CBC correspondent Eleanor Fischer interviewed Martin Luther King Jr. in 1961, 1966, and 1967. Now WNYC has made available for the first time the unedited recordings of these interviews. Here is a passage from the final interview, from February 1967. If you know King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” (April 4, 1967), you’ll recognize some of its language here:
I think our country, which, I must say, is the richest, most powerful country in the world, has at points become enamored of its power. I think we do suffer from a kind of pride of power, an arrogance of power that can bring the curtain down on the whole of American civilization. We are arrogant in our assertion that we have everything to teach other nations and nothing to learn from them. We are arrogant in our feeling that we have some divine, messianic mission to police the whole world. And I think we are arrogant in our failure to move progressively and forthrightly toward bridging the gulf between the haves and the have-nots of the world. . . . I do feel that we are on the wrong side of a world revolution. I feel that because we have too often identified ourselves with the wealthy and secure and we have ignored the poor and the insecure.King goes on to warn that if the United States kept to its current course, it would find itself in more Vietnams — in Latin America, Africa, and “many other Asian countries.” Forty-five years later, as we see the wreckage that neo-conservative foreign policy hath wrought, these words sound painfully prophetic.