New York City
In early 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. informed his advisors that he intended to play a major role in the anti-war movement, advocating immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam. No major figure of Dr. King’s stature had yet been willing to take such a dramatic stand, even those thought to oppose the war, such as Senators Kennedy and McGovern. King knew he would be turning past allies like President Johnson into powerful enemies and reviving the animus of old enemies as well. King’s inner circle feared he would trigger a political backlash that could undo the progress made in civil rights. The play draws upon the historical record, including the FBI’s relentless surveillance, often illegal, and the White House’s infamous secret telephone recordings. Michael Roland Murphy’s The Conscientious Objector is a troubling story of dissent in America during a time of war.
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