“Give Us the Ballot, We Will Transform the South”
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speech given before the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington, May 17, 1957
Three years ago the Supreme Court of this nation rendered in simple, eloquent and unequivocal language a decision which will long be stenciled on the mental sheets of succeeding generations. For all men of good will, this May 17 decision came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of segregation. It came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of distinguished people throughout the world who had dared only to dream of freedom. It came as a legal and sociological deathblow to the old Plessy doctrine of “separate-but-equal.” It came as a reaffirmation of the good old American doctrine of freedom and equality for all people.
Unfortunately, this noble and sublime decision has not gone without opposition. This opposition 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.” Methods of defiance range from crippling economic reprisals to the tragic reign of violence and terror. All of these forces have conjoined to make for massive resistance.
But, even more, all types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic traditions and its is democracy turned upside down.
So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others.
So our most urgent request to the president of the United States and every member of Congress is to give us the right to vote. Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the ballot and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law; we will by the power of our vote write the law on the statute books of the southern states and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence. Give us the ballot and we will transform the salient misdeeds of blood-thirsty mobs into calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. Give us the ballot and we will fill our legislative halls with men of good will, and send to the sacred halls of Congressmen who will not sign a Southern Manifesto, because of their devotion to the manifesto of justice. Give us the ballot and we will place judges on the benches of the South who will “do justly and love mercy,” and we will place at the head of the southern states governors who have felt not only the tang of the human, but the glow of the divine. Give us the ballot and we will quietly and nonviolently, without rancor or bitterness, implement the Supreme Court’s decision of May 17, 1954.
<!–Read about recent allegations of voter disenfranchisement in Florida
and other states across the country in these articles.
The New York Times, In
’04 Florida, Lawsuits Begin Before Election, October 14, 2004 (Registration required)The Washington Post, Behind
the Scenes, Officials Wrestle Over Voting Rules, October 10, 2004 (Registration
GOP suppressing vote in swing states, October 4, 2004
The Los Angeles Times, Nov.
2 Is V-Day for Blacks in Florida, October 11, 2004 (Registration required)
Learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and read more of his speeches and writings at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University.
Republicans Are Mad That Other Republicans Are Debunking Benghazi
The right-wing Benghazi conspiracy has been thoroughly debunked numerous times, but now it is back in the news because Republicans are the ones that are debunking it.
Six different investigations in the past two years have found that, while the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were tragic and reprehensible, there was no evidence for any kind of cover-up by President Obama and his administration. There was also no evidence that the Obama administration stopped attempted rescues from the diplomatic compound or that it intentionally misinformed Congress or the American people. Despite the myriad conspiracy theories, these notions have been disproven time and time again.
Well, none of that changed with the release of the House Intelligence Committee’s latest report, the seventh of the genre, on what happened that night in Benghazi. According to the Associated Press, this Republican-led, bipartisan committee reported the following:
Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
While an investigation into the deaths at Benghazi was appropriate, conservative media, irresponsible right-wing politicians and pundits, and their enablers in Congress refuse to accept that these investigations have already concluded that there’s no controversy behind the tragic attack. Republicans have used this as a distraction for 2016 instead of treating the violence with the seriousness it has deserved.
Some Republicans are asking the GOP to move on from trying to prove something that does not exist. However, that has not stopped leading Benghazi conspiracy theorist Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., from calling the report inaccurate, “full of crap” and “a complete bunch of garbage.” Nor has this report stopped Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. from continuing his $3.3 million investigation into Benghazi, with House Republicans choosing to spend more on an eighth investigation than on the committees for Ethics, Veterans’ Affairs, the budget, or science.
BOTTOM LINE: The latest Benghazi investigation – this one led by House Republicans – found more of the same, namely that there was no conspiracy. But amazingly, that hasn’t stopped some GOPers from continuing to push this non-story. And conservatives wonder why the Obama administration continues its work on moving the country forward through executive action with such unreasonable and hostile opposition in Congress?
Thanks for all you do,
The Daily Kos team