Towards Freedom

Haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story

Martin Luther King, Jr. "Towards Freedom" delivered at Dartmouth College, 1962

Excerpt:

"This problem will not be solved until enough people all over our country come to see that it is morally wrong to practice racial segregation and discrimination. And I say "all over this country" because no section of the United States can boast of clean hands in the area of brotherhood. It is one thing to rise up with righteous indignation when the Negro is lynched in Mississippi, or when a bus of Freedom Riders is burned in Anniston, Alabama. But a white person of goodwill in the North must rise up with as much righteous indignation when the Negro cannot live in his neighborhood simply because he's a Negro; or when a Negro cannot get a position in his particular firm; or when a Negro cannot join his particular fraternity; cannot join a particular academic society. In other words, there must be a sort of divine discontent if this problem is to be solved.

You know there are certain technical words within every academic discipline which soon become stereotypes and clichés; every academic discipline has its technical nomenclature. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word "maladjusted." Maladjusted. This word is already the pride of modern child psychology. And suddenly we all want to live the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But I say to you, in my conclusion, that there are certain things within our social order and in the world to which I'm proud to be maladjusted. To which all men of goodwill must be maladjusted until the Good Society is realized. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence. In the day when Sputniks and Explorers are dashing throughout space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. The alternative to disarmament, the alternative to suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and disarming the whole world may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. So I say the world is in desperate need of maladjusted men and women. Maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words echoing across the centuries: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

...

"And I believe that 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. If we will but do this, we will be participants in the creation of a new society, the creation of a great America. This will be the day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last."

...

For discussion:

What injustices might Martin Luther King Jr. see as remaining this year?

What examples of progress exist since this speech in 1962?

What examples of the need for more "maladjustment" is evident today?

Source:  
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~towardsfreedom/transcript.html

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