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New Book Examines MLK's 'Beyond Vietnam' Speech


San Francisco pastor and author Joanna Shenk will speak in Wichita on Wednesday about the work of historian and scholar Vincent Harding.

Harding wrote "Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence," a controversial speech that was delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1967, in a New York church. King was killed one year later.

Shenk interviewed Harding for her book, "The Movement Makes Us Human." She says King's death weighed heavily on Harding's conscience.

Shenk says the best way people can honor King is by doing something.

"Especially since the poor people's campaign was the last effort that King was organizing before he was assassinated," she says. "Now, it's being reignited 50 years later. I think it's all the more reason for people to seriously consider how they might be able to support that effort."

Harding, a Chicago Mennonite pastor, traveled to King's home in Alabama in 1958. King encouraged him to join the movement.

After King's death, his widow Coretta requested Harding head up what is now the King Center in Atlanta. Harding died in 2014.

Shenk's talk begins at 6:30 at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. The event is hosted by the Greater Wichita Ministerial League. Also to mark the 50th anniversary of King's death, several Wichita groups are hosting "Peace, Love and Dr. King," featuring spoken word, music and a call to action. That event is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at McAdams Recreation Center. 


Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

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