June 1966, Jackson, Mississippi, USA — Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to a crowd at the March Against Fear rally on the steps of the Mississippi State Capitol. The march began in Memphis, Tennessee, by James Meredith, the first African American student at the University of Mississippi. — Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

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