20
Jan
14

Martin Luther King Jr: Revolutionary

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****

Alex Haley: Alex Haley’s 1965 Playboy Interview With Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Haley: As one who grew up in the economically comfortable, socially insulated environment of a middle-income home in Atlanta, can you recall when it was that you yourself first became painfully and personally aware of racial prejudice?

King: Very clearly. When I was 14, I had traveled from Atlanta to Dublin, Georgia, with a dear teacher of mine, Mrs. Bradley; she’s dead now. I had participated there in an oratorical contest sponsored by the Negro Elks. It turned out to be a memorable day, for I had succeeded in winning the contest. My subject, I recall, ironically enough, was “The Negro and the Constitution.” Anyway, that night, Mrs. Bradley and I were on a bus returning to Atlanta, and at a small town along the way, some white passengers boarded the bus, and the white driver ordered us to get up and give the whites our seats. We didn’t move quickly enough to suit him, so he began cursing us, calling us “black sons of bitches.” I intended to stay right in that seat, but Mrs. Bradley finally urged me up, saying we had to obey the law. And so we stood up in the aisle for the 90 miles to Atlanta. That night will never leave my memory. It was the angriest I have ever been in my life.

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I shall never forget the grief and bitterness I felt on that terrible September morning when a bomb blew out the lives of those four little, innocent girls sitting in their Sunday-school class in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. I think of how a woman cried out, crunching through broken glass, “My God, we’re not even safe in church!” I think of how that explosion blew the face of Jesus Christ from a stained-glass window. It was symbolic of how sin and evil had blotted out the life of Christ. I can remember thinking that if men were this bestial, was it all worth it? Was there any hope? Was there any way out?

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Haley: Do you still feel this way?

King: No, time has healed the wounds—and buoyed me with the inspiration of another moment which I shall never forget: when I saw with my own eyes over 3,000 young Negro boys and girls, totally unarmed, leave Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church to march to a prayer meeting—ready to pit nothing but the power of their bodies and souls against Bull Connor’s police dogs, clubs, and fire hoses. When they refused Connor’s bellowed order to turn back, he whirled and shouted to his men to turn on the hoses. It was one of the most fantastic events of the Birmingham story that these Negroes, many of them on their knees, stared, unafraid and unmoving, at Connor’s men with the hose nozzles in their hands. Then, slowly the Negroes stood up and advanced, and Connor’s men fell back as though hypnotized, as the Negroes marched on past to hold their prayer meeting. I saw there, I felt there, for the first time, the pride and the power of nonviolence.

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Haley: Your dissatisfaction with the Civil Rights Act reflects that of most other Negro spokesmen. According to recent polls, however, many whites resent this attitude, calling the Negro “ungrateful” and “unrealistic” to press his demands for more.

King: This is a litany to those of us in this field. “What more will the Negro want?” “What will it take to make these demonstrations end?” Well, I would like to reply with another rhetorical question: Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Negro is sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to him those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America? I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the Negro for his freedom. This continued arrogant ladling out of pieces of the rights of citizenship has begun to generate a fury in the Negro. Even so, he is not pressing for revenge, or for conquest, or to gain spoils, or to enslave, or even to marry the sisters of those who have injured him.

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What the Negro wants—and will not stop until he gets—is absolute and unqualified freedom and equality here in this land of his birth, and not in Africa or in some imaginary state. The Negro no longer will be tolerant of anything less than his due right and heritage. He is pursuing only that which he knows is honorably his. He knows that he is right. Few white people, even today, will face the clear fact that the very future and destiny of this country are tied up in what answer will be given to the Negro. And that answer must be given soon.

More of this powerful and enlightening interview here

****

Bed8dwLCAAEXq6Z

TheObamaDiary: Like a beacon, MLK Day in the middle of all those GOP hate days…

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Martin Luther King Jr. sits for a police mugshot after his arrest for directing a citywide boycott of segregated buses on February 24, 1956.


92 Responses to “Martin Luther King Jr: Revolutionary”


  1. 1 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Yet another spectacular tribute to Dr King!! Thank you, NW!!!

    • 2 vcprezofan2
      January 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      :grin:

    • 3 vcprezofan2
      January 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Great, and successful, strategy! Kudos, Bfr. :lol:

    • 8 Judith Fardig
      January 20, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Seconded! These posts have been spectacular. Congrats to Bobfr on FIRST!

      • 9 Nerdy Wonka
        January 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm

        Thanks, Judith.

        • January 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

          Spectacular post….Nerdy

          I have never read this…

          it gives us such insight into the philosophy and insight of Dr. King…simply awesome…

          his speaking about Wallace reminds me so much of Limbaugh and Beck…in fact Fox News….and their stoking the flames of racial stereo- types and racial intolerance and hatred…

          Governor Wallace is a demagogue with a capital D. He symbolizes in this country many of the evils that were alive in Hitler’s Germany. He is a merchant of racism, peddling hate under the guise of States’ rights. He wants to turn back the clock, for his own personal aggrandizement, and he will do literally anything to accomplish this. He represents the misuse, the corruption, the destruction of leadership. I am not sure that he believes all the poison that he preaches, but he is artful enough to convince others that he does. Instead of guiding people to new peaks of reasonableness, he intensifies misunderstanding, deepens suspicion and prejudice. He is perhaps the most dangerous racist in America today.

    • 11 Nerdy Wonka
      January 20, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks, Bob.

      • 12 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
        January 20, 2014 at 10:06 pm

        You’ve brought much honor to Dr King, today, NW and we are all grateful for you efforts, as well as for LL’s excellent tribute, and the ever sustaining force of Chips.

        TOD is a very special community.

        • 13 jacquelineoboomer
          January 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm

          I’m not sure I thanked LL for his tribute, so I shall do it here. It’s all leaving me breathless.

      • January 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

        I have to agree 10000000000% with Bob’s comments….these tribute posts to Dr. King are stellar…I have posted them on my FB as well as twitter …emailed them to family and friends….

        Thank you..

    • 15 99ts
      January 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      The media could take a lesson from NW as to why there is a holiday today – what a vision MLK followed

  2. January 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    “What more will the Negro want?” “What will it take to make these demonstrations end?” Well, I would like to reply with another rhetorical question: Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Negro is sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to him those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America?

    UT? This is a sublime post. Thank you.

    • 17 Nerdy Wonka
      January 20, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks, Chiparoo.

      The entire interview sent chills down my spine. He makes no apologies for fighting for fairness, equality, and justice. His bravery and strength amaze me.

  3. January 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm

  4. 20 jacquelineoboomer
    January 20, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Chips and Nerdy Wonka aka UT – Thank you for all of the beautiful posts today, to honor Dr. King.

  5. 22 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    hf2, as is typical, noticed a not insignificant detail in the previous thread – why haven’t we heard a bunch of breathless hype as to whatever loser the GOP would have deliver their rebuttal to President Obama’s SOTU. I thought I’d reach out to brother Reince and inquire ;)

    Yes We Can

  6. 23 desertflower
    January 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Thank you for all these wonderful tribute posts to MLK today. Time for me to head to bed…work tomorrow. See you all bright and early.

  7. 24 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm

  8. January 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    @..”What the Negro wants—and will not stop until he gets—is absolute and unqualified freedom and equality here in this land of his birth, and not in Africa or in some imaginary state. The Negro no longer will be tolerant of anything less than his due right and heritage. He is pursuing only that which he knows is honorably his. He knows that he is right. Few white people, even today, will face the clear fact that the very future and destiny of this country are tied up in what answer will be given to the Negro. And that answer must be given soon…””

    That is a powerful commentary! Especially that last sentence..He was so right, and that is still the truth today@ the destiny of this country are tied UP in what answer will be given to the Negro..Poetically sad in a way that fact is still true; but it is. Together we must stand or divided we’ll all fall. The gap is still far too wide..I’ve read alot !, but I’d not yet read nor seen this interview..Certainly worth sharing & I thank you for doing so. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day today and every day!

  9. 26 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Inspired by Chips ….

    Yes We Can

  10. 27 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 10:15 pm

  11. 28 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm

  12. 29 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 10:20 pm

  13. 30 Cindy
    January 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    To Chipsticks and “all” of the TOD contributors ( I don’t want to miss anyone),

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this awesome, informative and memorable celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the drum major for justice. Truly, my heart has wept for the past, and embraced the present, as you took us down memory lane. I have spent time reading everything and listening to the speeches-just beautiful.

    If I could sum it up in 1 word; BEAUTIFUL!

    Thank you TOD family for allowing me to share one of my most painful memories. Thank you for your kind words, hugs and warm thoughts. Together, we can make this world a better place.

    A good way to end the evening, I am full : )

    Congrats on 1st Bobfr…way to go.

    Good night everyone….blessings and a Happy Tuesday to all.

    • 31 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      January 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Please rest well, Cindy, and know we will always be shoulder to shoulder with you.

    • 32 99ts
      January 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      g’nite Cindy – come back in the morning & we’ll see if anyone is still carrying water for the Governor

      Ahhh – I’m out tomorrow – you will have to post any new news for me

    • 33 MightyPamela
      January 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      Love, Light and Healing all around you, Cindy. May you wake somewhat more free tomorrow, as the memories you have borne for so long ease off. Sharing them here is one way we might take some of the weight for you. Goodnight.

  14. 34 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Really do think that Mayor Zimmer is way more of a nightmare for the #NEWSTAINERS, let alone for Christie and his mafia. She’s obviously savvy – detailed diary + other relevant documents all archived and ready. She knows the law and the streets. She went public via an internationally accessible medium – MSNBC – and then met immediately, for HOURS, with a Dept of Justice US Attorney. Totally willing to provide all, under OATH.

    Lots of folk are going to be plea bargaining; lots of folk are going to the slammer.

    bbl … time to do yet another conference call and then prepare some dinner …

    • 35 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
      January 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      Call delayed … so ….

      We all need to send her a lot of LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Yes We Can

  15. 36 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 10:26 pm

  16. 38 globalcitizenlinda
    January 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm

  17. 39 hopefruit2
    January 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Thought I had posted a comment earlier, but it might be stuck in pending. Wanted to say thanks ut for sharing this fascinating interview with Dr. King! I had never read it before, so this was an excellent and deeply moving read.

  18. January 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I’m going to repost this from a previous thread, because I think part of the interview quoted above speaks directly to what this diarist says. First the anger felt by MLK as he and his teacher had to stand on that bus, second and most powerfully the heart-cry of the woman at the Baptist church bombing: “We’re not even safe in church!” Last year I read “While the World Watched”, a memoir by one of the children (now grown of course) who survived that bombing. As she described her life I realized I had never known the full terror that black people endured on a daily basis. Finally, his description of the Children’s March: “It was one of the most fantastic events of the Birmingham story that these Negroes, many of them on their knees, stared, unafraid and unmoving, at Connor’s men with the hose nozzles in their hands. Then, slowly the Negroes stood up and advanced, and Connor’s men fell back as though hypnotized, as the Negroes marched on past to hold their prayer meeting.” Facing their fears, they kept the faith and claimed the victory. I think this is echoed and enunciated in this article:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/29/1011562/-Most-of-you-have-no-idea-what-Martin-Luther-King-actually-did?detail=email

  19. January 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    GE TOD. Wonderful threads all day BT’s! I don’t know how much you guys have been following the faux outrage directed at Seatle Seahawks All-Pro Richard Sherman, but this is a kid who made it out of Compton, CA, and graduated w/ a 3.9 GPA from Stanford.

    Here is some background on him as a student and in-the-weeds stats proving he is the best corner in the NFL…..

    …….and here is Ta-Nehisi on the B.S. being directed at him for saying exactly what was on his mind in a post game interview yesterday

    “I don’t think this is what people think when they see Sherman trash-talking. There’s some weird notion in our society that holds that trash-talking is for the classless and stupid. I don’t know what it means to be “classless” in an organization like the NFL. And then there is the racism from onlookers, who are incapable of perceiving in Sherman an individual, and instead see the sum of all American fears–monkey, thug, terrorist, nigger. And then there is us, ashamed at our own nakedness, at our humanity. Racism is a kind of fatalism, so seductive, that enthralls even it’s victims. But we will not get out of this by being on our best behavior–sometimes it has taken our worse. There’s never been a single thing wrong with black people, that the total destruction of white supremacy would not fix.”

  20. 50 vcprezofan2
    January 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Utal, I don’t know what method you and other BTs use to find ‘good stuff’ but I’m so glad you use it so well! TY

    //………..
    Haley: Relatively few dispute the justness of the struggle to eradicate racial injustice, but many whites feel that the Negro should be more patient, that only the passage of time—perhaps generations—will bring about the sweeping changes he demands in traditional attitudes and customs. Do you think this is true?

    King: No, I do not. I feel that the time is always right to do what is right. Where progress for the Negro in America is concerned, there is a tragic misconception of time among whites. They seem to cherish a strange, irrational notion that something in the very flow of time will cure all ills. In truth, time itself is only neutral. Increasingly, I feel that time has been used destructively by people of ill will much more than it has been used constructively by those of good will.

    …………………..//

  21. 51 jackiegrumbacher
    January 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    NW, thanks to you and Chips, I have learned more about Martin Luther King Jr today and gained a richer appreciation of his depth and complexity than I have ever had in my life–and he was very much alive in my time. I also feel closer to everyone on TOD who shared their pain and hurtful memories. What an incredible community it is when people trust enough to open their hearts. In our daily lives, we can live close to a lot of people and never feel the sense of community that we feel here. That’s a pretty astonishing achievement.

  22. 53 globalcitizenlinda
    January 20, 2014 at 10:47 pm

  23. 56 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm

  24. 57 MightyPamela
    January 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    http://vienna.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/national-weather-services-issues-winter-storm-warning Was just reading up on the DC area forecast, so many family in the region. Everyone take good care. (meanwhile, in Seattle, I believe we are still wondering when winter will arrive.)

  25. 58 yardarm756
    January 20, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Shipmates. I finish my part in todays celebration with another link from my archives. I hope you enjoy it.

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1902589447/bclid8326234001/bctid8468417001

  26. January 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    POWERFUL AND BREATHTAKING words from The King.

    Thank you to Chips, NW/UT, and allllll of TOD for these amazing posts today commemorating both Dr. King Day and the Inauguration of our President. These two great men share a most admirable character trait: perseverance in the pursuit of good. Both are deeper, more complex, and more multi-dimensional than the caricatures presented of them. I’m grateful for all the beautiful work here today. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  27. 62 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    ivanovic beaten by teenager bouchard.

  28. 63 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 11:39 pm

  29. 67 yardarm756
    January 20, 2014 at 11:40 pm

  30. 71 amk for obama
    January 20, 2014 at 11:47 pm

  31. 72 vcprezofan2
    January 20, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    thanks bts and everyone else for the MLK info, discussion, etc
    off to unwind with some reading
    good night, folks
    sweet dreams

  32. 73 amk for obama
    January 21, 2014 at 12:52 am

    • 74 jacquelineoboomer
      January 21, 2014 at 1:02 am

      “BOOKY THINGY” – oh, my, too funny! I still hate that mofo, although I’m tryin’ to get over him.

  33. 75 jacquelineoboomer
    January 21, 2014 at 1:08 am

  34. 76 lockewasright
    January 21, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Today was a good day. The kids were off from school, I don’t work mondays and it’s bonus time at work. The kids helped me to inventory the kitchen and then we went and picked up some clothes for them, an adapter to my MacBook, and had some dinner. Then I drove to the craft store, took my wife to the cake decorating section and told her to drop a wad of cash on whatever she wanted.

    That much by itself would have been a fantastic evening, but my son really put the cherry on top. We tell our kids all of the time that mommy and daddy won’t reward poor behavior. Today our 8 year old told us that this other kid was a bad influence and that they turned out that way because their parents reward poor behavior so they never learn anything. HA!!! He’s listening!!!!

  35. January 21, 2014 at 1:12 am

    thanks so much Nerdy Wonka for the wonderful stories and anecdotes about MLK. Even though I lived through his times I still learned a lot today. Each story only added to his already remarkable stature.

  36. 79 Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    January 21, 2014 at 1:51 am

    About sums the situation ….

    …. time for some rest, but do pay close attention to the Twitter thread #euromaidan during the next several hours, days as what happens in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine actually matters to every person on this planet.

    #FORWARD Together

  37. 82 sjterrid
    January 21, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Thanks for all the great Martin Luther King, Jr. threads.

  38. 83 vcprezofan2
    January 21, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Morning, folks! Happy Tuesday, or Wednesday (take your pick).

    So Danny and his slave haven’t shown up yet? Hmmmmm.

  39. 88 desertflower
    January 21, 2014 at 7:16 am

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/20/trickle-down-economics-broken-promise-richest-85?CMP=twt_gu

    The richest 85 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion – or half the world’s entire population – put together. This is the stark headline of a report from Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum at Davos. Is there a reason why the world’s powerful, gathering at the exclusive resort to sip cognac and eat blinis, should care? Well, yes.

    snip/

    Even if one subscribes to the cynical view that the elite knew what they were doing all along, observing that the “rising tide” is lifting fewer and fewer boats and leaving more and more to rot in the sediment – both at a personal and national level – must make most wonder “am I in the right boat and is it big enough?” Concentration is rampant. Credit Suisse estimates that the world will have 11 trillionaires within two generations.

    It is not so much that the supply-side principle “if you build it, they will come” is no longer true. It is more that we appear to have passed a tipping point, where so much wealth has been concentrated at the top, they no longer need bother to “build” anything. In short, it has become more economically efficient to buy countries’ economic policy than to create value in order to sell it on. If one can control government to favour the richest, while raising barriers for new entrants, thus increasing their share of the pie exponentially, what is the incentive to grow the pie?

    Goes with the graph of inequality….put them together and it paints a dangerous and horrifying picture

  40. 90 99ts
    January 21, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Took MJ an hour to mention Christie – but they are still hitting on Mayor Zimmer in their attempts to cover Christie.

  41. 92 Nena20409
    January 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Awesome post NW.

    Wow. I thought that I knew a lot about MLK. Wow. Thanks.

    {{{{Cindy}}}} It gets better for We The People are moving FORWARD :!: Haters are dying away and eventually, their type of hate would be come more uncomfortable for them.


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