I have been dismayed at the degree to which abysmal ignorance

…seems to prevail among many state, city and even federal officials on the whole question of racial justice and injustice. Particularly, I have found that these men seriously—and dangerously—underestimate the explosive mood of the Negro and the gravity of the crisis. Even among those whom I would consider to be both sympathetic and sincerely intellectually committed, there is a lamentable lack of understanding… Apart from bigots and backlashers, it seems to be a malady even among those whites who like to regard themselves as “enlightened.” I would especially refer to those who counsel, “Wait!” and to those who say that they sympathize with our goals but cannot condone our methods of direct-action pursuit of those goals. – MLK, Playboy, January 1965, “A Candid Conversation With The Nobel Prize-Winning Leader of The Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. Interviewed By Alex Haley”

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“Time itself is only neutral”

I feel that the time is always right to do what is right…(Whites) seem to cherish a strange, irrational notion that something in the very flow of time will cure all ills. In truth, time itself is only neutral. Increasingly, I feel that time has been used destructively by people of ill will much more than it has been used constructively by those of good will. – MLK, Playboy, January 1965, “A Candid Conversation With The Nobel Prize-Winning Leader of The Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. Interviewed By Alex Haley”

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Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Negro is sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to him those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America? I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the Negro for his freedom. This continued arrogant ladling out of pieces of the rights of citizenship has begun to generate a fury in the Negro. – MLK, Playboy, January 1965, “A Candid Conversation With The Nobel Prize-Winning Leader of The Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. Interviewed By Alex Haley”

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I don’t feel that the Civil Rights Act has gone far enough in some of its coverage.

In the first place, it needs a stronger voting section. You will never have a true democracy until you can eliminate all restrictions. We need to do away with restrictive literacy tests. I’ve seen too much of native intelligence to accept the validity of these tests as a criterion for voting qualifications. Our nation needs a universal method of voter registration—one man, one vote, literally. Second, there is a pressing, urgent need to give the attorney general the right to initiate federal suits in any area of civil rights denial. Third, we need a strong and strongly enforced fair-housing section such as many states already have. … Fourth, we need an extension of FEPC to grapple more effectively with the problems of poverty. Not only are millions of Negroes caught in the clutches of poverty, but millions of poor whites as well. And fifth, conclusive and effective measures must be taken immediately at the federal level to curb the worsening reign of terror in the South—which is aided and abetted, as everyone knows, by state and local law-enforcement agencies. It’s getting so that anybody can kill a Negro and get away with it in the South, as long as they go through the motions of a jury trial. There is very little chance of conviction from lily-white Southern jurors. It must be fixed so that in the case of interracial murder, the federal government can prosecute. – MLK, Playboy, January 1965, “A Candid Conversation With The Nobel Prize-Winning Leader of The Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. Interviewed By Alex Haley”

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Nonviolence is a weapon fabricated of love.

It is a sword that heals. Our nonviolent direct-action program has as its objective not the creation of tensions, but the surfacing of tensions already present. We set out to precipitate a crisis situation that must open the door to negotiation. I am not afraid of the words “crisis” and “tension.” I deeply oppose violence, but constructive crisis and tension are necessary for growth. Innate in all life, and all growth, is tension. Only in death is there an absence of tension. To cure injustices, you must expose them before the light of human conscience and the bar of public opinion, regardless of whatever tensions that exposure generates. – MLK, Playboy, January 1965, “A Candid Conversation With The Nobel Prize-Winning Leader of The Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. Interviewed By Alex Haley”

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Wherever the early Christians appeared,

…spreading Christ’s doctrine of love, the resident power structure accused them of being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But the small Christian band continued to teach and exemplify love, convinced that they were “a colony of heaven” on this earth who were missioned to obey not man but God. – MLK, Playboy, January 1965, “A Candid Conversation With The Nobel Prize-Winning Leader of The Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. Interviewed By Alex Haley”

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We should not forget that, although nonviolent direct action did not originate in America, it found a natural home where it has been a revered tradition to rebel against injustice. This great weapon, which we first tried out in Montgomery during the bus boycott, has been further developed throughout the South over the past decade, until by today it has become instrumental in the greatest mass-action crusade for freedom that has occurred in America since the Revolutionary War. The effectiveness of this weapon’s ability to dramatize, in the world’s eyes, an oppressed people’s struggle for justice is evident in the fact that of 1963’s top ten news stories after the assassination of President Kennedy and the events immediately connected with it, nine stories dealt with one aspect or another of the Negro struggle. – MLK, Playboy, January 1965, “A Candid Conversation With The Nobel Prize-Winning Leader of The Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. Interviewed By Alex Haley”

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