I Could Be Yhe One [PATCHED]
We aren't going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces; they don't know what to do, I've seen them so often. I remember in Birmingham, Alabama, when we were in that majestic struggle there we would move out of the 16th Street Baptist Church day after day; by the hundreds we would move out. And Bull Connor would tell them to send the dogs forth and they did come; but we just went before the dogs singing, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me round." Bull Connor next would say, "Turn the fire hoses on." And as I said to you the other night, Bull Connor didn't know history. He knew a kind of physics that somehow didn't relate to the transphysics that we knew about. And that was the fact that there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. And we went before the fire hoses; we had known water. If we were Baptist or some other denomination, we had been immersed. If we were Methodist, and some others, we had been sprinkled, but we knew water.
I Could Be Yhe One
That couldn't stop us. And we just went on before the dogs and we would look at them; and we'd go on before the water hoses and we would look at it, and we'd just go on singing "Over my head I see freedom in the air." And then we would be thrown in the paddy wagons, and sometimes we were stacked in there like sardines in a can. And they would throw us in, and old Bull would say, "Take them off," and they did; and we would just go in the paddy wagon singing, "We Shall Overcome." And every now and then we'd get in the jail, and we'd see the jailers looking through the windows being moved by our prayers, and being moved by our words and our songs. And there was a power there which Bull Connor couldn't adjust to; and so we ended up transforming Bull into a steer, and we won our struggle in Birmingham.
Now we've got to go on to Memphis just like that. I call upon you to be with us Monday. Now about injunctions: We have an injunction and we're going into court tomorrow morning to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.
And I want to commend the preachers, under the leadership of these noble men: James Lawson, one who has been in this struggle for many years; he's been to jail for struggling; but he's still going on, fighting for the rights of his people. Rev. Ralph Jackson, Billy Kiles; I could just go right on down the list, but time will not permit. But I want to thank them all. And I want you to thank them, because so often, preachers aren't concerned about anything but themselves. And I'm always happy to see a relevant ministry.
Now the other thing we'll have to do is this: Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. Now, we are poor people, individually, we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively, that means all of us together, collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine. Did you ever think about that? After you leave the United States, Soviet Russia, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and I could name the others, the Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That's power right there, if we know how to pool it.
Experts estimate that SSHL strikes between one and six people per 5,000 every year, but the actual number of new SSHL cases each year could be much higher because SSHL often goes undiagnosed. SSHL can happen to people at any age, but most often affects adults in their late 40s and early 50s.
With pure tone audiometry, your doctor can measure how loud different frequencies, or pitches, of sounds need to be before you can hear them. One sign of SSHL could be the loss of at least 30 decibels (decibels are a measure of sound intensity) in three connected frequencies within 72 hours. This drop would, for example, make conversational speech sound like a whisper. Patients may have more subtle, sudden changes in their hearing and may be diagnosed with other tests.
Another argument against waiting is that the protection from a booster shot is not instantaneous. "It does take a few weeks for our immune systems to be primed," says Dr. Aniruddha Hazra, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago. He says it could be risky to wait until a surge is already underway.
Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, andwespeedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that theCommissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be inthe run off,we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that thedemonstrations couldnot be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated,and to thisend we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, wefeltthat our direct action program could be delayed no longer.
You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn'tnegotiation abetter path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the verypurpose of directaction. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tensionthat acommunity which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. Itseeks so todramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension aspart of thework of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I amnot afraid ofthe word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type ofconstructive,nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it wasnecessary to create atension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and halftruths to theunfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need fornonviolentgadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the darkdepths ofprejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that itwillinevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call fornegotiation. Toolong has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologuerather thandialogue.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the whitereligiousleadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moralconcern, wouldserve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. Ihad hopedthat each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.
Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over thelaxity ofthe church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deepdisappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I dootherwise? I am inthe rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson ofpreachers. Yes, Isee the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that bodythroughsocial neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricablybound tothe status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the innerspiritualchurch, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. Butagain I amthankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have brokenloose fromthe paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle forfreedom. Theyhave left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us.They havegone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone tojail withus. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishopsand fellowministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than eviltriumphant. Theirwitness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel inthese troubledtimes. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even ifthechurch does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have nofear about theoutcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood.We willreach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal ofAmerica isfreedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America'sdestiny. Beforethe pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched themajestic wordsof the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For morethan twocenturies our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; theybuilt thehomes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yetout of abottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible crueltiesof slavery couldnot stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom becausethe sacredheritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that hastroubledme profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and"preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force ifyou hadseen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you wouldso quicklycommend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroesherein the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negrogirls; ifyou were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observethem, asthey did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our gracetogether. Icannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department. 041b061a72