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Rev. King Asks President Kennedy to Issue “Second Emancipation Proclamation”

Oct. 27, 1961 - The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called on President Kennedy today to take action to “free the Negro from all forms of slavery.” The integration told an audience of 340 persons at Columbia University that the President should act to initiate added civil rights legislation. “Morality can’t be legislated,” he said, “but behavior can be regulated. Our laws must control the effects of bad internal attitudes within the individual.” He said that Lincoln had freed the Negro from “the physical bonds of slavery by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.” Now, he said, Mr. Kennedy should issue “the second Emancipation Proclamation.”


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