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“Never Cross a Man Not Afraid to Die” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Presentation on theme: "“Never Cross a Man Not Afraid to Die” Martin Luther King, Jr."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Never Cross a Man Not Afraid to Die” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Poli 110EB)

2 George Wallace 1963 Inaugural Speech
“Today I have stood, where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. It is very appropriate then that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again through history. Let us rise to the call of freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny and I say segregation today segregation tomorrow segregation forever.”

3 George Wallace “We find we are become government-fearing people not God-fearing people. We find we have replaced faith with fear and though we may give lip service to the Almighty . . in reality, government has become our god. It is, therefore, a basically ungodly government and its appeal to the pseudo-intellectual and the politician is to change their status from servant of the people to master of the people to play at being God without faith in God and without the wisdom of God. It is a system that is the very opposite of Christ for it feeds and encourages everything degenerate and base in our people as it assumes the responsibilities that we ourselves should assume. Its pseudo-liberal spokesmen and some Harvard advocates have never examined the logic of its substitution of what it calls "human rights" for individual rights, for its propaganda play on words has appeal for the unthinking. Its logic is totally material and irresponsible as it runs the full gamut of human desires including the theory that everyone has voting rights without the spiritual responsibility of preserving freedom.”

4 George Wallace “It is the spirit of power thirst that caused a President in Washington to take up Caesar's pen and with one stroke of it make a law. A Law which the law making body of Congress refused to pass a law that tells us that we can or cannot buy or sell our very homes, except by his conditions and except at HIS discretion. It is the spirit of power thirst that led the same President to launch a full offensive of twenty-five thousand troops against a university of all places in his own country and against his own people, when this nation maintains only six thousand troops in the beleaguered city of Berlin. “

5 George Wallace “We have witnessed such acts of "might makes right" over the world as men yielded to the temptation to play God but we have never before witnessed it in America. We reject such acts as free men. We do not defy, for there is nothing to defy since as free men we do not recognize any government right to give freedom or deny freedom. No government erected by man has that right. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; no King holds the right of liberty in his hands." Nor does any ruler in American government.”

6 The Southern Strategy Interviewer: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps? Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger.”

7 The Black Church and the Civil Rights Movement
“Black churches have been aggregated into the singular institution called "the black church" to the extent that they are united by their cultural, historic, social, and spiritual missions of fighting the ravages of racism by "buoy[ing] up the hopes of its members in the face of adversity and giv[ing] them a sense of community-regardless of denominational distinction, geographic location, or class composition.’” “Although some denominational and congregational distinctions can be drawn, most black churches share a very similar religious culture. [...] Although black churches operate with a high degree of independence, people going from service location to service location would feel little cultural disconnect.” (169)

8 Resource Mobilization
"Resource mobilization theory asserts that discontent is basically constant. What really matters to organizers of a movement "is the amount of social resources available to unorganized but aggrieved groups, making it possible to launch an organized demand for change" (Jenkins and Perrow 1977, 250).” “Approached from this perspective, mobilization can be understood as the "process by which a group secures collective control over the resources needed for action. The major issues therefore are the resources controlled by the group prior to mobilization efforts, and the processes by which the group pools resources and direct these toward social change" (Jenkins 1983, ). "In the absence of resources," McAdam explained, "the aggrieved population is likely to lack the capacity to act even when granted the opportunity to do so" (1985, 43).” (170)

9 Resource Mobilization
“The black church could offer social communication networks, facilities, audience, leadership, and money to the movement.” Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) coordinated “nonviolent direct action activities through churches in various locations and its initial leadership was made up of ministers who led many of the largest nonviolent actions in Montgomery, Tallahassee, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, and Nashville.” (170) “More than a year before the sit-ins, NCLC [Nashville Christian Leadership Council] Project Committee Chair Rev. James Lawson began holding workshops on nonviolent direct action at churches throughout the city. Through the churches and ministers affiliated with the NCLC, students were equipped and trained for nonviolent action, and the black community was organized to support the students once the sit-ins began.”

10 Interpretive Frames But not only resource mobilization, but culture and beliefs matter “Much of the work done by a social movement organization involves, literally, making meanings and communicating the appropriate mobilizing messages to its constituents.” (171) “The black church was able to mobilize people for nonviolent action because church membership provided individuals a frame for receiving the message and meaning of nonviolence. A "frame" is an interpretive schemata or way of understanding the world (Snow et al. 1986). Tarrow (1992) has explained that collective action frames work best when they are connected to the cultural meaning and symbols of a movement's audience. (172-73)

11 Interpretive Frames Andrew Young: “Nobody could have ever argued segregation and integration and gotten people to do anything about that. But when Martin would talk about leaving the slavery of Egypt and wandering into the promised land; somehow that made sense to folks. And they may not have understood it; it was nobody else's political theory, but it was their grassroots are all perfectly legal. For example, the March on ideology. It was their faith; it was the thing that they had been nurtured on. I think it was the cultural milieu, when people were really united with the real meaning of that cultural heritage, and when they saw in their faith also a liberation struggle that they could identify with, then you kind of had 'em boxed. They all wanted to be religious. And when you finally helped them see that religion meant involvement in action, you kinda had 'em hooked then.” (173)

12 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Minister 1st president Southern Christian Leadership Program Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955) Birmingham Campaign/Project C (1963) March on Washington (1963) Selma (1964) Assassinated 1968

13 Statement by Alabama Clergymen
“Just as we formerly pointed out that "hatred and violence have no sanction in our religious and political traditions," we also point out that such actions as incite to hatred and violence, however technically peaceful those actions may be, have not contributed to the resolution of our local problems.” Demonstrations “unwise and untimely”, led by “outsiders” “We further strongly urge our own Negro community to withdraw support from these demonstrations, and to unite locally in working peacefully for a better Birmingham. When rights are consistently denied, a cause should be pressed in the courts and in negotiations among local leaders, and not in the streets. We appeal to both our white and Negro citizenry to observe the principles of law and order and common sense.” Law as a weapon

14 Letter from Birmingham Jail
“I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town.” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” “your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.”

15 Letter from Birmingham Jail
“Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.” Violence & media an intrinsic element of nonviolent direct action “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!””

16 Letter from Birmingham Jail
“We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights.... 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....”

17 Letter from Birmingham Jail
“One may want to ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all” “To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law” Sources of authority

18 Letter from Birmingham Jail
“I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious-education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?””

19 “I Have a Dream” “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”

20 In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” Violation of contract

21 “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

22 “I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.”

23 “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”” Calling the political community to account before its own beliefs

24 And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring! And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

25 And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

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