|That the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave this famed speech in the National Mall in Washington D.C. as 250,000 people marched for freedom and justice.
But what a lot of people omit, was another speech delivered that day -- a much more provocative one, by one John Lewis, then president of SNCC. The money quotes:
The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, "We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, nor the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands, and create a great source of power, outside of any national structure that could and would assure us victory." For those who have said, "Be patient and wait!" we must say, "Patience is a dirty and nasty word." We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually, we want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.Lewis was challenging the federal government, as was Dr. King, only in a much more confrontational way. I think it's important to remember that you needed both sides in order for the civil rights movement to work -- the spiritual and the provocative.
Labels: American history, civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., freedom