Interview with Coretta Scott King
QUESTION 13
JACKIE SHEARER:

Let's pick up with that phone conversation--



JACKIE SHEARER:

So, if we could begin with "they talked for an hour--"

CORETTA SCOTT KING:

They talked for an hour and I heard him rehearsing the history of the Vietnam conflict, starting back in the '40s and going on up to the present time. And I could tell that Whitney was saying "Well, Martin, you understand this. You know that history. I didn't know that. I didn't know that." And of course Martin felt very relieved after he had done it. And I heard him saying, you know, as he was talking for a long time. "I encouraged my wife to take a position against the war but the time has come when I can no longer be silent because silence is betrayal. And I was the happiest person in the world when I could come out and take a position on, against that evil and unjust war." And of course, ah, after that, ah, conversation, at least I think Martin, you know, got out of his system, you know, his disappointment and his hurt. The fact is that nothing changed in terms of the reality of the reaction against him. Ah, it was a very, very agonizing experience, ah, because he knew that he was right on this issue. Ah, and of course history has borne him out on that, ah, and I think it was the timing was right. It was, ah, something that took a lot of courage, ah, to do. Ah, but I think that the fact that he took that position, ah, put him in, ah, put him in, I think, in, into a, a relationship in history, I believe, that, ah, you know, that few people stand in because there are times in your life when you, when you have to make those difficult decisions which can cost you the ultimate sacrifice. And I think that, ah, that position, as well as his, ah, his continuing efforts, ah, with the Poor People's Campaign, ah, combined, really, ah, was the beginning of the, the, ah, so-called, end of his, his life. You have to pay the ultimate sacrifice if you stand up for what you really believe in. But I think there's something greater than that that you don't try to save your life because, I think, history was moved forward as a result of the position that he took.