Jewish Journal


January 20, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s 1965 sermon at Temple Israel of Hollywood


It was a Friday night Shabbat service at Temple Israel of Hollywood that would be forgotten for years.

Rabbi Max Nussbaum z"l invited the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to give a sermon

Someone taped it, and the tape was unknown until last year; as soon as I heard it, I knew it needed to be available online.

L.A. Observed’s Kevin Roderick came up with a bit more of the zeitgeist:

King was 36 years old at the time. Selma was heating up that month, and Malcolm X had just been killed in New York, so King arrived in Los Angeles under heavy guard. It was his first trip west since winning the Nobel Peace Prize. King dined with prominent Westsiders at the Beverly Hills home of Dr. Irving Lichtenstein and attended a screening of The Greatest Story Ever Told at the Cinerama Dome (now the Arclight.) The theater crawled with police because of death threats and the seizure of stolen dynamite connected to a racist group. King also spoke at the World Affairs Council at the Hollywood Palladium. The Times reported that an “overflow crowd” of 1,500 at the temple gave King a warm welcome. That Sunday he returned to Selma.

It’s worth listening to again:

Part I, 27 min., MP3, 3.1MB
Part II, 14 min., MP3, 1.6MB

As Rob Eshman asked after hearing the sermon, who is today’s moral leader?

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