“Where Do We Go From Here?” (August 16th 1967) was a speech Martin Luther King, Jr gave before the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
The civil rights reforms had not ended racism:
Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. Of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites. Thus, half of all Negroes live in substandard housing. And Negroes have half the income of whites. When we turn to the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share: There are twice as many unemployed; the rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites;
Three things still held blacks down:
- Being ashamed of being black:
Yes, I was a slave through my foreparents, and now I’m not ashamed of that. I’m ashamed of the people who were so sinful to make me a slave. Yes, yes, we must stand up and say, “I’m black, but I’m black and beautiful.” This, this self-affirmation is the black man’s need, made compelling by the white man’s crimes against him.
- Lack of economic and political power:
The plantation and the ghetto were created by those who had power, both to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness. Now the problem of transforming the ghetto, therefore, is a problem of power, a confrontation between the forces of power demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to the preserving of the status quo.
- The interrelated evils of racism, war and economic exploitation:
A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will “thingify” them and make them things. And therefore, they will exploit them and poor people generally economically. And a nation that will exploit economically will have to have foreign investments and everything else, and it will have to use its military might to protect them. All of these problems are tied together.
Black ghettos are domestic colonies – black dollars leave the ghetto to fill white pockets. Whites even make most of the money off of the garbage the ghetto creates! By boycotting and picketing white businesses, like Sealtest, King got them to keep money from leaving the ghetto: by hiring more black workers, by putting ads in black newspapers, by keeping money in black banks, etc.
There should be a guaranteed annual income:
John Kenneth Galbraith said that a guaranteed annual income could be done for about $20 billion a year. And I say to you today, that if our nation can spend $35 billion a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and $20 billion to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God’s children on their own two feet right here on earth.
As to black revolution, it lacks the mass support needed to succeed.
Race riots have not “won any concrete improvement such as have the organized protest demonstrations.”
Non-violence is still the answer:
Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.
- “Where Do We Go From Here” – read the full speech (7625 words)
- Martin Luther King Jr
- black ghetto
- internalized racism
- The 1967 Detroit Riot
- The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
- American racism against blacks