Monday, January 21, 2008

Sleep, Sleep tonight...

Below is an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” The letter is a response to a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen on April 12, 1963 titled "A Call For Unity" which agreed that social injustices were taking place but expressed the belief that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts and not taken onto the streets.

Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown you brothers and sisters at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million negro brothers smothering in an air tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you…seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky and see her distorting her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs that read “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and you last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title of “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never knowing quite what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” – then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait…

2 comments:

The MAN Fan Club said...

That's not from the U2 song is it?

billy v said...

The title of the blog is the first line of the U2 song "MLK", good call.