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---And White As Well

The assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thursday night in Memphis, Tenn., will not be the end of a chapter. Unless all signs are misleading, it marks the opening of a new and bloody era in American history.

Before this long summer has passed into memory, the nation may see even more shocking tragedy. One or more of our Presidential candidates could join the ranks of the martyred. Party convention cities may be the scenes of blood baths.

Blacks and Whites alike will be slain as the extremists on both sides try to seize control. Public buildings will be burned and private property losses will amount to many millions of dollars. Neighbor's hand will be turned against neighbor. Terror will stalk the land.

Such predictions are not lightly made. They are based on a conviction that too many Americans do not believe in equality of rights among the races; such individuals will not surrender because of a Supreme Court decision, a law passed by Congress or a civil rights leader's murder. They must be convinced the old order has been changed.

All the elements for widespread disorder are present. Blacks are on the march, hungry for more of the good things in life. Many Whites are alarmed and think of resistance only in terms of 19th Century terrorism. National leaders's attention has been so occupied by international problems that they have only makeshift answers to the questions posed by both sides. Beleaguered law enforcement agencies in a pinch fall back to employment of their traditional weapons- the club and the pistol.

Wild and reckless youth- Black and White- are seizing their opportunities for defiance of authority. Communists take advantage of the situation to feed the flames of rebellion. Fascists preach placement of government in the hands of a chosen few: their followers increase as disorder spreads.

These still are minorities. Most Americans want a peaceful, equitable society with opportunity for all. They can achieve this by refusing to follow the extremists and by voting for candidates who have practical proposals for reform. In fact, they should insist upon pledges of concrete action. Florid oratory and vague promises no longer will serve.

Americans have sidestepped issues for too many years. They have looked the other way and made believe their towns and cities were beyond criticism. Private and official bigotry have been encouraged by a general failure to take issue with those responsible.

The day of reckoning has arrived. Our dedication to personal gain and our complacency with evil have been exposed. American compromise with immorality and weakness had brought us to a time of lawlessness which must be arrested firmly and fairly. Either that or an admission that government by the people does not work and a slide into chaos and eventual dictatorship.

White American today is in even more dire straits than the Black minority.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: This is the second of a two-part editorial in the Greenfield Recorder published shortly after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr (April ,1968) The contrast between the hope of King's "I have a Dream" speech and his murder five years later is stark., The editors predict "widespread disorder" during the coming summer. In an election year they even predict the assassination of a Presidential candidate and suggest that the national party conventions "may be the scenes of blood baths." Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was killed a few months later in California and the Democratic convention in Chicago was the scene of bloody rioting.

 

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

publisher   Greenfield Recorder
date   Apr 6, 1968
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   4.0"
width   3.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L08.008


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See Also...

"Civil Rights Report" cartoon from Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"Black Tragedy-" editorial from Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"King's Dream Speech In 1963 Urged Full Rights For Negroes" article from Greenfield Recorder newspaper


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