Dr. Martin Luther King: “Live as One or Perish as Fools”

Live As One or Perish as Fools, Warning Given by Dr. King Here

by Dan Gashler

Journal Staff Writer

A near-balanced “integrated” group that filled the main floor and first balcony of The Auditorium Wednesday night heard a Negro Baptist minister offer encouragement for equal opportunities.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., co-pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, and prominent in the U.S. integration movement, was guest speaker at the Urban League of Portland’s “Equal Opportunity Day Program.”

Describing challenges of “the new day,” Dr. King outlined some of the problems facing all persons of the world to bring about the death of segregation.

“Rise above the confines of individual concerns and develop a world perspective,” he urged.

“We must live together as brothers or perish as fools. No individual nation can live alone.”

The minister commented, “We must get rid of the notion that there are superior and inferior races.”

Addressing a few remarks mainly to the Negroes in the audience, he said, “Set out not only to do a good Negro job, but be best at whatever you do – if you are a street-sweeper, sweep streets like Raphael painted pictures or Michelangelo chiseled marble.”

Dr. King urged everyone to continue to move on the path of creative protest to make integration a reality. “Get rid of the myth that time will solve all problems,” he said.

Speaking as if delivering a sermon, he defended the non-violent resistance being utilized in many Southern cities.

“In less than a year 15o cities in the South have integrated at lunch counters –  due to non-violent opposition.”

“And the Freedom Riders actions at bus and rail terminals have accomplished something that will make America a better nation,” he declared.

Pointing to the students who have been participating in the “Freedom Rider” program, Dr. King said, “We as they must have faith in the future, and our difficulties can be resolved.”

Quoting a student theme song, “We shall overcome. Deep in my heart, I believe we shall overcome,” Dr. King said this can be a good rule to follow for everyone.

Greetings to the Urban League guest were offered by Mayor Terry D. Schrunk and Gov. Mark O. Hatfield. Patriotic music was provided by an “integrated” choir from Jefferson High School.

—-

Published in the Oregon Journal, November 9, 1961.

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