On May 17, 1967, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke from the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California’s Berkeley campus, before a massive crowd of 7,000 students.
The NAACP had recently released a statement calling King’s growing criticism of the US war in Vietnam a “serious tactical mistake.”
King was unwavering. He told the crowd gathered in Sproul Plaza that the US war was “a mad adventure … a tragic, unjust and evil war.”
King’s voice thundered:
“It costs $500,000 to kill every enemy soldier while we spend only $53 a year for every poor person. We seem more concerned with winning an unwinnable war in Vietnam than in winning the war against poverty right here at home.”
Those words continue to echo 55 years later.