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Dr. Martin Luther King Decries Infighting in Civil Rights Movement

July 5, 1962 - The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said today that civil rights leaders had been “enticed into self-serving statements and borderline slander” about each other. Dr. King, who is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), said he favored a free exchange of fair criticism. But he warned against efforts by “outside forces” to stimulate rancor among the leaders of the movement. “The demands of today are too great and the issues are too serious for any of us to be involved in ego battles and trivial organizational conflicts,” he said at a meeting of the convention of the NAACP in Atlanta. Observers regarded the address as the first significant public attempt to end the sometimes bitter rivalry that has cropped up between the NAACP, the SCLC, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

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