For Antwan T. Lang, member of the Chatham County Board of Elections in Savannah, Georgia, Dr King’s words meant that we couldn’t be afraid to learn from each other and understand our differences and similarities.
“I hope that one day white America will understand that we do not harvest any hatred, but we do not want to be seen as a black man, a black entrepreneur, a black superintendent, a black doctor, a black lawyer, a teacher. black, black insurance agent, black funeral director, but as a human being wanting to be freely ourselves without having to walk on eggshells for fear of becoming a statistic, ”he said.
“It’s clear to me that our protest and our call to America is that we want to be free, just to be a human being with real feelings, emotions, dreams and goals,” Mr. Lang said, “to be able to live long enough to achieve those goals, dreams and ambitions. ”
“Oh no, Brother Gray. It is not at all a ploy. If we are to be successful, I am now convinced that an absolutely non-violent method must be ours in the midst of the vast hostilities we face.
– Dr King’s 1955 response to a suggestion that his nonviolent tactics were attracting attention.
Fred D. Gray was the lawyer who represented Rosa Parks, Dr. King, and the Montgomery Improvement Association during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, the event that ushered in the civil rights movement of the 20th century. The quote, found in Mr. Gray’s account of that battle, “Bus Ride to Justice,” was Dr. King’s response to a suggestion that his commitment to non-violence was a ploy to gain press attention. .
“I became a lawyer so that I could use the law to destroy any acts of segregation I could find,” Gray said. “There were other people whose role was to give speeches, and others who demonstrated, but everything had to be set up and done in a non-violent way.”
Regarding last year’s protests against the killings of unarmed African Americans by police officers, Mr. Gray said: “I think we’re going to have to go back to what Martin said about nonviolence and change. social. All Dr. King did, all we did in the Montgomery Bus Boycott was to get rid of racism and inequality. We were able to do a little, but not all. “
Ellen barry, Elizabeth dias and Richard Fausset contribution to reports. Susan Beachy contributed to the research.