Continuing the June of 1956 Martin Luther King, Jr. message to the Forty-Seventh Annual NAACP Convention in San Francisco where both he and A. Philip Randolph were speakers City Commission didn’t work within the segregation law. Necessary for young attorney, Fred Gray, go federal court. Ruled the other day segregation in public transportation in Alabama is unconstitutional.Now more than 6 mos.Story of Montgomery is fifty thousand Negroes tired of oppression and injustice and willing to walk and walk and walk.
First, use a taxi. Agreed ten cents same as buses. Police commission warn taxis must charge minimum 45 cent a person.Then, organized volunteer car pool. Overnight over 300 cars out.
They tried to divide the leadership. Went to ministers and, but it didn’t work. Moved to what Commissioner Gayle called a “get tough” policy. Arrest of persons. I was arrested and jailed. Then physical violence. My home was bombed, and the home of a Mr. E. D. Nixon, outstanding, progressive leader.Then mass indictment. More than a hundred persons were indicted, including all executive board of the Montgomery Improvement Association. Old anti labor law. Basis of this law I was convicted. A convicted criminal is speaking to you tonight.
“Along with this emphasis on nonviolence goes the emphasis on love as the regulating ideal. We have refused in our struggle to succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter and indulging in a hate campaign. We are not out to defeat or to humiliate the white man. We are out to help him as well as ourselves. The festering sore of segregation debilitates the white man as well as the Negro, and so we are not out to win a victory over the white man. And I assure you that the basic struggle in Montgomery after all is not between Negroes and white people.
The struggle is at bottom a tension between justiceand injustice.It is a tension between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. And if there is a victory in Montgomery, it will not be a victory merely for fifty thousand Negroes, but it will be a victory for justice, a victory for democracy, and a victory for good will. This is at bottom the meaning of Christian love, and we are trying to follow that. It is that high type of love that I have talked about so often. The Greeks talked of so many types of love. But we are not talking about eros in Montgomery, we are talking about agape.We are talking about understanding good will. We are talking about a love which seeks nothing in return. We are talking about a love that loves the person who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. That is a higher type of love.
We have the strange feeling down in Montgomery that in our struggle we have cosmic companionship.Good Friday occupy throne for a day, ultimately must give way to Easter. There is something in this universe that justifies Carlyle saying: “No Lie can live forever.”William Cullen Bryant saying: “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.”
The problem of obtaining full citizenship is a problem for which the Negro himself must assume the primary responsibility. we must work for it. sacrifice for it, yes, and even to die for it. On May 4, 1954, the Supreme Court gave the legal death blow to segregation. implementation will be carried out by Negro’s refusal to cooperate with segregation.if physical death the price some must pay to free our children from a permanent life of psychological death, nothing could be more honorable, the meaning of passive resistance. It confronts physical force with soul force.
Segregation is still a fact. Now it might be true that Old Man Segregation is on its deathbed, but history has proven that social systems have a great last-minute breathing power. And the guardians of the status quo are always on hand with their oxygen tents to keep the old order alive. But if democracy is to live, segregation must die. The underlying philosophy of democracy is diametrically opposed to the underlying philosophy of segregation, and all of the dialectics of the logicians cannot make them lie down together. Segregation is an evil, segregation is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized. Out of the two billion, four hundred million people in this the world, one billion, six hundred million are colored. Most of these colored people of the world have lived under the yoke of colonialism and imperialism.
We have brought the football of civil rights to about the fifty-yard line. And now we are getting ready to move in the opposition’s territory. The opposition will use all the power, all the force possible to prevent our advance. They will strengthen the line. put the proper leaders in the backfield to call the signals and run the ball, who love the cause, not publicity, love humanity, not money, love justice.all over the nation.”
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