America The Beautiful Essays

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The fact is that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor.

It must be demanded by the oppressed—that’s the long, sometimes tragic and turbulent story of history.

I told him that I had been fighting too long and too hard now against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concerns.

And the fact is that justice is indivisible; injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And I say that if we will stand and work together, we will bring into being that day when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. All material copyright © Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.; all material copyright renewed © Coretta Scott King and the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.

They mention to me all the time, there are those who sincerely feel that.

But I answered a man the other day who told me I should stick to civil rights, and not deal with the war thing and the war question in Vietnam. (1929–1968), Nobel Peace Prize laureate and architect of the nonviolent civil rights movement, was among the twentieth century’s most influential figures.

And probably the most critical problem in the other America is the economic problem. The fact is that the black man in the United States of America is facing a literal depression. When there is massive unemployment in the black community, it’s called a social problem. For in the final analysis, the riot is the language of the unheard. It’s failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.

By the millions, people in the other America find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. But when there is massive unemployment in the white community, it’s called a depression. Somewhere they will come to see that person working in the hospital—even if he happens to be a janitor in the hospital—he is in the final analysis as significant as the physician, because if he doesn’t do his job, germs can develop, which can be as injurious to the patient as anybody else. It has failed to hear that the promises of justice and freedom have not been met.

You see, no labor is really menial unless you’re not getting adequate wages. ~~~ The problem with a riot is that it can always be halted by superior force, so I couldn’t advise that.

On the other hand, I couldn’t advise following a path of Martin Luther King just sitting around signing statements, and writing articles condemning the rioters, or engaging in a process of timid supplications for justice.


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