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Martin Luther King on Integration


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July 2, 1958, Vol. III, No. 36

Dr. King on Integration

The federal court ruling to delay integration in Little Rock High School will set back the fight for Negro rights several years, the Reverend Martin Luther King told The Voice last week. He was in the Village to address a meeting of Christian Action at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Street South.

“There will be most tragic consequences if the higher courts sustain the ruling, for it will give the green light to violence in the South,” Dr. King said. He added that pro-segregation groups will think that they can achieve their end if they stir up enough strife and trouble in the schools that are under court order to integrate.

He said that President Eisenhower’s use of federal troops to enforce the Little Rock desegregation was not an act of violence, but was simply “the intelligent use of police power.”

“While I firmly believe in non-violence, I am not an anarchist,” he explained. “This was not an army going to war, and anyone resisting the troops would have received a fair trial.”

In Montgomery today, the buses are completely integrated and the boycott by Negroes is a thing of the past, Dr. King remarked. The Negro minister first achieved national prominence as the leader of the non-violent boycott.

“There have been a few incidents, but generally the people of Montgomery now accept the integrated buses. Although some Negroes still move to the rear of the buses, those who want to may ride anywhere.”

In his talk to a packed audience at Judson Church, Dr. King stressed the use of non-violence to end segregation. He emphasized that the choice is between “non-violence and non-existence.” Physical violence results only in “corroding hatred, and in the end creates more social problems than it solves.”

The minister said that in his opinion, President Eisenhower is a man of “basic good will and genuine integrity,” but that he fails to understand the dimensions of the struggle for equality.

At the meeting, Dr. John Hutcherson, professor of religion at Columbia University, presented him with a check from the New York chapter of Christian Action for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In accepting the check Dr. King said that the Conference would use the money in its current campaign to get out the Negro vote in the South.

The Reverend Howard R. Moody, pastor of Judson Memorial Church, presided at the meeting.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 5, 2008


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