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The King Center: book and audio

Volume 3: Birth of a New Age,
December 1955-December 1956

Transcriptions are intended to reproduce the source document accurately, adhering to the exact wording and punctuation of the original. In general, errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar have been neither corrected nor indicated by [sic].

"Quotable Quotes from Rev. King"

31 March 1956
New York, N.Y.

In one of his first speeches in the North since the beginning of the boycott, King addressed an enthusiastic capacity crowd of 2,500 at Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn. Sponsored by the Brooklyn chapter of the National Association of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, the 25 March mass meeting featured brief remarks by a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, and the president of the City Council. King notes his long friendship with a leader of Brooklyn's religious community. "I'm glad to see Rev. Sandy Ray out there," He says. "You know, for years he was 'Uncle Sandy' to me. In fact, I did not know he was not related to me by blood until I was 12 years old." (Ray was a college friend of King, Sr., and pastor of Bedford-Stuyvesant's Cornerstone Baptist Church). King argues against William Faulkner's admonition that integrationists "stop now for a moment." "We can't slow up," he declares, "and have our dignity and self-respect." At the end of the meeting, Rev. Gardner Taylor, pastor of the church, asked for the collection, which "was taken up in waste baskets, cake boxes, cartons, cooking utensils, and other containers," yielding more than $4,000 for the MIA.

Here are some quotable quotes from the address delivered by Rev. Martin Luther King in Brooklyn Sunday:

"I do not come here with a message of bitterness, hate or despair." "I come with a message of love and a message of hope.

"Press on and keep pressing. If you can't fly, run; if you can't run, walk; if you can't walk--"CRAWL."

"We can't slow up." "We can't slow up and have our dignity and self respect." "We can't slow up because of our love for democracy and our love for America. Someone should tell Faulkner that the vast majority of the people on this globe are colored.

"In our generation something has happened to the Negro. He has decided to reevaluate himself and he is coming to see that he is somebody.

"He has come to realize that every man, from a bass black to a treble white is significant on God's keyboard.

"There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of frustration. Today's expression in Montgomery is the expression of 50,000 people who are tired of being pushed around.

"Yes, there are tensions in the South. But the tension we experience there is due to the revolutionary reevaluation of the Negro by himself.

"You can't understand the Montgomery situation unless you understand that the Negro has a new sense of dignity, a new realization of his own worth.

"Dixie has a heart all right. But it's having a little heart trouble right now.

"Montgomery is known as the Cradle of the Confederacy. It has been a quiet cradle for a long, long time, but now the cradle is rocking.

PD. New York Amsterdam News, 31 March 1956.

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 © The Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.