Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
On the Distribution of World Wealth and American Global Priorities
Some months ago Mrs. King and I ventured over to that great country known as India.
I'll never forget the experience of meeting with the great leaders of India, and meeting people from all over the country. A noble and marvelous experience. But I'll tell you now there were those depressing moments.
For how can one avoid being depressed when he sees with his own eyes millions of people sleeping on the sidewalks? In Calcutta more than a million people sleep on the sidewalks every night. They have no homes to go in,they have no beds to sleep in.
How can one avoid being depressed when he discovers that out of India's population of four-hundred million people, more than three-hundred sixty-five million make an annual income of less than thirty dollars a year? And most of these people have never even seen a doctor or a dentist.
When I noticed these conditions something within me cried out: Can we in America stand idly by and not be concerned? And an answer came: No. For the destiny of India and the destiny of every other nation is tied up with the destiny of the United States. And the destiny of the United States is tied up with the destiny of India.
And I started thinking about the fact that here in the United States we spend more than a million dollars a day to store surplus food and I started thinking: I know where we can store that food, free of charge: in the wrinkled stomachs of the hundreds of millions of people who go to bed hungry each night.
And I think we've spent far too much of our money in the United States establishing military bases around the world rather than bases of genuine concern and understanding.(From a speech about the "American Dream," 1965)