I must confess that that dream that I had that day has in many points turned into a nightmare. Now I’m not one to lose hope. I keep on hoping. I still have faith in the future. But I’ve had to analyze many things over the last few years and I would say over the last few months.

I’ve gone through a lot of soul-searching and agonizing moments. And I’ve come to see that we have many more difficulties ahead and some of the old optimism was a little superficial and now it must be tempered with a solid realism. And I think the realistic fact is that we still have a long, long way to go and we are involved in a war on Asian soil, which if not checked and stopped, can poison the very soul of our nation.

I’m not going to say that all of our problems will be solved if the war in Vietnam is ended, but I do say that the war makes it infinitely more difficult to deal with these problems.

When a nation becomes obsessed with the guns of war, it loses it social perspective and programs of social uplift suffer. This is just a fact of history, so that we do face many more difficulties as a result of the war. It’s much more difficult to really arouse a conscience during a time of war. That is something about a war like this that makes people insensitive. It dulls the conscience. It strengthens the forces of reaction. And it brings into being bitterness and hatred and violence.

I think the biggest problem now is we got our gains over the last 12 years at bargain rates, so to speak. It didn’t cost the nation anything. In fact, it helped the economic side of the nation to integrate lunch counters and public accommodations. It didn’t cost the nation anything to get the right to vote established. Now, we’re confronting issues that cannot be solved without costing the nation billions of dollars. Now I think this is where we’re getting our greatest resistance. They may put it on many other things, but we can’t get rid of slums and poverty without it costing the nation something.

I feel that nonviolence is really the only way that we can follow, cause violence is just so self-defeating. A riot ends up creating many more problems for the Negro community than it solves. You can through violence burn down a building, but you can’t establish justice. You can murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder through violence. You can murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate. And what we’re trying to get rid of is hate and injustice and all of these other things that continue the long night of man’s inhumanity to man.


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