Persistence of Vision

Why We Can’t Wait - The Days to Come
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963

   “The pattern of future action must be examined not only from the standpoint of the strengths inherent in the civil-rights movement, but simultaneously from a study of the resistance we have yet to face. While we can celebrate that the civil-rights movement has come of age, we must also recognize that the basic recalcitrance of the South has yet been broken. True, substantial progress has been made: It is deeply significant that a powerful financial and industrial force has emerged in some southern regions, which is prepared to tolerate change in order to avoid costly chaos.

   This group in turn permits the surfacing of middle-class elements who are further splitting the monolithic front of segregation. Southern church, labor and human relations groups today articulate sentiments that only yesterday would have been pronounced treasonable in the region. Nevertheless, a deeply entrenched social force, convinced that it need yield nothing of substantial importance, continues to dominate southern life. And even in the North, the will to preserve the status quo maintains a rocklike hardness underneath the cosmetic surface.

   In order to assure that the work of democracy so well begun in the summer of 1963 will move forward steadily in the seasons to come, the Negro freedom movement will need to secure and extend its alliances with like-mined groups in the larger community. Already, in the complex dilemma of fast-paced progress and persistent poverty, the Negro has emerged as a dissatisfied, vibrant and powerful element, armed with a method for articulating and acting out his protest. His example has not gone unobserved by others, of all races, who live in equally desperate circumstances.

   Inevitably, before long, a broad-based legion of the deprived, white and Negro, will coalesce and restructure an old order based too long on injustice.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a clergyman and author. Born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, he holds degrees from several universities, including Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, Boston University and Howard University. Dr. King is the author of Stride Toward Freedom and is a frequent contributor to national, as well as religious, periodicals. ‪#‎civilrights‬