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Martin Luther King Announces Vote Registration Drive

Sept. 25, 1961 - The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said today that a campaign to double the number of Negro voters in the South this fall was underway and would be pressed hard. He said there would be "stand-ins by hundreds of people who will present their bodies and lives at places of registration." He said he expected opposition, but that hundreds of students had been mobilized in rural and city areas in the campaign. He said that, of 5 million Negroes in Southern states eligible to vote, only 1,300,000 were registered. He conceded that some were too lazy or unconcerned to register. But, he added, "thousands and millions faced external resistance to their registration." He said that the campaign to register and vote was not one of "hate and violence" but a determination to be free. "We are willing to suffer, sacrifice, and die, if necessary, to make that freedom a reality," he said.


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