Friday, February 24, 2017

the last book I ever read (Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning, excerpt ten)

from the 2016 National Book Award winner for Nonfiction Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi:

On April 3, 1963, King helped kick off a spate of demonstrations in Birmingham, bringing on the wrath of the city’s ruggedly segregationist police chief, “Bull” Conner [sp]. Nine days later, on Good Friday, eight White anti-segregationist Alabama clergymen signed a public statement requesting that these “unwise and untimely” street demonstrations cease and be “pressed in the courts.” Martin Luther King Jr., jailed that same day, read the statement from his cell. Incited, he started doing something he rarely did. He responded to critics in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” published far and wide that summer. King attacked not only those Alabama preachers, but also the applauding audience of Beyond the Melting Pot. He confessed that he had “almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom” was not the segregationist,” but the white moderate . . . who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom.” King explained that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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