MLK was counting on “The Supreme Court” and other “Outsiders”

From my notes the SCLC SCOPE Orientation in Atlanta in early June 1965, paraphrasing what King said about the pending 1965 Voting Rights Act:  I was 19 years old at the time.)

In the evening, the event we had all been waiting for occurred. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came into town. He rode in a parade, headed by a band of small boys beating drums. Wherever he goes hoards of people follow him. He is indeed the leader of The Movement. When he rose to speak a hush fell over the audience. He didn’t yell and he didn’t shout but what he said gripped our hearts, and our souls and our minds. This is par to what he said: History is being made here. It is the students who are making history now. People have reached the end of their patience. With non-violence we found a new ally for freedom that black and white together can use. New York has abolished the death penalty and taken strong civil rights measures because of student nonviolent pressure. SCLC believes in the value of student groups and for this reason has organized SCOPE. We are here because we are humanitarians and patriots. The depreciation of the Negro has affected our nation drastically. The older generation is lost because it hasn’t achieved democracy. We are the Hopeful Generation because we can face the racists in Montgomery. The 1965 Voting Rights Bill will give government sanction to “outsiders.” The Supreme Court and Washington, DC are outsiders. People say it is sacrilege to use churches for civil rights meetings, but Thomas Paine and Paul Revere used churches. SCOPE workers are wanted and needed by the community. If people say you are crazy—maybe they are right . . . but it is “creative maladjustment.” Don’t be satisfied with less than Freedom. © Maria Gitin, all rights reserved

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