (February)
-Regional Field Staff Reports (December)
-Program Report (September)
-Washington D.C. Convocation (January 3-4)
-Associate Program Director applications
-All Lutheran Youth Gathering Houston (August)

Meetings and Conferences( Primarily Files of Trudi Young) 1973
-Program Evaluation Questionnaire (May)
-Indochina Peace Campaign Conference (October)
-IDCP meeting with Peggy Duff (November 5)

Projects and Topics 1973
-Agenda for Peace, by Rabbi Balfour Bickner (December)
-Christmas/Chanukah Project
-Corporate Information Center
-Evangelism Proposal (1973)
-Exiles (1973-1974)
-Impeachment (1973)
-Grand Jury Coalition
-SANE merger with CALC (1973-1974)
-Speakers Bureau
-Speaking Travel
-Volunteers (1973)

Box 20
Memos, Interoffice (1974)
Memos, Trudi Young (1974)
Memoranda to Occasional Memo contacts 1974
Correspondence 1974
Middle East (1974)
Siagon (1974)
Indochina info. from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1974)
Training Conference on Military Budget (May 1974)
Honey Knopp Itinerary (1974)
Address Lists
Current Program, Trudi Notes

Box 21
Air War (1972)
CCCO (1973-1974)
Coalition to Stop Funding the War (1973-1975)
EPF (1971-1972)
Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology (1971)
The International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace (1972)
LEPOCO (1973-1974)
Movement for Economic Justice (1973)
National Network of Vietnam Era Women
National Veterans Resource Project
South Africa Committee (1971-1972)
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (1972)
Material from other groups

Box 22-24
Corporate responsibility, 1967-1974. Files of Richard Fernandez, Trudi Young, and Barbara Armentrout. (Chronological/topical arrangement)

-Dow Protest, 1967-1969
-Religious institutions and corporate responsibility, 1970-1972
-Corporate responsibility (general), 1970-1972
-CALC Corporate Campaigns, 1970-1972
--Standard Oil
-Other corporate campaigns
-Information on corporate responsibility from other groups
See also: Series III, Boxes 27-34, B-1 Campaign (Boeing, GE, Rockwell)

Box 25-26
Amnesty, 1972-1975. Files of Trudi Young, Robert Bland, and others. (Topical arrangement)
Box 25
Primarily files of Trudi Young, 1972-1975
-CALC Amnesty Program
-Statements re Amnesty
-Amnesty Groups
--ACLU Project on Amnesty
--Americans for Amnesty
--Interreligious Task Force on Amnesty
--National Campus Alliance for Amnesty
--National Coalition for Universal and Unconditional Amnesty
--Veterans for Peace

Box 26
Primarily files of Robert Bland, 1974-1975
-CALC correspondence and reports
-Material as found [3 folders]
Literature on Amnesty
-General information, statements
-Miscellaneous material

Box 27-34
B-1 Campaign, 1973-1977. Files of Rick Boardman, Jamie Lewontin, Jeanne Kaylor, and others. "Stop the B-1 Bomber/National Peace Conversion Campaign" was cosponsored by CALC and AFSC. (topical arrangement)

Box 27
Minutes, National Staff, 1974-1976
Minutes, Interim Committee, 1974-1976
Newsletter, 1973-1976
Key Contact Mailings, 1973-1977
Mailings from other organizations, 1976-1977

Boxes 28-29
Material arranged roughly by date, 1973-1977
Includes correspondence, conferences, files on specific events and topics

Box 30
B-1 Campaign/Corporate Responsibility 1973-1977
-Files of Trudi Young, Barbara Armentrout, Rick Boardman, and Susan Murcott relating to Boeing, GE, and Rockwell.
-see also: Series III, Boxes 22-24

Box 31
"Tools" of the campaign (alpha arrangement)
-art, brochures, budget, leaflets, lists, literature, posters, slide show

Box 32
Clippings 1973-1977

Boxes 33-34
Reference material on various topics and organizations (alpha arrangement)

Box 35
Files of Diane Gabay, 1973-1975

SERIES IV. Publications and Public Relations
Box 1
An Occasional Memo and Newsletter, 1972-1975
Pamphlets and reprints, 1966-1974
Literature packets, 1969-1973

Box 2
Form letters and flyers, 1967-1980
-This material was received as "current material" by SCPC. Some printed items were moved to the previous box.

Boxes 3-5
Literature Services, 1969-1973
-Reports, correspondence, memoranda
-Office files, A-W
See also: Series III, Box 35, files of Diane Gabay who worked on literature services, 1973-1975

Box 6
Fact Sheets, 1969-1972
-Sources and Background Data

Boxes 7-8
Material from other organizations, 1965-1973, collected and/or distributed by Literature Services Dept.

American Report Files, 1970-1974
Boxes 9-13
Files of Robert S. Lecky, Richard Van Voohis, and others who worked on editing and distributing American Report

Box 9
CALC, 1970-1973
Staff memoranda, 1970-1972

Box 10
Reports and evaluations, 1970-1972
Staff, 1971-1972
Manuscripts and correspondence with authors, 1971-1973

Box 11
Letters to the editor, 1972-1973
Correspondence, 1970-1972

Box 12
Reprints/notices of material from American Reports, 1973
News Services, 1973
Ads, 1973-1974
Finances and Fund Raising, 1970-1976

Box 13
Subscriptions, 1970-1973
Promotion, 1971-1974

Box 14
American Report Radio, 1971-1972
American Report book publishing (proposal), 1972
Boxes 15-17
Files of Ron Henderson, Associate Editor, re Kent State Supplement to American Report, November 1971, and related material

Box 15
Correspondence, 1971-1974
Material used in supplement
Legal papers, 1971
Resource material, 1970-1974

Box 16
Clippings, 1970-1974
Kent State: Letters, 1970-1971, compiled by Peter Davies

Box 17
Kent State: Letters, 1971, compiled by Peter Davies
Boxes 18-22
American Report Readership Survey, 1973-1974
-Summary of responses and over 550 questionnaires

Boxes 23-27
American Report Subject Files (includes index to articles in American Report)

Box 23
Abortion-Council on Religion and International Affairs

Box 24
Counter Insurgency -- Japan and the United States

Box 25
Jews in the U.S.S.R.- Military, Resistance within

Box 26
Nambibia- Philippines (I)

Box 27
Philippines (II)- Yugoslavia

Box 28
Press releases, 1967-1971

Boxes 29-30
Newspaper Clippings, 1969-1972)

Box 31
Casualty and Issue Posters, March 1969-January 1973
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Reports 1971-1972
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Brochures, 1971-1972
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Packets for attendees of Interfaith Conference, 1972 (January)
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Files of Trudi Young, 1971
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Files of Trudi Young, 1972
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Correspondence re: use of material, 1971-1972
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Phoenix Peace Center, 1971
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Clippings, 1971-1972
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Disposition of material, 1974 [?]
Help Unsell the War Campaign: Layouts
Materialfrom refile box, programs and projects 1991 [May]

Boxes 32-37 [removed to Poster Collection]
CALC posters may be located through the SCPC poster database, contact staff for further information

SERIES V. Files of Local CALC Groups, 1968-1975
Box 1

Box 2
California, continued

Box 3
Colorado- Illinois

Box 4
Illinois, continued- Kentucky

Box 5
Kentucky, continued- Massachusetts

Box 6
Massachusetts, continued- Michigan

Box 7
Michigan, continued

Box 8

Box 9
Missouri- Nebraska

Box 10
New Jersey- New York

Box 11
New York, continued - Ohio

Box 12
Ohio, continued- Pennsylvania

Box 13
South Carolina- Virginia

Box 14
Washington- Wisconsin (includes Washington D.C.)

SERIES VI. Photographs
-All photographs found in the CALC collection are filed with other photographs in SCPC

SERIES VII. Reference Material
Boxes 1-7, Alphabetical file on organizations and subjects, 1965-1972

Box 1
Ad Hoc Committee for the Statement on Czechoslovakia and Vietnam- Committee for Nonviolent Action

Box 2
Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars- Draft Resistance Newsletter

Box 3
Ecology and Politics Newsletter- Law Center for Constitutional Rights

Box 4
Liberated Church Press- National Information Network on Latin America

Box 5
National Inter-religious Conference on Peace- Southern Student Organizing Committee

Box 6
Spark- Vocations for Social Change

Box 7
War Dead-- in Long Island- Young Lords

Box 8
Miscellaneous reference material, 1968-1977
-Energy/geothermal Energy
-Latin America
-Middle East

SERIES VII. Audio-Visual Material
These items are cataloged and stored with the other A-V materials. See SCPC AV database for additional information.
A. Motion Pictures
-"Help Unsell the War": 12 or 13 TV commercials on 16 mm. film. Cannister label: Public Media Center, San Francisco (1972?)

B. Video recordings
- 1.01, 1.07. Seven television commercials put out by Help Unsell the War. 20-60 seconds each. Some duplicates. (1971?)

C. Sound disc recordings
-Help Unsell the War/ American Report. Phonodisc 7 (1972) 2 Copies.
- American Report (Radio program) 1972.

D. Sound tape recordings (reels)
-43 reels including some duplicates. Phonodisc. 17.01-17.05
- Numbered as Tape 2.1- 2.43. (see separate list in collection folder)

E. Sound tape recordings (cassettes)
-4 cassettes, various topics

F. Digitalized files
- Help Unsell the War film [Flash drive (Multimedia Kit 007)
- Help Unsell the War film [SCPC Digital AV file collection)

Acc. no. 86A-099 (2 doc. boxes)
-Records of CALC, Metro Chicage Chapter, ca. 1968-1983 (not yet processed)

Acc No. 97A-048.
- Files of Tom Lee Hayes, American Draft Resisters in Sweden, 1960s.
Site Admin
Posts: 31737
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Beyond Vietnam, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Postby admin » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:16 am

William Sloane Coffin
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/19



William Sloane Coffin
Photo of The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924-2006), Senior Minister of The Riverside Church, New York, NY (1977-87).jpg
Coffin circa 1980
Church United Church of Christ
Other posts Riverside Church
Ordination Presbyterian church
Personal details
Birth name William Sloane Coffin Jr.
Born June 1, 1924
Died April 12, 2006 (aged 81)
Nationality American
Denomination Presbyterian, United Church of Christ
Spouse Eva Rubinstein,
Harriet Gibney,
Virginia Randolph Wilson
Education Yale College,
Union Theological Seminary
Alma mater Yale Divinity School

William Sloane Coffin Jr. (June 1, 1924 – April 12, 2006) was an American Christian clergyman and long-time peace activist. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church, and later received ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ. In his younger days he was an athlete, a talented pianist, a CIA officer, and later chaplain of Yale University, where the influence of Reinhold Niebuhr's social philosophy led him to become a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and peace movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He also was a member of the secret society Skull and Bones. He went on to serve as Senior Minister at the Riverside Church in New York City and President of SANE/Freeze (now Peace Action), the nation's largest peace and social justice group, and prominently opposed United States military interventions in conflicts, from the Vietnam War to the Iraq War. He was also an ardent supporter of gay rights.



William Sloane Coffin Jr. was born into the wealthy elite of New York City. His paternal great-grandfather William Sloane was a Scottish immigrant and co-owner of the very successful W. & J. Sloane Company. His uncle was Henry Sloane Coffin, president of Union Theological Seminary and one of the most famous ministers in the U.S. His father, William Sloane Coffin, Sr. was president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an executive in the family business.[1]

His mother, Catherine Butterfield, had grown up in the Midwest, and as a young woman spent time in France during World War I providing relief to soldiers, and met her future husband there, where he was also engaged in charitable activities. Their three children grew up fluent in French by being taught by their nanny, and attended private schools in New York.

William Sr.'s father, Edmund Coffin, was a prominent lawyer, real estate developer, and reformer who owned a property investment and management firm that renovated and rented low-income housing in New York. Upon Edmund's death in 1928, it went to his sons William and Henry, with William managing the firm. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, William allowed tenants to stay whether or not they could pay the rent, quickly draining his own funds, and at a time when the family's substantial W. & J. Sloane stock was not paying dividends.

William Sloane Coffin, Sr. died at home on his oldest son Edmund's eleventh birthday in 1933 from a heart attack he suffered returning from work. After this, his wife Catherine decided to move the family to Carmel, California, to make life more affordable, but was able to do this only with financial support from her brother-in-law Henry. After years spent in the most exclusive private schools in Manhattan, the three Coffin children were educated in Carmel's public schools, where William had his first sense that there was injustice—sometimes very great—in the world.

A talented musician, he became devoted to the piano and planned a career as a concert pianist. At the urging of his uncle Henry (who was still contributing to the family's finances), his mother enrolled him in Deerfield Academy in 1938.

The following year (when Edmund left for Yale University), William moved with his mother to Paris at the age of 15 to receive personal instruction in the piano and was taught by some of the best music teachers of the 20th century, including Nadia Boulanger. The Coffins moved to Geneva, Switzerland, when World War II came to France in 1940, and then back to the United States, where he enrolled in Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

Early adulthood

Having graduated from high school in 1942, William enrolled at Yale College and studied in the School of Music. While continuing his pursuit of the piano, he was also excited by the prospect of fighting to stop fascism and became very focused on joining the war effort. He applied to work as a spy with the Office of Strategic Services in 1943, but was turned down for not having sufficiently "Gallic features" to be effective. He then left school, enlisted in the Army, and was quickly tapped to become an officer. After training, he was assigned to work as liaison to the French and Russian armies in connection with the Army's military intelligence unit, and where he heard first-hand stories of life in Stalin's USSR.

After the war, Coffin returned to Yale, where he would later become President of the Yale Glee Club. Coffin had been a friend of George H. W. Bush since his youth, as they both attended Phillips Academy (1942). In Coffin's senior year, Bush brought Coffin into the exclusive Skull and Bones secret society at the university.

Upon graduating in 1949, Coffin entered the Union Theological Seminary, where he remained for a year, until the outbreak of the Korean War reignited his interest in fighting against communism. He joined the CIA as a case officer in 1950 (his brother-in-law Franklin Lindsay had been head of the Office of Policy Coordination at the OSS, one of the predecessors of the CIA) spending three years in West Germany recruiting anti-Soviet Russian refugees and training them how to undermine Stalin's regime.
[1] Coffin grew increasingly disillusioned with the role of the CIA and the United States due to events including the CIA's involvement in overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran in 1953, followed by the CIA's orchestration of the coup that removed President Jacobo Árbenz in Guatemala in 1954.

Ministry and political activism

After leaving the CIA, Coffin enrolled at Yale Divinity School and earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1956, the same year he was ordained a Presbyterian minister. This same year he married Eva Rubinstein, the daughter of pianist Arthur Rubinstein, and became chaplain at Williams College. Soon, he accepted the position as Chaplain of Yale University, where he remained from 1958 until 1975. Gifted with a rich bass-baritone voice, he was an active member of the Yale Russian Chorus during the late 1950s and 1960s.

With his CIA background, he was dismayed when he learned in 1964 of the history of French and American involvement in South Vietnam. He felt the United States should have honored the French agreement to hold a national referendum in Vietnam about unification. He was in early opposition to the Vietnam War and became famous for his anti-war activities and his civil rights activism. Along with others, he was a founder in the early 1960s of the Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam, organized to resist President Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war.[1]

Coffin had a prominent role in the Freedom Rides challenging segregation and the oppression of black people. As chaplain at Yale in the early 1960s, Coffin organized busloads of Freedom Riders to challenge segregation laws in the South. Through his efforts, hundreds of students at Yale University and elsewhere were recruited into civil rights and anti-war activity. He was jailed many times, but his first conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court.[1]

In 1962, he joined SANE: The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy,[2] an organization he would later lead.[3]

Approached by Sargent Shriver in 1961 to run the first training programs for the Peace Corps, Coffin took up the task and took a temporary leave from Yale, working to develop a rigorous training program modeled on Outward Bound and supervising the building of a training camp in Puerto Rico. He used his pulpit as a platform for like-minded crusaders, hosting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela, among others.
Fellow Yale graduate Garry Trudeau has immortalized Coffin (combined with Coffin's protege Rev. Scotty McLennan) as "the Rev. Scot Sloan" in the comic strip Doonesbury. During the Vietnam War years, Coffin and his friend Howard Zinn often spoke from the same anti-war platform. An inspiring speaker, Coffin was known for optimism and humor: "Remember, young people, even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat."[4]

By 1967, Coffin concentrated increasingly on preaching civil disobedience and supported the young men who turned in their draft cards. He was, however, uncomfortable with draft-card burning, worried that it looked "unnecessarily hostile".[5][6] Coffin was one of several persons who signed an open letter entitled "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority", which was printed in several newspapers in October 1967. In that same month, he also raised the possibility of declaring Battell Chapel at Yale a sanctuary for resisters, or possibly as the site of a large demonstration of civil disobedience. School administration barred the use of the church as a sanctuary. Coffin later wrote, "I accused them of behaving more like 'true Blues than true Christians'. They squirmed but weren't about to change their minds.... I realized I was licked."[7]

And so on January 5, 1968, Coffin, Dr. Benjamin Spock (the pediatrician and baby book author who was also a Phillips Academy alumnus), Marcus Raskin, and Mitchell Goodman (all signers of "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority" and members of the anti-war collective RESIST[8]) were indicted by a Federal grand jury for "conspiracy to counsel, aid and abet draft resistance". All but Raskin were convicted that June, but in 1970 an appeals court overturned the verdict. Coffin remained chaplain of Yale until December 1975.[1]

In 1977, he became senior minister at the Riverside Church—an interdenominational congregation affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and American Baptist Churches—and one of the most prominent congregations in New York City. He was a controversial, yet inspirational leader at Riverside. He openly and vocally supported gay rights when many liberals still were uncomfortable with homosexuality. Some of the congregation's socially conservative members openly disagreed with his position on sexuality.[1]

Nuclear disarmament

Coffin started a strong nuclear disarmament program at Riverside, and hired Cora Weiss (a secular Jew he had worked with during the Vietnam War and had traveled with to North Vietnam in 1972 to accompany three released U.S. prisoners of war), an action which was uncomfortable for some parishioners. Broadening his reach to an international audience, he met with numerous world leaders and traveled abroad. His visits included going to Iran to perform Christmas services for hostages being held in the U.S. embassy during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979 and to Nicaragua to protest U.S. military intervention there.

In 1987, he resigned from Riverside Church to pursue disarmament activism full-time, saying then that there was no issue more important for a man of faith. He became president of SANE/FREEZE[9] (now Peace Action), the largest peace and justice organization in the United States. He retired with the title president emeritus in the early 1990s, and then taught and lectured across the United States and overseas. Coffin also wrote several books. He cautioned that we are all living in "the shadow of Doomsday", and urged that people turn away from isolationism and become more globally aware. Shortly before his death, Coffin founded Faithful Security, a coalition for people of faith committed to working for a world free of nuclear weapons.[1]

Personal life

Coffin was married three times. His first two marriages, to Eva Rubinstein and Harriet Gibney, ended in divorce. He was survived by his third wife, Virginia Randolph Wilson (called "Randy").[10] Eva Rubinstein, his first wife and the mother of his children, was a daughter of pianist Arthur Rubinstein. The loss of their son Alexander in a car accident in 1983 inspired one of Coffin's most requested sermons.

He was given only six months to live in early 2004 due to a weakened heart. Coffin and his wife lived in the small town of Strafford, Vermont, a few houses away from his brother Ned, until his death nearly two years later at age 81.

Military awards

• American Campaign Medal
• European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
• World War II Victory Medal
• Army of Occupation Medal with "Germany" clasp


By Coffin

• Letters to a Young Doubter, Westminster John Knox Press, July 2005, ISBN 0-664-22929-8
• Credo, Westminster John Knox Press, December 2003, ISBN 0-664-22707-4
• The Heart Is a Little to the Left: Essays on Public Morality, Dartmouth College, 1st edition, October 1999, ISBN 0-87451-958-6
• The Courage to Love, sermons, Harper & Row, 1982, ISBN 0-06-061508-7
• Once to Every Man: A Memoir, autobiography, Athenaeum Press, 1977, ISBN 0-689-10811-7

About Coffin

• William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience, by Warren Goldstein, Yale University Press, March 2004, ISBN 0-300-10221-6
• The Trial of Dr. Spock, William Sloane Coffin, Michael Ferber, Mitchell Goodman, and Marcus Raskin, by Jessica Mitford, New York, Knopf, 1969 ISBN 0-394-44952-5

See also

• List of peace activists


1. Goldstein, Warren. William Sloane Coffin Jr.: A Holy Impatience (2005).
2. "Service for William Sloane Coffin to be Held at Yale". Yale News. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
3. Charney, Marc D. (2006-04-13). "Rev. William Sloane Coffin Dies at 81; Fought for Civil Rights and Against a War". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
4. Rick Perlstein (2015). The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. Simon and Schuster. p. 131.
5. “Interview with William Sloane Coffin, 1982.”, August 30, 1982. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
6. Foley, M.S. (2003). Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance During the Vietnam War. University of North Carolina Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-8078-5436-5.
7. Geoffrey Kabaservice (2005). The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment. Henry Holt. p. 320.
8. Barsky, Robert F. Noam Chomsky: a life of dissent (M.I.T. Press, 1998) online Archived 2013-01-16 at the Wayback Machine
9. SANE: The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy merged with the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign in 1987 and was renamed SANE/FREEZE; it was renamed Peace Action in 1993.
10. Schudel, Matt; Bernstein, Adam (April 16, 2006). "The Rev. William Sloane Coffin made his mark as activist, rebel". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2017-02-12.


• Once to Every Man: A Memoir (1977)
• William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience (2004)
• Passion for the Possible: A Message to U.S. Churches

External links

• Interview from 1982 with William Sloane Coffin on Vietnam and the Anti-War movement WGBH Educational Foundation
• A Politically Engaged Spirituality Video and transcript of Coffin's April 2005 speech at Yale Divinity School
• Interview with William Sloane Coffin from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, August 2004
• William Sloane Coffin: A Lover's Quarrel With America Video interview from Old Dog Documentaries
• William Sloane Coffin - Not to Bring Peace, But a Sword Sermon and interview.
• A film clip "The Open Mind - A Man for All Seasons (1986)" is available at the Internet Archive
• Profile of Coffin from Yale Alumni Magazine, March 2004
• Personal papers archive at Yale University
• Selected writings (PDF)
• Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze, the merger of SANE and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign)
• Faithful Security This is the complete digital collection of William Sloane Coffin's sermons preached from the pulpit of New York City's Riverside Church 1977–1987.
• Speech "Who Is the Enemy?" delivered April 8, 1983 at a symposium in Kansas City.


• Obituary from the New York Times
• Obituary from the Los Angeles Times
• Obituary from The Guardian
• Obituary from the Associated Press
• Remembrance from the United Church of Christ (article and video)
• Remembrance from The Nation
• Remembrance by William F. Buckley Jr. in the Yale Daily News
• The Legacy of William Sloane Coffin by Rev. Scotty McLennan
• Tribute of Yale Class of 1968 to its "Permanent Chaplain "
• Obituary on
• Photo gallery of Coffin from The Washington Post
Site Admin
Posts: 31737
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Beyond Vietnam, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Postby admin » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:15 am

Abraham Joshua Heschel
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/19



Abraham Joshua Heschel
Heschel in 1964
Born January 11, 1907
Warsaw, Poland
Died December 23, 1972 (aged 65)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Religion Judaism
Spouse Sylvia Straus (m. 1946)
Children Susannah
Denomination Orthodox, Conservative
Alma mater
University of Berlin
Higher Institute for Jewish Studies
Profession Theologian, philosopher
Jewish leader
Profession Theologian, philosopher

Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. Heschel, a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, authored a number of widely read books on Jewish philosophy and was active in the civil rights movement.[1][2]


Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in 1907 as the youngest of six children of Moshe Mordechai and Reizel Perlow. He was descended from preeminent European rabbis on both sides of his family.[3] His paternal great-great-grandfather and namesake was Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt in present-day Poland. His mother was also a descendant of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel and other Hasidic dynasties. His siblings were Sarah, Dvora Miriam, Esther Sima, Gittel, and Jacob. Their father Moshe died of influenza in 1916 when Abraham was nine.

After a traditional yeshiva education and studying for Orthodox rabbinical ordination semicha, Heschel pursued his doctorate at the University of Berlin and a liberal rabbinic ordination at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums. There he studied under some of the finest Jewish educators of the time: Chanoch Albeck, Ismar Elbogen, Julius Guttmann, and Leo Baeck. His mentor in Berlin was David Koigen.[4] Heschel later taught Talmud at the Hochschule. He joined a Yiddish poetry group, Jung Vilna, and in 1933, published a volume of Yiddish poems, Der Shem Hamefoyrosh: Mentsch, dedicated to his father.[3]

In late October 1938, when Heschel was living in a rented room in the home of a Jewish family in Frankfurt, he was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Poland. He spent ten months lecturing on Jewish philosophy and Torah at Warsaw's Institute for Jewish Studies.[3] Six weeks before the German invasion of Poland, Heschel left Warsaw for London with the help of Julian Morgenstern, president of Hebrew Union College, who had been working to obtain visas for Jewish scholars in Europe.[3]

Heschel's sister Esther was killed in a German bombing. His mother was murdered by the Nazis, and two other sisters, Gittel and Devorah, died in Nazi concentration camps. He never returned to Germany, Austria or Poland. He once wrote, "If I should go to Poland or Germany, every stone, every tree would remind me of contempt, hatred, murder, of children killed, of mothers burned alive, of human beings asphyxiated."[3]

Heschel arrived in New York City in March 1940.[3] He served on the faculty of Hebrew Union College (HUC), the main seminary of Reform Judaism, in Cincinnati for five years. In 1946, he took a position at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in New York City, the main seminary of Conservative Judaism. He served as professor of Jewish ethics and Mysticism until his death in 1972.

Marriage and family

Heschel married Sylvia Straus, a concert pianist, on December 10, 1946, in Los Angeles. Their daughter, Susannah Heschel, became a Jewish scholar in her own right.[5] Heschel's papers are held in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.[6]


Heschel (2nd from right) in the Selma Civil Rights march with Martin Luther King, Jr. (4th from right). Heschel later wrote, "When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying."

Heschel explicated many facets of Jewish thought, including studies on medieval Jewish philosophy, Kabbalah, and Hasidic philosophy. According to some scholars[who?], he was more interested in spirituality than in critical text study; the latter was a specialty of many scholars at JTS. He was not given a graduate assistant for many years and was relegated to teach mainly in the education school or Rabbinical school, not in the academic graduate program. Heschel became friendly with his colleague Mordecai Kaplan. Though they differed in their approach to Judaism, they had a very cordial relationship and visited each other's homes from time to time.

Heschel believed the teachings of the Hebrew prophets were a clarion call for social action in the United States and worked for African Americans' civil rights and against the Vietnam War.[7]

He also specifically criticized what he called "pan-halakhism", or an exclusive focus upon religiously compatible behavior to the neglect of the non-legalistic dimension of rabbinic tradition.[citation needed]

Influence outside Judaism

Heschel, left, presenting the Judaism and World Peace Award to Martin Luther King Jr., December 7, 1965

Heschel is a widely read Jewish theologian whose most influential works include Man Is Not Alone, God in Search of Man, The Sabbath, and The Prophets. At the Vatican Council II, as representative of American Jews, Heschel persuaded the Catholic Church to eliminate or modify passages in its liturgy that demeaned the Jews, or referred to an expected conversion to Christianity. His theological works argued that religious experience is a fundamentally human impulse, not just a Jewish one. He believed that no religious community could claim a monopoly on religious truth.[8]

Published works

The Sabbath (1951)

The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man is a work on the nature and celebration of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. This work is rooted in the thesis that Judaism is a religion of time, not space, and that the Sabbath symbolizes the sanctification of time.

Man Is Not Alone (1951)

Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion offers Heschel's views on how people can comprehend God. Judaism views God as being radically different from humans, so Heschel explores the ways that Judaism teaches that a person may have an encounter with the ineffable. A recurring theme in this work is the radical amazement that people feel when experiencing the presence of the Divine. Heschel then goes on to explore the problems of doubts and faith; what Judaism means by teaching that God is one; the essence of humanity and the problem of human needs; the definition of religion in general and of Judaism in particular; and human yearning for spirituality. He offers his views as to Judaism being a pattern for life.

God in Search of Man (1955)

God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism is a companion volume to Man Is Not Alone. In this book Heschel discusses the nature of religious thought, how thought becomes faith, and how faith creates responses in the believer. He discusses ways that people can seek God's presence, and the radical amazement that we receive in return. He offers a criticism of nature worship; a study of humanity's metaphysical loneliness, and his view that we can consider God to be in search of humanity. The first section concludes with a study of Jews as a chosen people. Section two deals with the idea of revelation, and what it means for one to be a prophet. This section gives us his idea of revelation as an event, as opposed to a process. This relates to Israel's commitment to God. Section three discusses his views of how a Jew should understand the nature of Judaism as a religion. He discusses and rejects the idea that mere faith (without law) alone is enough, but then cautions against rabbis he sees as adding too many restrictions to Jewish law. He discusses the need to correlate ritual observance with spirituality and love, the importance of Kavanah (intention) when performing mitzvot. He engages in a discussion of religious behaviorism—when people strive for external compliance with the law, yet disregard the importance of inner devotion.

The Prophets (1962)

This work started out as his PhD thesis in German, which he later expanded and translated into English. Originally published in a two-volume edition, this work studies the books of the Hebrew prophets. It covers their lives and the historical context that their missions were set in, summarizes their work, and discusses their psychological state. In it Heschel puts forward what would become a central idea in his theology: that the prophetic (and, ultimately, Jewish) view of God is best understood not as anthropomorphic (that God takes human form) but rather as anthropopathic—that God has human feelings.

In his book The Prophets, Abraham Joshua Heschel describes the unique aspect of the Jewish prophets as compared to other similar figures. Whereas other nations have soothsayers and diviners who attempt to discover the will of their gods, according to Heschel the Hebrew prophets are characterized by their experience of what he calls theotropism—God turning towards humanity. Heschel argues for the view of Hebrew prophets as receivers of the "Divine Pathos", of the wrath and sorrow of God over his nation that has forsaken him. In this view, prophets do not speak for God so much as they remind their audience of God's voice for the voiceless, the poor and oppressed.

He writes:

Prophecy is the voice that God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor, to the profane riches of the world. It is a form of living, a crossing point of God and man. God is raging in the prophet's words.[9]

Torah min HaShamayim (1962)

Many consider Heschel's Torah min HaShamayim BeAspaklariya shel HaDorot, (Torah from Heaven in the mirror of the generations) to be his masterwork. The three volumes of this work are a study of classical rabbinic theology and aggadah, as opposed to halakha (Jewish law.) It explores the views of the rabbis in the Mishnah, Talmud and Midrash about the nature of Torah, the revelation of God to mankind, prophecy, and the ways that Jews have used scriptural exegesis to expand and understand these core Jewish texts. In this work, Heschel views the 2nd century sages Rabbi Akiva and Ishmael ben Elisha as paradigms for the two dominant world-views in Jewish theology

Two Hebrew volumes were published during his lifetime by Soncino Press, and the third Hebrew volume was published posthumously by JTS Press in the 1990s. An English translation of all three volumes, with notes, essays and appendices, was translated and edited by Rabbi Gordon Tucker, entitled Heavenly Torah: As Refracted Through the Generations. In its own right it can be the subject of intense study and analysis, and provides insight into the relationship between God and Man beyond the world of Judaism and for all Monotheism.

Prophetic Inspiration After the Prophets (1966)

Heschel wrote a series of articles, originally in Hebrew, on the existence of prophecy in Judaism after the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. These essays were translated into English and published as Prophetic Inspiration After the Prophets: Maimonides and Others by the American Judaica publisher Ktav.

The publisher of this book states, "The standard Jewish view is that prophecy ended with the ancient prophets, somewhere early in the Second Temple era. Heschel demonstrated that this view is not altogether accurate. Belief in the possibility of continued prophetic inspiration, and in its actual occurrence appear throughout much of the medieval period, and even in modern times. Heschel's work on prophetic inspiration in the Middle Ages originally appeared in two long Hebrew articles. In them he concentrated on the idea that prophetic inspiration was possible even in post-Talmudic times, and, indeed, had taken place at various times and in various schools, from the Geonim to Maimonides and beyond."


The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in Manhattan

Four schools have been named for Heschel, in the Upper West Side of New York City, Northridge, California, Agoura Hills, California, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2009, a highway in Missouri was named "Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel Highway" after a Springfield, Missouri area Neo-Nazi group cleaned the stretch of highway as part of an "Adopt-A-Highway" plan. Heschel's daughter, Susannah, has objected to the adoption of her father's name in this context.[10]

Selected bibliography

• The Earth Is the Lord's: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe. 1949. ISBN 1-879045-42-7
• Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion. 1951. ISBN 0-374-51328-7
• The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man. 1951. ISBN 1-59030-082-3
• Man's Quest for God: Studies in Prayer and Symbolism. 1954. ISBN 0-684-16829-4
• God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism. 1955. ISBN 0-374-51331-7
• The Prophets. 1962. ISBN 0-06-093699-1
• Who Is Man? 1965. ISBN 0-8047-0266-7
• Israel: An Echo of Eternity. 1969. ISBN 1-879045-70-2
• A Passion for Truth. 1973. ISBN 1-879045-41-9
• Heavenly Torah: As Refracted Through the Generations. 2005. ISBN 0-8264-0802-8
• Torah min ha-shamayim be'aspaklariya shel ha-dorot; Theology of Ancient Judaism. [Hebrew]. 2 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1962. Third volume, New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1995.
• The Ineffable Name of God: Man: Poems. 2004. ISBN 0-8264-1632-2
• Kotsk: in gerangl far emesdikeyt. [Yiddish]. 2 v. (694 p.) Tel-Aviv: ha-Menorah, 1973. Added t.p.: Kotzk: the struggle for integrity (A Hebrew translation of vol. 1, Jerusalem: Magid, 2015).
• Der mizrekh-Eyropeyisher Yid (Yiddish: The Eastern European Jew). 45 p. Originally published: New-York: Shoken, 1946.
• Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Witness & Spiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940–1972, biography by Edward K. Kaplan ISBN 0-300-11540-7
• "The Encyclopedia of Hasidism" edited by Rabinowicz, Tzvi M.: ISBN 1-56821-123-6 Jason Aronson, Inc., 1996.


1. "The Legacy of Abraham Joshua Heschel." Tikkun. Accessed May 25, 2014.
2. "A Rabbi of His Time, With a Charisma That Transcends It." The New York Times. Accessed May 25, 2014.
3. Abraham Joshua Heschel Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
4. Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Witness, Edward Kaplan
5. Interview with Susannah Heschel Archived May 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
6. Duke to Acquire Papers of Rabbi Heschel, Influential Religious Leader, Duke University, August 2012
7. Dreier, Peter (January 17, 2015). "'Selma's' Missing Rabbi". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
8. Gillman, Neil (1993). Conservative Judaism: The New Century. Behrman House Inc. p. 163.
9. The Prophets Ch. 1
10. Cooper, Michael (June 23, 2009). "Daughter Against Use of Father's Name to Subvert Neo-Nazis". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2010.

Further reading

• Kaplan, Edward K.; Samuel H. Dresner (1998). Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Witness. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-07186-3.
• Kaplan, Edward K. (2007). Spiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940–1972. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-13769-9.

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Data from Wikidata
• Guide to the Abraham Joshua Heschel Papers, Rubenstein Library, Duke University.
• Heschel's role in Vatican II and his advocacy of interreligious respect
• Alan Brill Review of Heavenly Torah
• Arnold Jacob Wolf Review of Heavenly Torah
• David Blumenthal review of Heavenly Torah
• About Rabbi A. J. Heschel The Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership
Site Admin
Posts: 31737
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Return to Peace Initiatives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest