Thursday, January 31, 2013

Texas Prosecutor Killed


Prosecutor Shot to Death In a Town Near Dallas
By LAUREN D’AVOLIO and MANNY FERNANDEZ
Published: January 31, 2013

KAUFMAN, Tex. — A county prosecutor in this small town southeast of Dallas was fatally shot on Thursday morning near the courthouse by one or perhaps two gunmen, whom witnesses described as wearing masks, black clothing and tactical-style vests, the authorities said.

The prosecutor, Mark E. Hasse, worked in the Kaufman County district attorney’s office in Kaufman, a town of 6,800 people about 35 miles from Dallas. He was shot several times shortly before 9 a.m. as he walked in an employee parking lot about a block from the courthouse.

The authorities said the suspect or suspects got out of a Ford Taurus, opened fire on Mr. Hasse and then returned to the car and drove away. Investigators were trying to determine why Mr. Hasse was targeted and if the shooting had anything to do with cases he had prosecuted.

“I’ve been doing this 43 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said David A. Byrnes, the Kaufman County sheriff.

Mr. Hasse, 57, was the county’s lead felony prosecutor and a well-respected assistant district attorney. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and in the 1980s served as a prosecutor in the Dallas County district attorney’s office, where he had been the chief of the organized-crime section.

Kaufman County prosecutors have been involved in investigations of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas prison gang. In November, federal officials in Houston thanked a number of local agencies for their work — including Kaufman County prosecutors — when more than 30 senior leaders and other members of the gang were indicted on federal racketeering charges.

Officials said they were reviewing Mr. Hasse’s current cases — as many as 400 of them — and previous ones for leads.

Lawyers and prosecutors throughout North Texas were stunned by the attack. The Dallas County district attorney, Craig Watkins, sent an e-mail encouraging his employees to exercise caution.

“There’s a lot of shock,” said David Finn, a criminal defense lawyer in Dallas and former federal prosecutor who knew Mr. Hasse. “Where this happened, it’s not New York City or Dallas or L.A. or Chicago. This is a very, very, very small community, and for this to happen out there, it’s a huge deal. It’s incredibly brazen.”
The Kaufman County district attorney, Mike McLelland, said his office had suffered a devastating loss. “Mark was an excellent friend and a spectacular prosecutor,” he said.

After the shooting, the Kaufman County Courthouse went into lockdown and then was closed as officers and agents from local, state and federal agencies searched the streets nearby.

Area schools, including the campuses of the Kaufman Independent School District, were also placed on lockdown.

Lauren D’Avolio reported from Kaufman, and Manny Fernandez from Houston. Clifford Krauss contributed reporting from Houston.



Kaufman Co. Asst. DA Mark Hasse Likely Targeted in Fatal Shooting: Police
$36,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest, conviction of gunman

By Frank Heinz  Thursday, Jan 31, 2013  |  Updated 7:36 PM CS

Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down Thursday morning in what appears to be a targeted attack, police say.

Hasse was shot multiple times while walking from the parking lot toward the county courthouse at about 8 a.m., officials said. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.

When asked if Hasse appeared to have been targeted by his attacker, Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said, "I would say from all appearances it is. But we have no concrete information on that. We're pursuing every avenue right now."

"We suffered a devastating loss today. We lost a really, really good man. He was an excellent friend and a spectacular prosecutor. He will not be easily replaced. He will be sorely missed by everybody in the office," said Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney Mike McLelland. "I hope that the people that did this are watching because we are very confident that we are going to find you, pull you out of whatever hole you're in, bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

Chris Aulbaugh, the Kaufman Chief of Police, said no official arrests have been made in connection with the shooting but that they are following up on several leads, including multiple witness reports from various angles around the crime scene.

Agents with the ATF, FBI, the Texas Rangers and State Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety are at the scene assisting local and county law enforcement with the investigation.

Police said witnesses have reported two shooters wearing all black, one or both of them possibly wearing a tactical-type vest, and driving an older, silver Ford Taurus. Aulbaugh said they have not yet confirmed that there were two people involved in the shooting and if the shooter(s) were wearing a tactical jacket as described.
Police taped off the parking lot near the Tax Assessor/Collectors office, which is near the courthouse and is commonly used by judges and prosecutors. Officers later expanded the taped-off area to include two city blocks. Several streets around the courthouse and parking lot are closed as the shooting is investigated.

Investigators said they were not aware of any threats made toward Hasse and that they didn't know of any cases that might explain the shooting, but that Hasse was aware of the dangers associated with his profession.

"Mark was fully aware of the dangers of this job. He accepted them readily and was, as I said before, an absolutely stellar prosecutor and good friend," said McLelland. "Tell the people that they have lost an outstanding man who will not be easily replaced."
Eric Smenner, a friend of Hasse's, told NBC 5's Scott Gordon that while it was too soon to say what may have led to the shooting, Hasse had dealt with cases involving methamphetamine in the county, gangs and white supremacist groups. He described Hasse as a hard-working lawyer who “loved to tell stories” and often put dangerous criminals behind bars.

Tonya Radcliffe, a board member on the Kaufman County Appraisal District whose office is adjacent to the scene of the shooting, said a staff member heard the gunshots and called police. Radcliffe said she and her staff of about 25 are in the building and under lockdown.

During the early stages of the investigation, a hospital, several schools and county buildings, including the Tax Assessor/Collector's office, were locked down as a precaution.  With Thursday being the last day for people to pay property taxes without a penalty, officials advised Kaufman County residents that they could still pay taxes using the county's pay by phone option or make payments in person at sub-courthouses and drop boxes.

A 36,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman is being offered with $10,000 coming from Kaufman County Crime Stoppers, $10,000 from a local Kaufman business and donations continue to pour in from local businesses. As always, tipsters may remain anonymous. More information on the investigation and reward are expected to be revealed after a 3 p.m. news conference.

Anyone with information is asked to call Kaufman County Crime Stoppers at 1-877-TIPS-KCC.

Editor's Note: Greenville ISD was under lockdown due to a search for robbery suspects. The lockdown was not related to the Kaufman County shooting.

NBC 5's Randy McIlwain, Scott Gordon, Ken Kalthoff, Keaton Fox and Deborah Ferguson contributed to this report. We will continue to update this story with more information as soon as it's available. As this story is developing, elements may change.

Texas prosecutor gunned down; manhunt for 2 suspects
John Bacon and William M. Welch, USA TODAY
7:26 EST January 31, 2013


A manhunt was underway for two suspects after an assistant district attorney was gunned down Thursday outside a courthouse in Kaufman, Texas.

Mark Hasse, 57, was walking from a parking lot toward the Kaufman County Courthouse annex when he was shot multiple times just before 9 a.m., Kaufman County spokeswoman Pat Laney said.

Kaufman, Texas

Pat Laney, spokeswoman for the Kaufman sheriff's department, said late Thursday that no arrests had been made in the case. She said earlier reports of an arrest were in error. The Dallas Morning News had reported that Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said he understood there had been an arrest.

Hasse headed many county drug and murder cases. Shortly after the shooting, Sheriff David Byrnes said the killing was an attack on the criminal justice system."This is the next level (of crime)," he said.
Security officers and deputies closed nearby streets in Kaufman, a North Texas town of about 6,700 residents less than 40 miles from Dallas. Kaufman schools were put on lockdown.

Hasse's death raises the larger issue of security for prosecutors who are responsible sending criminals to prison, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said.
Watkins says he's most concerned that people who are out on bail and awaiting trial will target him as the face of the office or his prosecutors.

"These are people who are on the front line," said Watkins, who leads an office of 250 prosecutors. "Why isn't there security? We have a lot of individuals who have ill will toward our profession. Maybe this unfortunate circumstance will provide a wakeup call for those individuals who do hold the purse strings to make sure we're protected."

Hasse began his career as a prosecutor in Dallas County in 1982 after graduating from Southern Methodist University's law school. He worked as a prosecutor in Dallas until 1988, Watkins said. Although Watkins did not know Hasse, he said he had a reputation as a "very thorough and tough prosecutor."

Lawyer James Lee Bright told the Morning News he arrived at the courthouse just as officers began swarming the scene.

"Within two or three minutes, the whole square was literally flooded with officers," Bright said. He said he saw a woman shaking as she told a bailiff she had witnessed the shooting.

People were allowed to leave the building in groups, depending on where they were parked, he told the Morning News.

"When you hear a DA at 8:40 in the morning is gunned down by two people, I think there's a reasonable presumption that it's not random," Bright said.

Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood said the courthouse remained closed and it would be up to the sheriff to determine when it would reopen.

Wood told the Morning News he saw Hasse every day in the courthouse hallways.
"He was revered and he did an outstanding job," Wood said. "We see each other every day. … It's a very small courthouse."

"It's a horrible situation," Wood told the Morning News. "None of us would have ever expected anything like this to ever happen in our county."

The Morning News is reporting that "authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA's caseload say he had been heavily involved in the investigation of members of the Aryan Brotherhood."

The shooting took place hours before two members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas pleaded guilty in Houston to racketeering and other charges. The pleas were part of a wide-ranging investigation that included the Kaufman County District Attorney's office.
A probe is underway to determine if the shooting is connected to that investigation, the Morning News says.

The U.S. Justice Department announced those guilty pleas in a statement released Thursday.

The statement claims the brotherhood "enforced its rules and promoted discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, arson, assault, robbery and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the enterprise. Members, and oftentimes associates, were required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as 'direct orders.'"
The Morning News says Hasse was chief of the Dallas County district attorney's organized-crime section from 1985 until 1988 and a former president of the Dallas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In 1995, he suffered a skull fracture when his small plane crashed in Luray, Va. The Morning News says Hasse was flying the lead plane in "Freedom Flight America," a cross-country convoy of hundreds of planes commemorating the end of World War II. He was flying at AT-6 Texan, a World War II-era training aircraft.

His death led to warnings elsewhere. WFAA-TV in Dallas reports that the email below was sent by the Dallas County DA to his staff:

"This message is not intended to scare anyone but please be advised. A Kaufman County prosecutor was fatally shot a few minutes ago outside the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. Two masked gunmen are the suspects. They have not been apprehended yet.
Please be aware of your surroundings when leaving the building for your safety. This is probably an isolated incident but until further notice if you plan to work past dark today please be careful and ask security for assistance escorting you to your vehicles if needed. I will keep you informed as to the arrest of the suspects when I am notified. Don't panic but please be aware of your environment when leaving the building."

Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said the shooting would have a major impact on Kaufman.

"Any loss of life, especially someone out there protecting the community, would have that effect," he said.

Contributing: Doug Stanglin, Donna Leinwand Leger; Associated Press

12:11 PM
Update on the shooting in Kaufman County: Police and other law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers, are hunting for two suspects in the death of an assistant district attorney, who was shot multiple times while walking from his car to his office. http://d-news.co/hiKIP

UPDATE: Kaufman police chief, D.A. say Craig Watkins ‘made a mistake,’ no arrest made in Mark Hasse’s killing



Update at 5:04 p.m. from Ray Leszcynski: Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh, County Sheriff David Byrnes and District Attorney Mike McLelland took a break from their own press conference to look in to media reports that an arrest had been made in Dallas.

“There has not been an arrest made yet on this offense,” Aulbaugh said upon reconvening. “Our D.A. has been on a phone call to the Dallas DA’s office.”

Mark Hasse (Courtesy Kaufman County)

McClellan said that apparently Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins was doing an interview and inadvertently referenced that there had been an arrest made in the shooting of Mark Hasse.

“He made a mistake during that interview,” McLellan said.

The Kaufman County DA’s office will remain closed Friday, according to County Judge Bruce Bell. But other county offices will reopen, including the courthouse and other downtown properties and the county library that was closed Thursday on the outskirts of town.

“The plans are to open so that we’re back to operating as normal as soon as possible,” Byrnes said.

For the foreseeable future, however, uniformed personnel will work the parking lot a block east of the courthouse during times when employees are typically coming to or leaving from work.

McLelland said that walk would be different.

“But we’ll still make the walk. We’ll show up for work and send bad guys out of Kaufman County every chance we get.”

They thanked and vowed continued use of many resources, the Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, FBI, DPS, and Texas Rangers, as well as the city police who are heading the investigation and the county sheriff’s department and constables.

“We’re in the process of running down many leads right now,” Byrnes said. They have several leads but declined to discuss them at this point.

Kaufman County Crime Stoppers and a local business have combined to offer $20,000 for information leading an arrest and conviction in the case. 1-877-TIPSKCC (1-877-847-7522).

Several people who heard shots or were nearby have been interviewed and those interviews are being pieced together, officials said.

It was confirmed that much of the parking lot is visible from a camera across the street on the roof of the county tax office, but it was also confirmed that the video had been reviewed and was of little help in the investigation.

Byrnes and Aulbaugh confirmed that the crime had the look of a “hit,” that Hasse was specifically targeted.

“But we can’t definitely say that it was a hit,” or that Hasse was targeted, Aulbaugh said. “We’re pursuing all possibilities.”

McLelland confirmed that his department had worked Aryan Brotherhood cases in the last two years but said each of the 13 attorneys in his office has 380-390 cases at a time, that as far he knew Hasse was not currently working an Aryan Brotherhood case and that it was too early to narrow the focus. Aulbaugh also said at this time there is no indication any prison gang was involved.

Hasse was said to be armed, typically, but it was unknown whether he was carrying a gun on Thursday when he was assaulted on the walk to the office after he’d parked his vehicle.

“It’s apparent he was not expecting to have anything happen,” Byrnes said. “He was on his way to his office.”
His boss did not know of any reason Hasse would have a heightened sense of worry prior to the assault.

“Mark was fully aware of the dangers. He accepted them readily,” McLelland said. “It was simply the nature of the beast to be working and dealing with bad, bad people on a regular basis.”

McLelland spoke personably about Hasse, who had worked for the office for about three years.

Kaufman County, the state of Texas and especially my office suffered a devastating loss,” he said. “We lost a really good man. He was an excellent friend and a spectacular prosecutor.

“I hope that the people that did this are watching. Because we’re confident we’re going to find you, pull you out of whatever hole you’re in, bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the full extent of the law.”

McLelland said Byrnes, 57, left no wife or children. He did just bought a house in Kaufman County and had started working on it.

Updated at 4:18 p.m.: Debbie Denmon, a spokeswoman for DA Craig Watkins, said a “confidential source” informed the DA’s office office that an arrest had been made in the case.

But Denmon said Kaufman County officials subsequently would not confirm that an arrest was made.

“We’re going to respect their wishes” on that, she said.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. by Selwyn Crawford: Dallas County District Attorney Craig

Watkins says an arrest has been made in this morning’s slaying in Kaufman.

Watkins won’t say when, where or who was arrested, however, and Kaufman officials at a 3 p.m. news conference seemed unaware of any arrest.

“I can’t overstep the bounds of Kaufman County,” Watkins said. “All I can tell you is that there was an arrest.”

Investigators left evidence markers in downtown Kaufman near where the prosecutor was shot this morning. (David Woo/Staff Photographer)

Watkins said that because the victim was a Kaufman County prosecutor, he does not believe that office can prosecute the case and said that he would like to handle it.

“We’re going to make an offer to Kaufman County to prosecute this case,” Watkins said.

“But even if they choose another jurisdiction to handle it, we will provide whatever resources or help they need since [Hasse] was a former Dallas County prosecutor.”

Updated at 3 p.m.: Kaufman authorities have announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the shooters.

Anyone with information can call Kaufman police at 972-932-3094 or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 1-877-847-7522.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. by Danielle Abril in Kaufman: All schools in Kaufman ISD will remain on lockdown until the end of the school day, Superintendent Todd Williams says.
Parents will be able to pick up their children at the regular closing time.

More on the victim from staff writer Diane Jennings (updated at 2:40 p.m.):

Mark Hasse, 57, loved flying, said his longtime friend Marcus Busch of Washington, D.C., even after suffering “catastrophic” injuries in a plane crash 17 years ago.
Hasse was piloting the lead plane in a cross-country convoy commemorating the end of World War II when it crashed in 1995. Morey Darzniek, who survived the crash with Hasse, said Hasse was “an incredible person in every way. He had the right moral standards.”

Hasse suffered a skull fracture but recovered enough to resume the practice of law and continued flying.

He also was active in the fight against drunken driving, serving as president of the Dallas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Suzette Pylant, a victim advocate for MADD North Texas, was working with Hasse on a drunken driving case at the time of his death. She’d last met with him on Dec. 21.

Pylant said Hasse was “a squeaky clean guy,” she said. “He was one of those guys who was always going to wear the white hat.”

Hasse was not married and his relatives did not return calls for comment.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. byRay Leszcynski, Scott Goldstein and Ed Timms: The Kaufman County sheriff has identified the assistant DA slain by masked gunmen as Mark Hasse, a onetime Dallas County prosecutor.

Word spread quickly in the legal community in Dallas and Kaufman that it was Hasse who had been shot this morning.

The courthouse in downtown Kaufman was locked down immediately after the shooting. (David Woo/Staff Photographer)

Veteran defense lawyer Eric Smenner, whose office is near the courthouse, said his immediate reaction was that Hasse was likely targeted.

“I felt it very certainly had to be work-related,” he said. “I can’t imagine the guy has any enemies that would cause that to happen on a personal level.”

Smenner added that Hasse parked in the same area every day, “so if somebody was out to get him all they’d have to do is watch him a little bit.”

Mark Hasse was chief of the Dallas County district attorney’s organized-crime section from 1985 until 1988 and a former president of the Dallas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

In 1995, he was seriously injured while flying the lead plane in “Freedom Flight America,” a cross-country convoy of hundreds of planes commemorating the end of World War II. He was flying at AT-6 Texan, a World War II-era training aircraft.

He suffered a skull fracture when the plane crashed while landing in Luray, Va. The plane overshot the 3,000-foot runway at Luray Caverns Airport and hit a road embankment, according to authorities. Update at 1 p.m. by Scott Goldstein:

Lawyer James Lee Bright said he arrived at the Kaufman courthouse just as officers began swarming the scene.

“Within two or three minutes, the whole square was literally flooded with officers,” Bright said. “I just went inside, and by the time I got inside the information that it was actually a shooting and who it might be was just barely starting to filter into the courthouse.”

Bright said he saw a woman who was shaking as she told a bailiff what she had just witnessed.

“I just saw it, I just saw it,” the woman said, according to Bright.

The courthouse was quickly put on lockdown.
“It was a little surreal being locked in there,” Bright said.

People were allowed to leave the building in groups, depending on where they were parked.

As for a possible motive, Bright said there’s no telling how many cases the veteran prosecutor worked over the years that could potentially be connected.

“When you hear a DA at 8:40 in the morning is gunned down by two people, I think there’s a reasonable presumption that it’s not random,” he said.

Update at 11:52 a.m.: Officials continue to withhold the slain prosecutor’s name until his family can be notified, but details have begun to emerge about his recent cases.

Authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA’s caseload say he had been heavily involved in the investigation of members of the Aryan Brotherhood.

Officials now are reviewing those cases to determine if today’s shooting might be connected to that probe.

Update from staff writer Ray Leszcynski in Kaufman: Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood said he saw the victim every day in the courthouse hallways.

“He was revered and he did an outstanding job,” Wood said. “We see each other every day. … It’s a very small courthouse.”

The judge, who declined to identify the prosecutor, said he was in his office at the time of the shooting but did not hear anything.

Wood said he did not know what cases the assistant DA may have been involved in, but he was not aware of any heightened security.

He said the county courthouse is closed today and it would be up to the sheriff to determine when it would reopen.

“It’s a horrible situation,” Wood said. “None of us would have ever expected anything like this to ever happen in our county.”

Update at 10:50 a.m.: Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said an assistant district attorney was shot multiple times about 8:50 a.m. while walking from his car to his office.
The victim, whose name has yet to be released, died from his injuries, Aulbaugh confirmed.

Witnesses said that after shooting the prosecutor, the gunman fired shots in the air to scare away bystanders as the two suspects fled.

The police chief said Kaufman police reached out to other law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers, for help with the manhunt. Aulbaugh did not say whether there was one or multiple shooters.

A Kaufman City Council member said the Rangers would be the lead investigative agency because the victim was a county employee.

Updated at 10:30 a.m.Kaufman County officials have confirmed that the prosecutor has died in this morning’s shooting outside the county courthouse.

The victim’s name has not yet been publicly released, pending notification of his family. But according to state records, the prosecutor was certified as a peace officer in 1988.
Those that know him say he was a gun enthusiast who typically wore a gun belt. It is unknown if he was wearing the gun belt Thursday, but he almost always carried a weapon, they say.

Kaufman city leaders were stunned by the shooting.
“I’m just sad and concerned for the individual involved and the family members,” Mayor Pro Tem Tony Rader told our Diane Jennings.

Rader, a city of Dallas employee, said he was not in town when the shooting occurred but he was monitoring developments through text messages and Facebook.

City councilman Jeff Jordan said he heard the news when a friend called “to ask me what was going on.”

“We’re all shocked and very sad,” Jordan said.

Rader said he didn’t think he knew the victim, and Jordan said he knew who he was but did not know him well.

Kaufman is a town of about 7,000 located about 35 miles east of Dallas.

Updated at 9:49 a.m.: A Kaufman County prosecutor has reportedly been shot near the courthouse in downtown Kaufman this morning.

The condition of the prosecutor was not known. His name is being withheld, pending notification of his family.

The shooting reportedly occurred in a parking lot behind a county building where many prosecutors and judges park. The courthouse is just a short distance away, said Eric Smenner, a Kaufman defense attorney.

“My secretary heard the gunshots,” Smenner said.

He said she told him that she then saw a silver Taurus fleeing down the street. Other media reported that the two suspects were in all black, and one may have been wearing a tactical vest.

In addition to the courthouse on Mulberry Street, several nearby Kaufman ISD campuses have been locked down as a precaution.

Smenner said the prosecutor who was shot was well-liked by all and had previously worked in Dallas County.

Original post at 9:48 a.m.: There’s been a shooting outside the courthouse in Kaufman this morning, and much of downtown has been locked down.

The victim was reportedly a county employee and was shot several times. That person’s condition is not known.

Early reports were that two armed men ambushed the victim about 9 a.m. outside the courthouse and opened fire.

They then fled and may remain at large.





Monday, January 21, 2013

MLK's Longport and Cape May, NJ Connections


Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Longport and Cape May Connections – By William Kelly

Today January 21, 2013 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a national holiday and inauguration day, when Barrack Obama, the first black president is sworn in for a second term using Martin Luther King, Jr.’s bible. In addition, for his invocation, Obama has chosen not a preacher, not a lawyer, but the widow of the assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

Evers was shot by Brian DeBeckwith with a high powered rifle in front of his Mississippi home in 1963, but DeBeckwith was acquitted by an all white jury, and only later convicted decades later because of the tireless efforts of his widow and the courageous  prosecution by an assistant district attorney. If Evers’ assassination was properly prosecuted immediately, it is my belief that President Kennedy would not have been killed the way he was, by a similar sniper in a southern city.

Before he was killed in Memphis King was the victim of an assassination attempt in New York City where he was attacked by a women with a knife when signing copies of his first book. While he was in intensive care in the hospital, the New York Times reported that the knife almost severed his main artery, in which case he would have died if he had sneezed. In Memphis on the stormy night before his own assassination, King gave his last speech in which he recounted recuperating from the knife wound in the hospital and receiving many letters of support from the president, the governor of New York and others, the contents of which he forgot, but he didn’t forget the letter from a 9th grade white girl from White Plaines, NY high school,  who wrote simply that she was glad he didn’t sneeze.


As Glen Klotz notes in his @ the Beach blog http://athebeach.blogspot.com/, King’s radicalization can be traced back to his time at Crozier College in Philadelphia,

Indeed, it was while at Crozier on Sunday, June 10, 1950 when King and three friends visited Mary’s CafĂ© in Maple Shade, in Camden County, New Jersey, and were refused service by a gun wielding bar owner. They filed charges against him, King’s first known reaction to blatant racism and the moment that he is said to have decided to devote his life to the cause of civil rights, not just the civil rights of blacks but the civil rights of all people. See: http://csopassassinations.blogspot.com/2013/01/mlk-in-south-jersey.html

Klotz, who writes from the Absecon Island (Atlantic City) Downbeach town of Margate, would be interested to know that King’s most well know speech, “I Had a Dream,” was co-authored by Clarence Jones.

Jones, an influential civil rights lawyer and close aide and associate of Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a book “Behind the Dream,” the story of King’s famous March on Washington speech at Lincoln Memorial in the summer of 1963. Besides preparing the notes for the speech, and ensuring it was copyrighted, Jones stood by King when the speech was delivered, and his book tells the story of how it all came about.

Now a scholar in residence at the MLK Center at Stanford University, Jones has recently done some radio interviews with BBC and National Public Radio in which he recounts some of what is in the book. Most interesting is the background of Clarence Jones himself.Born in Philadelphia, Jones’ parents were live-in domestic servants in an apparently well to do Philadelphia home, so young Jones was sent off to a Catholic boarding school where most of the students were orphans, educated by Irish nuns who Jones credits with teaching him how to write well.

One summer however, while visiting his parents at the summer home of their employer in Longport, NJ, the upper crust Downbeach town next to Margate, young Jones went for a bike ride, only to be intercepted by some young white boys who harassed him, calling him “nigger,” “honkey,” “boogaloo,” “monkey,” and things that he had never been confronted with before.

When his mother found him crying, and he told her why, she made him look in a mirror and asked what he saw – telling him “you are the most beautiful thing in God’s creation,” and such taunting no longer affected him as it did that day in Longport.

Having been educated so well by the Irish nuns, Jones attended Columbia University and after being drafted and given an undesirable discharge for refusing to sign an anti-Communist loyalty oath, he studied law and became a lawyer. Moving to California, one day in 1960 Martin Luther King visited him at home, and tried to persuade him to assist him in defending against a trumped up tax evasion case, but Jones turned him down because his wife was pregnant and he didn’t want to move back east. After being berated by his wife however, Jones attended the church service where King gave the sermon on the subject of the responsibilities of black professionals to assist other less fortunate blacks, after which Jones joined King’s legal team.

To hear the NPR interview with Clarence Jones, or read the transcript:
http://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/132905796/dream-speech-writer-jones-reflects-on-king-jr  Clarence Jones is now in residence at Stanford MLK Center:
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php

Without success, at least so far, I have tried to find out the name and current whereabouts of the young 9th grade girl from White Planes high school who wrote to King to say she is glad he didn’t sneeze, but I did correspond via email with Clarence Jones, who said that the name of the family whose Longport home his mother worked as a housekeeper was Lippincott, a Quaker family who owned the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall (Now Resorts).

With some effort, I did find a partial transcript of the speech King gave at Cape May, but have yet to learn if there is an existing audiotape or film of the event.
.
In 1958, before he became a national spokesman for civil rights. King visited Cape May, where he gave a speech to a convention of Quaker Friends on the topic of Non-Violence and Racial Justice.  

At a time when blacks were beginning to break segregation laws that called for separate schools, rest rooms and water fountains, and prevented blacks from sitting in the front of the bus or at the lunch counter, King called for non-violence resistance, and not to resort to violence. He called for everyone to love those enemies who espoused hate, and to “fulfill the dreams of our democracy.”

Although the call for non-violence resistance went unheeded with the violent response to the Birmingham bombing, the murders of white civil rights workers and the assassinations of Medgar Evers, John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, King’s Cape May speech is powerful and moving and indicates the synthesis of his thoughts and ideas that were later personified in his later work and more recognized sermons and speeches.

While I have yet to find any news reports of King’s visit to Cape May, to learn where the Convention was held, if he stayed overnight and if so where, and have not found a film or audio tape of the speech, I did find a partial transcript of it in the Friends Journal of July 26, 1958.

It should also be noted that on June 28-July 5, 2008, the annual Gathering of Friends met in Johnstown, Pa to celebrate the 50th anniversary of MLK’s address Nonviolence and Racial Justice to Friends at Cape May, NJ in 1958.


Non violence and Racial Justice
By MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

It is impossible to look out into the wide arena of American life without noticing a real crisis in race relations. This crisis has been precipitated, on the one hand, by the determined resistance of reactionary elements in the South to the Supreme Court's decision outlawing segregation in the public schools.

This resistance has often risen to ominous proportions. Many states have risen up in open defiance. The legislative halls of the South ring loud with such words as "interposition" and "nullification." The Ku Klux Klan is on the march again and that other so-called Respectable White Citizens' Councils.  Both of these organizations have as their basic aim to defeat and stand in the way of the implementation of the Supreme Court's decision on desegregation. They are determined to preserve segregation at any cost. So all of these forces have conjoined to make for massive resistance.

But interestingly enough, the crisis has been precipitated, on the other hand, by radical change in the Negro's evaluation of himself. There would be no crisis in race relations if the Negro continued to think of himself in inferior terms and patiently accepted injustice and exploitation. But it is at this very point that the change has come. 

Something happened to the Negro. Circumstances made it possible and necessary for him to travel more; with the coming of the automobile, the upheavals of two world wars, and a great depression, his rural plantation background gradually gave way to urban  industrial life. His cultural life was gradually rising through the steady decline of crippling illiteracy. And even his economic life was rising through the growth of industry and other influences. Negro masses all over began to re-evaluate themselves, and the Negro came to feel that he was somebody. His religion revealed to him that God loves all of His children and that all men are made in His image. And so he came to see that the important thing about a man is not his specificity but his fundamentum, not the texture of his hair or the color of his skin but the texture and quality of his soul.

Since the struggle for freedom and human dignity will continue, the question is this: How will the struggle for racial justice be waged?  What are the forces that will be at work?

What is the method that will be used?  What will the oppressed peoples of the world do in this struggle to achieve racial justice?

There are several answers to this question, but I would like to deal with only two. One is that the oppressed peoples of the earth can resort to the all-too-prevalent method of physical violence and corroding hatred.  We all know this method; we're familiar with it. It is something of the inseparable twin of Western materialism. It has even become the hallmark of its Grandeur.

Now I cannot say that violence never wins any victories; it occasionally wins victories.  Nations often receive their independence through the use of violence. But violence only achieves temporary victory; it never can achieve ultimate peace. It creates many more social problems than it solves. And violence ends up defeating itself. Therefore it is my firm conviction that if the Negro succumbs to the temptation of using violence in his struggle for justice, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness.  And our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.

The other method that is open to oppressed people as they struggle for racial justice is the method of nonviolent resistance, made famous in our generation by Mohandas K. Gandhi of India, who used it effectively to free his people from political domination, the economic exploitation, and humiliation inflicted upon them by Britain. There are several things we can say about this method.  First, it is not a method of cowardice, of stagnant passivity; it does resist. The nonviolent resister is just as opposed to the evil that he is resisting as the violent resister.

He resists evil, but he resists it without violence. This method is strongly active. It is true that it is passive in the sense that the nonviolent resister is never physically aggressive toward the opponent, but the mind is always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that he is wrong.

This method does not seek to defeat and humiliate the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. Occasionally, the nonviolent resister will engage in boycotts and
noncooperation. But noncooperation and boycotts are not ends within themselves; they are merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor and to awaken his dozing conscience. The end is redemption; the end is reconciliation. And so the aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The method of nonviolence is directed  at the forces of evil rather than at  the individuals caught in the forces of evil. The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil systems rather than individuals who are victimized by the evil systems.

The nonviolent resister accepts suffering without retaliation. He willingly accepts suffering. The nonviolent resister realizes that unearned suffering is redemptive; he is willing to receive violence, but he never goes out as a perpetrator of violence. He comes to see that suffering does something to the sufferer as well as the inflictor of the suffering.

Somehow the Negro must come to the point that he can say to his white brothers who would use violence to prevent integration, "We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws.  Do to us what you may, and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and spit upon our children, and we will still love you. 

Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities after midnight hours, and take us out on some wayside road, and beat us and leave us half dead, and we will still love you.  Go all over the nation with your propaganda and make it appear that we are not fit morally or culturally or otherwise for integration, and we will still love you.  But we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom, and we will not only win freedom for ourselves. We will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process, and therefore our victory will be a double victory."

That is another basic thing about nonviolent resistance. The nonviolent resister not only avoids external physical violence, but he avoids internal violence of spirit. He not only refuses to shoot his opponent, but he refuses to hate him. The oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. We must somehow come to see that this leads us only deeper and deeper into the mire; to return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of hate and evil in the universe.

So somehow people in this universe must have sense enough and morality enough to return love for hate.

Now when I speak of love, I am not talking about some sentimental affectionate emotion.
I'm talking about something much deeper. In the Greek language there are three words for love. The Greek, for instance, talks about Eros, a sort of aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a yearning of the soul for the realm of the divine. It has come to us as romantic love. Therefore we know about Eros. We have lived with Eros.

And the Greek language talks about philia, which is also a type of love we have experienced. It is an intimate affection between personal friends; it's a reciprocal love.  On this level we love because we are loved; we love people because we like them, we have things in common.  And so we all experience this type of love.

Then the Greek language comes out with another word for love; it calls it agape, creative, understanding, redemptive good will for all men. It is a spontaneous love which seeks nothing in return; it's an overflowing love. Theologians would say that it is the love of God working in the lives of men. When we rise to love on this level, we love men not because we like them, not because their ways appeal to us; we love them because God loves them. We come to the point that we love the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed the person does. And I believe that this is what Jesus meant when
He said, "Love your enemies."

The nonviolent resister has faith in the future.  He somehow believes that the universe is on the side of justice. So he goes about his way, struggling for man's humanity to man, struggling for justice, for the triumph of love, because of this faith in the future and this assurance that he has cosmic companionship as he struggles.

Call it what you may, whether it is Being Itself, with Paul Tillich, or the Principle of Concretion with Whitehead, or whether it is a Process of Integration with Wieman, or whether it is a sort of impersonal Brahman with Hinduism, or whether it is a personal God with boundless power and infinite love, there is something in this universe that works in every moment to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole. There is a power that seeks to bring low prodigious hilltops of evil and pull down gigantic mountings of injustice, and this is the faith, this is the hope that can keep us going amid the tension and the darkness of any moment of social transition. We come to see that the dark of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. This is the faith and the hope that will keep us going.

The nonviolent resister sees within the universe something at the core and the heartbeat of the moral cosmos that makes for togetherness. There is something in this universe which justifies James Russell Lowell in saying,

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

So down in Montgomery, Alabama, we can walk and never get weary, because we know there is a great camp meeting in the promised land of freedom and justice.

The problem of race is certainly the chief moral dilemma of our nation. We are faced now with the tremendous responsibility of solving this problem before it is too late. The state of the world today does not permit us the luxury of an anemic democracy, and the clock of destiny is ticking out. We must solve this problem before it is too late. We must go out once more and urge all men of good will to get to work, urge all the agencies of our nation, the federal government, white liberals of the North, white moderates of the South, organized labor, the church and all religious bodies, and the Negro himself.

And all these agencies must come together to work hard now to bring  about  the  fulfillment  of  the  dream  of  our  democracy. Social progress does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes only through persistent work and the tireless efforts of dedicated individuals. Without this persistent work time it becomes the ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social stagnation.

I think of the great work that has been done by the Society of Friends. It gives all of us who struggle for justice new hope, and I simply say to you this evening: continue in that struggle, continue with that same determination, and continue with that same faith in the future.

Modern psychology has a word that is used probably more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word "maladjusted."
All of us are desirous of living the well-adjusted life. I know I am, and we must be concerned about living a well adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.

But I say to you, as I come to my close, that there are certain things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted, and I call upon you to be maladjusted to all of these things. 

I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions which take necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.

I call upon you to be maladjusted to each of these things. It may be that the salvation of our world lies in the hands of the maladjusted. So let us be maladjusted. As maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the generations, "Let judgment run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

As maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln, who had the vision to see that this nation could not exist half slave and half free.

As maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson, who in the midst of an  age amazingly adjusted to slavery could cry out in words lifted to cosmic proportions, "All men are created equal, [and]...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, [and]... among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

As maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth, who could look at the men of his generation and cry out, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you."

Through such maladjustment we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. This is what stands ahead. We've made progress, and it is great progress that we must make if we are to fulfill the dreams of our democracy, the dreams of Christianity, the dreams of the great religions of the world.

I close by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher who didn't have his grammar quite right. But he uttered words with profound meaning. The words were in the form of a prayer: "Lord, we ain't what we want to be, we ain't what we ought to be, we ain't what we gonna' to be, but thank God, we ain't what we was."  And so tonight I say, "We ain't what we ought to be, but thank God we ain't what we was." 

And let us continue, my friends, going on and on toward that great city where all men will live together as brothers in respected dignity and worth of all human personality. This will be a great day, a day, figuratively speaking, when the "morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., is President of the Montgomery, Alabama, Improvement Association. His moving address as given here is somewhat cut. In some of the passages deleted from the first part he spoke of the 50,000 Negro citizens of Montgomery who had ultimately found it "more honorable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation," summarized the history of the Negro in America from 1619 through the nineteenth century, and linked the struggle of the American Negro to attain human dignity with the revolt of oppressed peoples all over the world, particularly in Asia and Africa.

From: FRIENDS JOURNAL July 26, 1958






MLK's Cape May Speech on Non-Violence & Social Justice




FRIENDS JOURNAL July 26, 1958
Non violence and Racial Justice

By MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

IT is impossible to look out into the wide arena of American life without noticing a real crisis in race relations. This crisis has been precipitated, on the one hand, by the determined resistance of reactionary elements in the South to the Supreme Court's decision outlawing segregation in the public schools.

This resistance has often risen to ominous proportions. Many states have risen up in open defiance. The legislative halls of the South ring loud with such words as "interposition" and "nullification." The Ku Klux Klan is on the march again and that other so-called Respectable White Citizens' Councils.  Both of these organizations have as their basic aim to defeat and stand in the way of the implementation of the Supreme Court's decision on desegregation. They are determined to preserve segregation at any cost. So all of these forces have conjoined to make for massive resistance.

But interestingly enough, the crisis has been precipitated, on the other hand, by radical change in the Negro's evaluation of himself. There would be no crisis in race relations if the Negro continued to think of himself in inferior terms and patiently accepted injustice and exploitation. But it is at this very point that the change has come. 

Something happened to the Negro. Circumstances made it possible and necessary for him to travel more; with the coming of the automobile, the upheavals of two world wars, and a great depression, his rural plantation background gradually gave way to urban  industrial life. His cultural life was gradually rising through the steady decline of crippling illiteracy. And even his economic life was rising through the growth of industry and other influences. Negro masses all over began to re-evaluate themselves, and the Negro came to feel that he was somebody. His religion revealed to him that God loves all of His children and that all men are made in His image. And so he came to see that the important thing about a man is not his specificity but his fundamentum, not the texture of his hair or the color of his skin but the texture and quality of his soul.

Since the struggle for freedom and human dignity will continue, the question is this: How will the struggle for racial justice be waged?  What are the forces that will be at work?

What is the method that will be used?  What will the oppressed peoples of the world do in this struggle to achieve racial justice?

There are several answers to this question, but I would like to deal with only two. One is that the oppressed peoples of the earth can resort to the all-too-prevalent method of physical violence and corroding hatred.  We all know this method; we're familiar with it. It is something of the inseparable twin of Western materialism. It has even become the hallmark of its Grandeur.








Now I cannot say that violence never wins any victories; it occasionally wins victories.  Nations often receive their independence through the use of violence. But violence only achieves temporary victory; it never can achieve ultimate peace. It creates many more social problems than it solves. And violence ends up defeating itself. Therefore it is my firm conviction that if the Negro succumbs to the temptation of using violence in his struggle for justice, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness.  And our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.

The other method that is open to oppressed people as they struggle for racial justice is the method of nonviolent resistance, made famous in our generation by Mohandas K. Gandhi of India, who used it effectively to free his people from political domination, the economic exploitation, and humiliation inflicted upon them by Britain. There are several things we can say about this method.  First, it is not a method of cowardice, of stagnant passivity; it does resist. The nonviolent resister is just as opposed to the evil that he is resisting as the violent resister.

He resists evil, but he resists it without violence. This method is strongly active. It is true that it is passive in the sense that the nonviolent resister is never physically aggressive toward the opponent, but the mind is always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that he is wrong.

This method does not seek to defeat and humiliate the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. Occasionally, the nonviolent resister will engage in boycotts and
noncooperation. But noncooperation and boycotts are not ends within themselves; they are merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor and to awaken his dozing conscience. The end is redemption; the end is reconciliation. And so the aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The method of nonviolence is directed  at the forces of evil rather than at  the individuals caught in the forces of evil. The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil systems rather than individuals who are victimized by the evil systems.

The nonviolent resister accepts suffering without retaliation. He willingly accepts suffering. The nonviolent resister realizes that unearned suffering is redemptive; he is willing to receive violence, but he never goes out as a perpetrator of violence. He comes to see that suffering does something to the sufferer as well as the inflictor of the suffering.

Somehow the Negro must come to the point that he can say to his white brothers who would use violence to prevent integration, "We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws.  Do to us what you may, and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and spit upon our children, and we will still love you. 

Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities after midnight hours, and take us out on some wayside road, and beat us and leave us half dead, and we will still love you.  Go all over the nation with your propaganda and make it appear that we are not fit morally or culturally or otherwise for integration, and we will still love you.  But we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom, and we will not only win freedom for ourselves. We will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process, and therefore our victory will be a double victory."

That is another basic thing about nonviolent resistance. The nonviolent resister not only avoids external physical violence, but he avoids internal violence of spirit. He not only refuses to shoot his opponent, but he refuses to hate him. The oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. We must somehow come to see that this leads us only deeper and deeper into the mire; to return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of hate and evil in the universe.

So somehow people in this universe must have sense enough and morality enough to return love for hate.

Now when I speak of love, I am not talking about some sentimental affectionate emotion.
I'm talking about something much deeper. In the Greek language there are three words for love. The Greek, for instance, talks about Eros, a sort of aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a yearning of the soul for the realm of the divine. It has come to us as romantic love. Therefore we know about Eros. We have lived with Eros.

And the Greek language talks about philia, which is also a type of love we have experienced. It is an intimate affection between personal friends; it's a reciprocal love.  On this level we love because we are loved; we love people because we like them, we have things in common.  And so we all experience this type of love.

Then the Greek language comes out with another word for love; it calls it agape, creative, understanding, redemptive good will for all men. It is a spontaneous love which seeks nothing in return; it's an overflowing love. Theologians would say that it is the love of God working in the lives of men. When we rise to love on this level, we love men not because we like them, not because their ways appeal to us; we love them because God loves them. We come to the point that we love the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed the person does. And I believe that this is what Jesus meant when
He said, "Love your enemies."

The nonviolent resister has faith in the future.  He somehow believes that the universe is on the side of justice. So he goes about his way, struggling for man's humanity to man, struggling for justice, for the triumph of love, because of this faith in the future and this assurance that he has cosmic companionship as he struggles.

Call it what you may, whether it is Being Itself, with Paul Tillich, or the Principle of Concretion with Whitehead, or whether it is a Process of Integration with Wieman, or whether it is a sort of impersonal Brahman with Hinduism, or whether it is a personal God with boundless power and infinite love, there is something in this universe that works in every moment to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole. There is a power that seeks to bring low prodigious hilltops of evil and pull down gigantic mountings of injustice, and this is the faith, this is the hope that can keep us going amid the tension and the darkness of any moment of social transition. We come to see that the dark of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. This is the faith and the hope that will keep us going.

The nonviolent resister sees within the universe something at the core and the heartbeat of the moral cosmos that makes for togetherness. There is something in this universe which justifies James Russell Lowell in saying,

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

So down in Montgomery, Alabama, we can walk and never get weary, because we know there is a great camp meeting in the promised land of freedom and justice.

The problem of race is certainly the chief moral dilemma of our nation. We are faced now with the tremendous responsibility of solving this problem before it is too late. The state of the world today does not permit us the luxury of an anemic democracy, and the clock of destiny is ticking out. We must solve this problem before it is too late. We must go out once more and urge all men of good will to get to work, urge all the agencies of our nation, the federal government, white liberals of the North, white moderates of the South, organized labor, the church and all religious bodies, and the Negro himself.

And all these agencies must come together to work hard now to bring  about  the  fulfillment  of  the  dream  of  our  democracy. Social progress does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes only through persistent work and the tireless efforts of dedicated individuals. Without this persistent work time it becomes the ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social stagnation.

I think of the great work that has been done by the Society of Friends. It gives all of us who struggle for justice new hope, and I simply say to you this evening: continue in that struggle, continue with that same determination, and continue with that same faith in the future.

Modern psychology has a word that is used probably more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word "maladjusted."
All of us are desirous of living the well-adjusted life. I know I am, and we must be concerned about living a well adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.

But I say to you, as I come to my close, that there are certain things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted, and I call upon you to be maladjusted to all of these things. 

I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions which take necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.

I call upon you to be maladjusted to each of these things. It may be that the salvation of our world lies in the hands of the maladjusted. So let us be maladjusted. As maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the generations, "Let judgment run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

As maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln, who had the vision to see that this nation could not exist half slave and half free.

As maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson, who in the midst of an  age amazingly adjusted to slavery could cry out in words lifted to cosmic proportions, "All men are created equal, [and]...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, [and]... among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

As maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth, who could look at the men of his generation and cry out, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you."

Through such maladjustment we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man's inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. This is what stands ahead. We've made progress, and it is great progress that we must make if we are to fulfill the dreams of our democracy, the dreams of Christianity, the dreams of the great religions of the world.

I close by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher who didn't have his grammar quite right. But he uttered words with profound meaning. The words were in the form of a prayer: "Lord, we ain't what we want to be, we ain't what we ought to be, we ain't what we gonna' to be, but thank God, we ain't what we was."  And so tonight I say, "We ain't what we ought to be, but thank God we ain't what we was." 

And let us continue, my friends, going on and on toward that great city where all men will live together as brothers in respected dignity and worth of all human personality. This will be a great day, a day, figuratively speaking, when the "morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.”


Martin Luther King, Jr., is President of the Montgomery, Alabama, Improvement Association. His moving address as given here is somewhat cut. In some of the passages deleted from the first part he spoke of the 50,000 Negro citizens of Montgomery who had ultimately found it "more honorable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation," summarized the history of the Negro in America from 1619 through the nineteenth century, and linked the struggle of the American Negro to attain human dignity with the revolt of oppressed peoples all over the world, particularly in Asia and Africa.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"If I had Sneezed," MLK's Greatest Speech



                                                       "If I had sneezed,..."

MLK's Last Speech "If I had sneezed" - YouTube

"If I Had Sneezed".....A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King - YouTube

King's Final Speech, Forty Years Ago : NPR 


On the dark and stormy night before he was killed in Memphis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his last speech, which I think was a sort of premonition of what was going to happen to him:

Reverend Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr.: Also,

 …In the human rights revolution, if something isn't done and done in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed.

Now, I'm just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period, to see what is unfolding. And I'm happy that He's allowed me to be in Memphis.

Let us stand with a greater determination. And letus move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God once more for allowing me to be here with you.

You know, several years ago, I was in New York City, autographing the first book that I had written. While sitting there autographing books, a black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, are you Martin Luther King?

And I was looking down writing, and I said, yes. The next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it, I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. That blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that's punctured, you drown in your own blood, that's the end of you.

It came out in the New York Times the next morning that if I had merely sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later they allowed me, after the operation, they allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and I'll never forget it. It said simply, Dear Dr. King, I am a ninth-grade student at the Whites Plains High School. She said, while it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so happy that you didn't sneeze.

And I want to say tonight - I want to say tonight that I too am happy that I didn't sneeze because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here tp 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that, as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream and taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here to 1961, when we decided to take a ride for freedom and ended segregation and interstate travel.

If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent.
If I had sneezed - if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been here in 1963. Black people of Birmingham, Alabama aroused the conscience of this nation and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill.

If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been down in Selma, Alabama to see the great movement there.

If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been in Memphis to see a community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze.

And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter, now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning and then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats or talk about the threats that were out, or what would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers.

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop, and I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place, but I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will, and He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.

And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.