He was a man who preached nonviolence. But he never attained it.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., slain on the eve of one of the his great campaigns
to elevate the status of fellow Negroes, now represents another chapter in American
violence. But it could not have been unexpected, not even by Dr. King himself.
The moral condition of this nation has reached a monstrous state. When no man
is safe to cross the street, no man is certain of his life in public and no
man is guaranteed opportunity to speak without risking death, our society is
exposed as unable to secure the rights of any man, black or white.
Dr. King, a Baptist preacher and a distinguished international figure, represented
the prevailing Negro pleas for equality. He was a leader for all mainly because
he preached what most all wanted to hear.
In this country, however, there are minority groups who hesitate not to take
law and order into their own hands. This happened only a few years ago when
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It has happened again
in Memphis. And until there is a way to control the radical minority it will
happen again and again.
This group represents nothing with meaning, nothing with sense, nothing with
which reason can be equated. To slay Dr. King means only greater violence, greater
bloodshed and greater dissensions than could possibly have developed otherwise.
And 99 per cent of this disorder is directed towards the innocent.
Following the King murder, Negro communities across the country broke into
violence, the very act which King tried to avoid. And as in the past, this trouble
involved more Negroes than Whites, more Negro property, homes and lives, than
White property, homes and lives, and it injured the Negro image more that the
These acts represent a strange and curious national immaturity which Dr. King
and many others seem to have overlooked in pressing for social advancements.
There cannot be revolution in any form without violence of some sort. Dr. King
in effect was a revolutionary, a leader who sought to overthrow deep-rooted
traditions and long-established policies.
It is time that all which Dr. King sought be secured. But the nation is backward
in may respects. Most Americans, because of their affluence and strength, do
not understand well the need to eliminate poverty and oppression where it exists.
Most Americans never see how the other half lives and thereby do not admit that
Dr. King's death can bear no immediate fruit. The soil is not yet right for
full racial equality, even though the nation theoretically has sown the seed.
Ultimately, however, there is reason to believe that Dr. King's work will not
have been in vain even though his life was shortened by it.