Martin Luther King Signed Speech Montgomery Bus Boycott
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Martin Luther King Signed Speech Montgomery Bus Boycott:
Martin Luther King, Jr. signed acceptance speech for his leadership in the historic Montgomery bus boycott. King boldly signs the first page of the speech, Best Wishes / To Ruth / M.L. King Jr.'' on 28 June 1957, the day he accepted the Spingarn Medal, an annual award bestowed by the NAACP for outstanding achievement by an African American. Its recipients include Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and Rosa Parks, the woman who ignited the boycott that would result in the 1956 Supreme Court decision declaring bus segregation unconstitutional. King's 14 page speech is an inspiration to all those who grow impatient with the speed of justice and question the best route to get there. It reads in part, ''...This is an honor that I will cherish so long as the chords of memory shall lengthen...In accepting this award I would like to feel that you are really honoring the 50,000 Negro citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, who more than a year ago came to see that it is ultimately more honorable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation...They are really what Jesus called the salt of the earth. Their quiet dignity and determined courage will be a source of inspiration to generations yet unborn...One day America will realize that the NAACP has proved to be one of its best friends, for by fighting so persistently for the rights of Negroes, purely within the framework of legal democracy, it has saved the Negro from turning to some foreign ideology for the solution of his problem. The NAACP has given hope and courage to a disinherited people who dared only to dream of freedom...If I were standing at the beginning of time, and the Almightly [sic] gave me a panoramic view of the whole of history, and then proceeded to ask me which age I would prefer to live in, strangely enough I would by pass the great glory of Greek culture...I would bypass the days of the Hebrew Exodus...I would bypass the days when the Roman Empire stood at the zenith of its power with all of its intricate and astounding military machinery; I would bypass the days of the Renaissance...I would even bypass the French and American Revolutions; and finally I would turn to the Almighty and say, 'If you will allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th Century, I will be happy.'...something is happening in the world today that has never happened before...today we have the privilege of witnessing a world revolution. The drama of freedom and justice is unfolding today in a way unprecedented before...Now I am aware of the fact that there are those who would argue that we stand amid the most ghastly period of our nation's history...the tragic reign of violence and terror, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan...are all indicative of the deep and tragic midnight that encompasses our national life...the present tensions represent the usual pains that accompany the birth of anything new...there can be no birth and growth without birth and growing pains...As we look over the long sweep of race relations in America we notice that there has been something of an evolutionary growth over the years...It is interesting to note that in each period there finally came a decision from the Supreme Court to give legal and constitutional validity to the dominant thought patterns of that particular period. The first period...was the period of slavery. During this period the Negro was an 'it' rather than a 'He,' a thing to be used rather than a person...the Dred Scott decision stated that the Negro...is merely property subject to the dictates of his owner. The second period in the development of race relations in America extended, broadly speaking, from 1863 to 1954. We may refer to this as the period of segregation. In 1896, through the famous Plessy versus Ferguson decision, the Supreme Court established the doctrine of separate but equal...segregation is at bottom nothing but slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity. So the end results of this second period was that the Negro ended up being plunged across the abyss of exploitation where the experienced the bleakness of nagging injustice. The third period in the development of race relations in America had its beginning on May 17, 1954 [Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision]. This is the period of complete and constructive integration...And so as the result of this decision we find ourselves standing on the threshold of the third and most constructive period int he development of race relations in the history of our nation...we stand on the border of the promised land of integration. The great moral challenge that confronts each of us at this moment is to work passionately and unrelentingly for the complete realization of the ideals and principles of this third period...Now there is a bit of urgency about this matter...In the midst of all of the pleas for gradualism and slowing up, we must courageously keep moving...both our self-respect and the prestige of our nation are at stake...the Negro...is really struggling to save America...We must continue to gain the ballot...one of the most important steps that the Negro can take is that short walk to the voting booth...We must invest big money in the cause of freedom...I am ashamed of the fact that we as a race spend more money for whiskey and big parties than we spend for the cause of civil rights...it must be stressed that passive resistance does not mean cowardice or stagnant passivity; it does resist. It simply means that the resister if not physically aggressive towards the opponent, but his mind and emotion are always active...it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding...a boycott is not an end within itself; it is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame in the oppressor. The end is reconciliation and redemption...Our aim must be to defeat injustice and not white persons who happen to be unjust...It not only refuses to shoot a man, but it refuses to hate him...'' Speech runs 14 pages on 14 separate sheets. ''For Release Upon Delivery'' appears at top. Very light wear and creasing, and staple to upper left. Overall near fine condition.
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