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Dr. King Pushes Desegregation Drive in Nashville

May 3, 1964 - The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King called tonight for a wave of demonstrations to make Nashville the first “totally desegregated” city in the South. “Now is the time to make Nashville an open city,” he told his audience.

The integration leader told 2,000 Negroes and whites at a rally that demonstrations that began in Nashville last week must continue until the city becomes “a total community for total freedom.”

Dr. King said demonstrators should set as a target passage of a local public accommodations law. He said such laws, barring discrimination in places of public accommodation, exist now only in border cities of the South.

Earlier today, Negroes turned out in apparently small numbers in response to an invitation by white clergymen to attend interracial services, aimed at easing tensions resulting from the demonstrations last week.

Dr. King said he was “happy to see Nashville on the march again” following a let-up in demonstrations last year, when most public facilities in the city were desegregated.

“You have said to the nation that you are fed up with the slow pace of desegregation,” he said.

Dr. King also attacked attempts by Southern members of the U.S. Senate to block the pending civil rights bill.

“There are 19 men committed to talking, talking, talking until the bill is so watered down is has no meaning,” he said.

He also aimed a blow at the Black Muslim organizations in America, warning that “the doctrine of black supremacy is as dangerous as the doctrine of white supremacy.”

Dr. King flew back to Atlanta after the address.

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