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MLK Delivers Sermon in Atlanta: “The Power Structure of Birmingham is Disturbed”

May 5, 1963 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said today that Negro demonstrations in Birmingham had dramatized to the world the racial inequality in that city. He predicted that Negroes would win concessions there within a few days. “The power structure of Birmingham is disturbed,” he told the congregation at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. “And in a few days, we will have everything we are asking and maybe more.” “If we can crack Birmingham, I am convinced we can crack the South. Birmingham is a symbol of segregation for the entire South.” Dr. King made these remarks in a progress report to the congregation, of which he is a co-pastor with his father. The congregation responded with shouts of “you tell ‘em” and “Moses on earth!” After his sermon, Dr. King said: “This morning, some 1,200 boys and girls, men and women languish in filthy jails. We are engaged in a mighty challenge in that city, which is not the ‘magic’ city, as it likes to call itself, but a tragic city.” He denied that any of his followers had been involved in the rock-throwing that occurred during the demonstrations. “These are outsiders,” he said.

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