Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.- Letter from Birmingham Jail
(Written while he was alone and isolated in Birmingham jail.)
Let us march on ballot boxes, march on ballot boxes until race-baiters disappear from the political arena.
Let us march on ballot boxes until the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs will be transformed into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens.
Let us march on ballot boxes until the Wallaces of our nation tremble away in silence.
Let us march on ballot boxes until we send to our city councils, state legislatures, and the United States Congress, men who will not fear to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.
Let us march on ballot boxes until brotherhood becomes more than a meaningless word in an opening prayer, but the order of the day on every legislative agenda.
Let us march on ballot boxes until all over Alabama God’s children will be able to walk the earth in decency and honor. There is nothing wrong with marching in this sense. – How Long, Not Long
(Martin gave this speech on the steps of the State Capital in Montgomery, Alabama after the successful completion of the Selma to Montgomery March on 25th of March 1965.)
Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds.
- Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.
- Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.
- Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home.
- Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.
- Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.
- Let us be dissatisfied until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin. Let us be dissatisfied.
- Let us be dissatisfied until every state capitol will be housed by a governor who will do justly, who will love mercy, and who will walk humbly with his God.
Let us be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. Let us be dissatisfied until that day when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid. Let us be dissatisfied. And men will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout “White Power!” — when nobody will shout “Black Power!” — but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power. –Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
(Written while living in isolation in Jamaica, this book is an assessment of the priorities that America has and a warning that they needed to be re-ordered and more. Dr. King also addressed “the deep questions” – Who are we? Who are we meant to be? This question of identity is something that “America” still struggles with. )