Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” 1963

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given up by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed…I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.”

But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children…when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking, “Daddy, why you white people treat colored people so mean?”

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” 1963

Advertisements