Martin Luther King Jr. led marches and gave talks and sermons across the country, his most famous coming at the Lincoln Memorial, where he gave his "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963. As he worked to fight poverty in the late 60s, he also made a number of memorable appearances on television.
In 1967, King sat down for an interview on "The Mike Douglas Show," speaking about his opposition to the Vietnam War, his stance that African Americans should not fight in the war and his belief that the unjust war distracted from domestic social programs.
"I don't think [African Americans'] loyalty to the country should be measured by our ability to kill. I think our loyalties to the country should be measured by our ability to lead the nation to higher heights of democracy and the great dream of justice and humanity," he told Douglas. He then advocated pulling out of the war.
The next year, King received an opportunity to reach out to his largest audience yet: viewers of "The Tonight Show."
In February 1968, Harry Belafonte guest-hosted the late night talk show for an absent Johnny Carson, and invited his friend King on as a guest. A press release put out by King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the week prior to the show read in part, "Dr. King, who is presently involved in SCLC's massive nationwide mobilization for the Poor People's Campaign in Washington this spring, welcomes this chance to be able to speak directly to a large number of Americans about the future of the civil rights movement and the plight of poor people in America."
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