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MLK Predicts More Demonstrations

Mar. 15, 1964 - Dr. Martin Luther King predicted yesterday there would be enormous civil rights demonstrations throughout the country in 1964. He urged that they be nonviolent. Violence, he said, would play into the hands of “many opponents in the South who would be happy if we turned to violence.”

Dr. King’s call for “disciplined” demonstrations was made in an interview before he spoke to 2,500 members of the United Federation of Teachers at the Americana Hotel in New York City.

In his speech, Dr. King said that race relations had reached a crisis, but he was certain that “the white majority was willing to meet the Negro halfway.”

His advocacy of nonviolence was a stand opposite that taken by Malcolm X, leader of the Black nationalists, who believes that violence is the only language the white man understands. Dr. King characterized Malcolm X’s “call to arms” as “ineffective and immoral.” He said he would probably talk to Malcolm X and try to dissuade him.

“Actually,” he said, “I dislike discussing violence because sometimes discussion itself leads to it. I believe that the struggle ahead will be of massive proportions, but it will be nonviolent and disciplined because the Negro, not necessarily all Negroes, have come to see that nonviolence is the best strategy.”

He contended that white people had misjudged the mood of the Negro. “It is one of frustration and determination, but this determination does not have to express itself in violence,” he said.

As to the Senate debate on the civil rights bill, Dr. King thought those favoring the bill should “wear down the filibusterers.” He suggested “dramatic community filibusters” to draw attention to the issues and, if necessary, sit-ins on the doorsteps of some Congressmen “to expose them to the nation.”

Charles Cogen, president of the teachers’ federation, presented Dr. King with the John Dewey Award, which is conferred annually to outstanding citizens who have aided education.


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