Excerpts from King's Speeches

Friday, April 4, 2008

"I can remember when Negroes were just going around, as Ralph [Abernathy] has said so often, scratching where they didn't itch and laughing when they were not tickled. But that day is all over. We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God's world. And that's all this whole thing is about. We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. . . . We are determined to be people."

-- "I've Been to the Mountaintop," Bishop Charles Mason

Temple, Memphis, April 3, 1968

"As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, "What about Vietnam?" They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems. . . . Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government."

-- "Beyond Vietnam," Riverside Church,

New York, April 4, 1967

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