Dr. Kenneth Clark: Malcolm X, one of the most articulate exponents of the Black Muslim philosophy, has said of your movement and your philosophy that it plays into the hands of the white oppressors. That they are happy to hear you talk about love for the oppressor because this disarms the Negro and fits in to the stereotype of the Negro as a meek, turning-the-other-cheek sort of creature. Would you care to comment on Mr. X’s beliefs?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: Well, I don’t think of love as, in this context, as emotional bosh. I don’t think of it as a weak force. But I think of love as something strong, and that organizes itself into powerful direct action. This is what I try to teach in the struggle in the South. That we are not engaged in a struggle that means we sit down and do nothing.
There’s a great deal of difference between non-resistance to evil and non-violent resistance. Non-resistance leaves you in a state of stagnant passivity and dead-end complacency. Wherein non-violent resistance means you do resist in a very strong and determined manner. And I think some of the criticisms of non-violence, or some of the critics, fail to realize that we are talking about something very strong, and they confuse non-resistance with non-violent resistance.
Bayard Rustin, one of the biggest activists of nonviolence during the Civil Rights Era is best known as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. Rustin was silenced, threatened, beaten, and imprisoned, because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. His focus on civil and economic rights and his belief in peace, human rights, and the dignity of all people remain as relevant today as they were in the 1950s and 60s.
Buy Tickets to the 16th Annual Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. January 21, at the Herbst Theater :: http://tinyurl.com/a88ed62
This year, our theme of “No Guns” emerges within a historical context of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement’s unwavering commitment to practicing non-violence. Today, we challenge each of us to re-commit ourselves to an ethics of love that unravels the very fabric of violence. We continue to affirm life and the pressing need to openly address the deep psychic wounds within us. We acknowledge and honor those who have passed without ever making a news headline. We continue to fight for gun control and all forms of disarmament. We dare to love in a time that begs us to be neutral and indifferent. Now more than ever, we must create, reflect, dialogue and act — together. We must secure a brighter future for our young people and ourselves. In the words of Dr. King:
"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."
Join us in creating a soul force that has sense enough to love!
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.
And I don’t mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
And so I’m happy, tonight.
I’m not worried about anything.
I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!
An excerpt from the last speech given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee the next day on April 4, 1968.
Go to www.youthspeaks.org to purchase tickets to the 16th Annual Bringing The Noise For Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.