The Autobiography of Martin Luther King: Chapters 19-20
In Birmingham, the most racially segregated city in the world, one of the most amazing things happened: desegregation began to unfold.
When King was released from jail, the SCLC began a new series of demonstrations that included children who would volunteer. While the youngsters who volunteered would also be arrested and imprisoned, many youngsters were willing to sacrifice in
order to bring change.
One young man said this to his father: “Daddy, I don't want to disobey you, but I have made my pledge. If you try to keep me home, I will sneak off. If you think I deserve to be punished for that, I'll just have to take the punishment. For, you see, I'm not doing this only because I want to be free. I'm doing it also because I want freedom for you and Mama, and I want it to come before you die.” (Pg. 207)
King and the rest of the civil right leaders soon found themselves sitting in a meeting with a community of government officials in order to come to an agreement. The agreement contained these pledges:
1. the desegregation of lunch counters, rest rooms, fitting rooms, and drinking fountains.
2. The upgrading and hiring of Negroes on a nondiscriminatory basis throughout the industrial community of Birmingham.
3. official cooperation with the movement leaders in working out the release of all jailed persons on bond or on their personal recognizance.
4. Through the Senior Citizen's Committee or Chamber of Commerce, communicate between Negro ad white to be publicly established. (Pg. 214)
As Birmingham began to be effected by the Civil Rights movement, there soon became national attention. The leaders were now planning the March on Washington, which would the largest assembly to be assembled in the United States. When referring to the March, King wrote this:
“The enormous multitude was the living, beating heart of an indefinitely nobel movement. It was an army without guns, but not without strength. It was an army into which no one had to be drafted. It was white, and Negro, and of all ages. It had adherents of every faith, members of class, every profession, every political party, united by a single idea. It was a fighting army, but no one could mistake that its most powerful weapon is love.” (Pg. 222)
It was here that King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech, which many believe changed the hearts of a nation.
Anthony K. Giesick
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