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The Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – URI Athletics

University of Rhode Island Athletics is celebrating Black History Month with videos highlighting achievements and advancements made.

Fifty-five years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Keaney Gymnasium. His words and legacy still resonate with our student-athletes and coaches today.

I get the question everywhere I go. And it is always a question, is there any real progress being made in the area of race relations.

And as I discuss this and discuss the future of integration, I would like to use as a basic thesis for our thinking together, the idea that we have made significant strides. But we still have much to do. In other words, we have come a long, long way.

But we still have a long, long way to go. You see a fact is merely an absence of contraction. The truth is the presence of coherence.

Truth is the relatedness of fact. Now, it’s a fact that we’ve come a long, long way. But it isn’t the whole truth.

You have to see the other side. If I stop at this point, I may leave you the victims of the dangerous optimism. If I stop at this point, I may leave all of us the victims an illusion wrapped in superficiality.

So, in order to tell the truth, it is necessary to move on. And not only say that we’ve come a long, long way, but also reminded each of us assembled here, that we still have a long, long way to go before the problem of racial injustice, is solved, and before we have a truly integrated society.

I’m convinced today, as I have been all along that violence creates many more social problems than it solves. And the old eye for an eye philosophy will end up leaving everybody blind.

Somebody has to be strong enough and moral enough to meet physical force with soul forth. Somebody must be strong enough to meet hate with love.

I think the answer is in deepening our commitment to non-violence. If we had the will as a nation we could do it.

But I’m afraid that we have the resources and the know-how devoid of the will. This is the challenge facing America. When bad men plot good men must plan. When bad men burn and bomb good men must build and bind.

When Bad men shout words of hatred, good men must proclaim the glories of love. When bad men seek to preserve a dead-ending status quo good men must seek to give birth to justice and brotherhood.

And the challenge facing America today is for the good people to rise up and unite and engage in an action program and use time creatively and constructively.

While the law may not change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men. And when you began to change the habits of people, pretty soon, they adjust to it.

Pretty soon they discover that they can live with it. And pretty soon the attitudes begin to change.

In this interrelated society, every negro is, a little white, and every white person is a little Negro, our music, our language, our material, prosperity, and even our food are all an amalgam of black and white.

And so, all over America, we must come to see that black and white together, we shall overcome. It is necessary to see this in order to come to a truly integrated society.

In spite of the tensions of this moment, in spite of the setbacks,

in spite of my personal frustrations, my deep disappointment, in spite of some of the developments that are so confusing taking place today,

I believe that we are still going to win on freedom. Our goal is freedom. And I believe that we are going to get there because ultimately, the goal of America is freedom. I have not lost faith in America.

With this faith. He will be able to speed up the day when black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles Protestants and Catholics will join hands all over this nation and sing in the words of the old negro spirituals; Free at last free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last