July 19, 1962 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today became the first American Negro to address the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Dr. King expounded the merits of non-violent civil disobedience. At the end of his speech, he received a standing ovation. The beauty of the nonviolent drive to wipe out racial barriers at lunch counters, libraries, swimming pools, and other institutions, Dr. King said, is that it can be founded on love, not hate. “Hate is always tragic,” he said. “It is as injurious to the hater as to the hated. It distorts the personality and scars the soul. Psychiatrists tell us that many of the inner conflicts and strange things that happen in the subconscious are rooted in hate. So they are saying, ‘Love or perish.’ You can struggle without hating; you can fight war without violence.” It is true, he said that sometimes he and his followers have broken laws. But there are just laws, he said, and then there are unjust ones that a moral person should violate, and then accept the penalty. “What was more in line with civil disobedience than the Boston tea party?” he asked.
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