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Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr.


The never-before-told story of the friendship between Martin Luther King Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh—icons who changed each other and the world

The day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a heartbroken letter to their mutual friend Raphael Gould. He said: “I did not sleep last night. . . . They killed Martin Luther King. They killed us. I am afraid the root of violence is so deep in the heart and mind and manner of this society. They killed him. They killed my hope. I do not know what to say. . . . He made so great an impression in me. This morning I have the impression that I cannot bear the loss.”

Only a few years earlier, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote an open letter to Martin Luther King Jr. as part of his effort to raise awareness and bring peace in Vietnam. There was an unexpected outcome of Nhat Hanh’s letter to King: The two men met in 1966 and 1967 and became not only allies in the peace movement, but friends. This friendship between two prophetic figures from different religions and cultures, from countries at war with one another, reached a great depth in a short period of time.

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