William C. Young II
February 15, 2012
A Plea to a Nation
A Plea to a Nation
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister and a civil rights activist during the 1950’s through the 1960’s. On April 4, 1967, he delivered a very moving speech at Riverside Church in New York City. This speech later became known as “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” This speech was given in front of more than three thousand people, including clergy and laity. During this time, the Vietnam War was in full swing with over 400,000 troops deployed. The United States public was polarized with supporters of the war and those who wanted peace. Up until then Dr. King had not spoken publicly about his disapproval over the United States involvement in Vietnam. King knew that newspaper and media coverage would be greatly broadcast. This speech was an attempt to get the general public to oppose the war in Vietnam by using Ethos, Glittering Generalities, Pathos, Logos, and Band Wagon propaganda techniques.
On an early spring evening, over three thousand clergy, prominent public figures, and church members attended a speech given by Dr. King. Some of those in attendance were; Dr. John Bennett, Dr. Henry Steele Commager, and Rabbi Abraham Herschel. Also in attendance were members of an organization named, “Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam.” These attendees carried similar beliefs regarding the United States involvement in Vietnam. Dr. King’s audience was not limited to the Church. Because of media presence, millions of people around the world were able to receive his passionate speech.
Dr. King’s has three main purposes for this speech. The first was to condemn the Vietnam War. Throughout the speech, he uses several examples to clarify his beliefs and the beliefs of other. Secondly to discuss the effects it has had on the impoverished American and Vietnamese public. Dr. King gives several examples of damage to morale, total...