Martin Luther King Jr.:
Address Given on June 17, 1962 (Excerpt)


[Transcribed from Martin Luther King, Jr.: We Shall Overcome, a CD released by SpeechWorks/SoundWorks International, Inc., in 2000.]

. . . We must work, through the courts, through legislation, through the ballot. This is what we've been talking about over these last few meetings -- the necessity of registering and the necessity of voting. And this is one of the most significant steps that the Negro can take at this hour, going to the ballot box.

But I would like to do you search for new spongebob games give you a warning signal. I've tried to talk in militant terms for the last few minutes. But in the midst of this militancy, let us always realize that we don't have to hate as we try to straighten this situation out. Let us always realize that we don't have to become bitter as we try to straighten this situation out. No, my friends, if there is any one thing that I would like for you to remember this evening, it is the fact that somebody must have some sense in this world. Somebody must have sense enough to meet hate with love. Somebody must have sense enough to meet physical force with soul force. If we will but try this way, we will be able to change these conditions, and yet at the same time, win the hearts and souls of those who have kept these conditions alive.

And I know the temptation -- I know the temptation which comes to all of us. We've been trampled over so long. I know the temptation that comes to all of us. We've seen the viciousness of lynching mobs with our own eyes. We've seen police brutality in our own lives. We're still the last hired and the first fired. So many doors are closed in our faces, and that is a temptation for us to end up with bitterness. And I understand these people who have ended up in despair.

I understand why there are some who have been a little misguided, and they've ended up feeling that the problem can't be solved within. And so they talk about racial separation rather than racial integration. I understand their, their, response. I have analyzed it psychologically, and I understand it. But in spite of the fact that I understand it, I must say to them in patient terms that that isn't the way. I must say to them in patient terms that black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy, and God is not interested in either.

And God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men, but God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race and the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers. No, we need not hate. We need not use violence. There is another way, a way as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth, as modern as the techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi. There is another way, a way as old as Jesus saying, "Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Pray for them that spitefully use you," as modern as Ghandi saying through Thoreau, "Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good." There is another way, a way as old as Jesus saying, "Turn the other cheek."

And when he said that, he realized that turning the other cheek might bring suffering sometimes. He realized that it may get your home bombed sometimes. He realized that it may get you stabbed sometimes. He realized that it may get you scarred up sometimes, but he was saying in substance that it is better to go through life with a scarred-up body than a scarred-up soul. There is another way. This is what we've got to see.

And oh, there is a power in this way, and if we will follow this way, we will be the participants in a great building process that will make America a new nation. And we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. This is our challenge. This is the way we must grapple with this dilemma, and we will be a great people.

And let us have faith in the future -- I know it's dark sometimes. And I know all of us begin to ask, "How long will we have to live with this system?" I know all of us are asking, "How long will prejudice blind the visions of men and darken their understanding and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne? When will wounded justice lying prostrate on the streets of our cities be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men? Yes, when will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night and plucked from weary souls the manacles of death and the chains of fear? How long will justice be crucified and truth buried? How long?"

I can only answer this evening, "Not long."


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