Martin Luther King strongly opposed nuclear weapons — and publicly since 1957

Martin Luther King, Jr., understood the connections among a variety of issues and how they intersected with race, economics, peace, and so forth.

He publicly stated his opposition to nuclear weapons many times.  He wrote this in an Ebony Magazine article way back in 1957:  “I definitely feel that the development and use of nuclear weapons of war should be banned. It cannot be disputed that a full scale nuclear war would be utterly catastrophic. Hundreds and millions of people would be killed outright by the blast and heat, and by the ionizing radiation produced at the instant of the explosion.”


I have several collections of MLK’s quotations, including many that explicitly oppose nuclear weapons.  Here are just a very few of many:

“Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race which no one can win to a positive contest to harness man’s creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all of the nations of the world.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We must shift the arms race into a ‘peace race’.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Many other prominent African American organizers for racial and social justice also opposed nuclear weapons, but history has largely ignored them.  I’m glad Vincent J. Intondi wrote his book about this — African Americans Against the Bomb a few years ago.  See information about this subject here:


Also, Vincent Intondi wrote this article, which was published on January 9, 2019:

Nuclear Weapons and the Legacy of Dr. King

Dr. King believed that nuclear disarmament was essential and inextricably linked to the quest for social justice and racial equality.