MLK: A Riot Is The Language Of The Unheard

Source: 60 Minutes / CBS News

This weekend commemorates the 50th anniversary not just of one of the greatest speeches in American history — Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” — but also an important turning point in the civil rights movement, when a quarter of a million people marched on Washington, D.C., to demand equality for African Americans.

Three years later in 1966, in an interview with Mike Wallace, Dr. King continued to stress the path of non-violence, despite a summer of violence. Race riots were taking place across the country, and rifts in the civil rights movement were widening. Militant leaders – like Stokely Carmichael and his call for “black power” — demanded that the movement part from Dr. King’s gospel.

Despite such pressure, Dr. King would not budge. He told Mike:

I contend that the cry of “black power” is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.

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