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John Portlock: “The First Lady of Non-Violence: Coretta Scott King and the Ending of War”

By June 7, 2020 June 26th, 2020 No Comments

Three years ago numerous articles appeared commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s public denunciation of the Vietnam War. Writers lauded King’s decision to speak out despite the risks. What few recognized was the indispensable role Coretta Scott King played in her husband’s dissent. Given Mrs. King’s prolific peace activism, it was a glaring omission, one that continued to leave shrouded Mrs. King’s activism, women’s roles generally inside the civil rights movement, and the crucial interplay between the antiwar and civil rights movements.

Prof. John Portlock is an instructor in American history at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester (NY) in 2019. His dissertation, entitled “Before Riverside: Black Antiwar Activism, 1917-1967,” chronicles the African-American struggle to end war, from World War I to Vietnam.


Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest.  Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day.  While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public.  Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.

To view previous Sunday Platform addresses and interviews, visit the Ethical NYC YouTube channel.

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