I feel that we will continue to have a non-violent movement, and we will continue to find the vast majority of Negroes committed to non-violence, at least as the best tactical approach and from a pragmatic point of view as the best strategy in dealing with the problem of racial injustice. Realism impels me to admit, however, that when there is justice and the pursuit of justice, violence appears, and where there is injustice and frustration, the potentialities for violence are greater, and I would like to strongly stress the point that the more we can achieve victories through non-violence, the more it will be possible to keep the non-violent discipline at the center of the movement. But the more we find individuals facing conditions of frustration, conditions of disappointment and seething despair as a result of the slow pace of things and the failure to change conditions, the more it will be possible for the apostles of violence to interfere.
I hope to change things for the better, For 30 years this country has been about left versus right. Now we want to change things on the inside: national service, education, housing, a middle class that cannot finish the month.
I like less the story that a frog if put in cold water will not bestir itself if that water is heated up slowly and gradually and will in the end let itself be boiled alive, too comfortable with continuity to realize that continuous change at some point may become intolerable and demand a change in behavior.
I think my government are fascists. I feel that if we don't change from a society that worships money and power over to one that worships compassion and generosity, there is no hope for human survival this century.
I was always puzzled by the fact that people have a great deal of trouble and pain when and if they are forced or feel forced to change a belief or circumstance which they hold dear. I found what I believe is the answer when I read that a Canadian neurosurgeon discovered some truths about the human mind which revealed the intensity of this problem. He conducted some experiments which proved that when a person is forced to change a basic belief or viewpoint, the brain undergoes a series of nervous sensations equivalent to the most agonizing torture.
I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer. I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time. I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important. I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live.
I would like to be a valuable person, more than anything. I would judge a persons value by how prepared they are to give what they have to others. I feel a responsibility to keep open to the opportunities for change in my lifetime, and not to waste time by becoming fixated with my own identity and worth.
Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned. This trust in one's nakedness is all that gives one the power to change one's robes.
If any man claims the Negro should be content ... let him say he would willingly change the color of his skin and go to live in the Negro section of a large city. Then and only then has he a right to such a claim.