icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Online Collection

Black Tragedy

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 white image.

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 it's there.

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.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.

label levels:

There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: The first of a two-part editorial was published in the Greenfield Recorder two days after the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. The killing, followed by rioting in many African-American neighborhoods, seemed to destroy King's "dream" of non-violent change. The editors capture the pessimism of those months, declaring that "the moral condition of the nation has reached a deplorable state." They criticize the violent minority who "take the law into their own hands" but also the moderate majority who ignore "poverty and oppression."


top of page

"Black Tragedy-" editorial from Greenfield Recorder newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Recorder
date   Apr 6, 1968
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   3.5"
height   4.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L08.007

Look Closer icon My Collection icon Document Image icon Detailed info icon

ecard icon Send an e-Postcard of this object

See Also...

"Civil Rights Report" cartoon from Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"Gun Controls" editorial in Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"-And White As Well" editorial from Greenfield Recorder newspaper

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback