This article appears in the June 26, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
January 19, 1997
Winning the Fight for Civilization Means a New, Expanded Civil Rights Movement
Mr. LaRouche celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday in Florence, Alabama over Jan. 19-20, 1997 at the invitation of the Northwest Alabama chapter of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee. The committee had organized the two-day celebration with the theme: “Making Real the Dream: Frame the Vision for the 21st Century.” LaRouche made three appearances, addressing hundreds of people.
He was joined on Sunday, Jan. 19 at St. Paul AME Church by his good friend, Amelia Boynton Robinson, the doyenne of Alabama’s civil rights struggle. LaRouche interrupted his speech when Mrs. Robinson arrived, and gave her a big hug, a photo of which accompanied excerpts of his remarks in the next day’s Times Daily. Mrs. Robinson, a 60-year veteran of the movement, also joined LaRouche at a rally. This is the edited transcript of Mr. LaRouche’s address at the Greater St. Paul AME Church in Florence, Alabama. This speech is being published for the first time here. A longer report on those events is available in EIR Volume 24, Number 6, January 31, 1997.
Dear friends, especially you young children. The question is, as I look at you young people, I say, “Do you have a future?” And, for most people in the United States, there apparently is no future. Not just anyone, but for anyone, there is no future. And, young people, particularly people who are under 35 or under 30 years of age, are convinced of that. People in the generation up to their 50s, 40s and 50s now, are thinking about how to secure their retirement. They don’t think so much about these things. They think, “Where do I keep my money? How do I get through?”
But, the younger people are saying, “No. That’s not important. We’re not going to make it at all, the way things are going.” And, the young people under 35 and under 30, are right. If things continue to go the way they’re going, there is no future worth mentioning. Oh, human life will go on, a dark age, perhaps 20 percent of the world’s population size will continue. Life expectancy will drop by about half of what it is today—if things go the way they’re continuing to go.
Children see, and young people see that in hospitals, there are officials coming from insurance companies and other institutions, and hospitals, going up to someone who’s a little bit ill, and saying, “Would you please sign this ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ paper?” Which means that if you collapse, nothing will be done to bring you back to life. You’ll be allowed to die. People are being starved to death so they will die—in hospitals. These kinds of things: care that used to be available, is no longer present. You don’t even have to make a personal decision: if you remove a hospital from a certain area, or deny people access to medical care, they will die. There’ll be an increase in the death rate.
And, when you think back, it’s getting worse, and worse, and worse.
The Importance of the Civil Rights Movement
The question is: Can it be changed? And, this is the kind of thing you think about when you celebrate the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King. I have a very special view of him, probably not unique. There are many people, perhaps, who would precisely share my view of the matter. But, let me share it with you, and state how the memory of Martin Luther King addresses the question, Do we have a future for our young children? Can we change things so that there will be a future for our children?
As it’s been revealed, I was born in 1922. When I came back from overseas, I was still a young man. And, things suddenly got bad. We’d come out of a depression. Roosevelt had (not Roosevelt Bell, but Franklin Delano Roosevelt; he would do the same for you if he could, if he had the opportunity); and, under conditions of war, we had revived this impoverished, pitiful, despairing nation. We had built the most powerful economy on this planet, out of the ashes of the depression. And, the war was over, and somebody decided to do it all over again, to sink it back into a depression. That fellow was Harry Truman. People who advised him to do so.
So, people came back from the war. They had gone to war out of a depression, had been called into military service. Their families had worked in the factories, or worked on the farms, to provide the succor to keep this nation going, both in military goods and otherwise, to go through this terrible war. They came back, the war had ended, and they were back in a depression. And, that’s one of the things that went wrong with this nation. It became demoralized, it became bitter, and we began turning on one another.
It wasn’t Joe McCarthy that unleashed terror in this country, it was Harry Truman. People moved out from despair of the depression, into the hope which was born in people in military service and others, during the wartime period, and then to be plunged back into a depression again, and people turned mean, very mean. They were no longer concerned about their neighbor, no longer concerned about the world in general.
They were concerned about their family security, their economic security, basically saying:
Look, I’ve got five years military service to make up. I’ve got to get the house bought, the house built. I’ve got to start my family. I’ve got to worry about my family. My wife and I, we have to worry about our family. We can’t be concerned about the neighbors! We’ve got to think about our career. We’ve got to think about OUR PERSONAL FUTURE, OUR ECONOMIC SECURITY. And, before I say anything, I’m going to think whether what I say will affect my security, my financial security. Can I lose a job by saying the wrong political thing, or expressing an unpopular opinion? Can I be thrown on the unemployment rolls, like back in the Depression, by saying something which is deemed unpopular, by perhaps the FBI, or Harry Truman, or somebody else?
I will say nothing, I will not think! I will not look to the right or the left. I will look straight ahead, at my personal financial security. And, I will sacrifice a neighbor, I will sacrifice anybody, for my personal financial security.
And, out of that, came this meanness, which took over 95 or more percent of our returning people from World War II. And, out of that meanness came, later, Joe McCarthy, who was simply the clown in the street, who was created by the meanness inside the majority of my generation.
Now, there were many good things that were done in the postwar period, during the past years, since 1945, since the war ended. Many good things were done by many people in the United States. The space program, which was started here in Florence, in part, and then moved over to Huntsville, because some Senator thought it would be nicer over there. That was a good thing. Many other good things were done.
But, in terms of the policies which have run the United States in the postwar period, there was only one change in policy which, today, was any good. And, that change in policy was effected in two bills which President Johnson put through the Congress, and signed himself: the civil rights bills of the 1960s. Those bills were not simply the personal effort of President Johnson, or others. They were the result of the work of a movement, which is known as the civil rights movement.
Now, the civil rights movement wasn’t born in the 1950s, it wasn’t born in the 1960s. The civil rights movement was born as soon as there was slavery in the United States, because there was always somebody struggling against slavery, and I’ll come back to that again.
But, the difference was that the civil rights movement had created around itself a leadership, in a time which was capable of making the civil rights movement the cause of, also, a change in policy in the United States.
Now, in this process, one young man was chosen, by the hand of Providence, to head up that movement. His name was Martin Luther King. He was a young minister who was sort of picked out of a crowd one day, by a wise old man who said, “I’m not going to lead the civil rights movement. This young minister is the man I recommend,” and Martin Luther King stepped forward. And, he took the mantle of responsibility which was given to him by that group of ministers, and he went on, through struggle after struggle, to provide a very special kind of leadership for that movement.
True Christianity the Only Way to Defeat Racism
Now, throughout it all, there was one thing which is outstanding about Martin; outstanding for me. See, Martin is a Christian, in the truest sense of the term. And, to understand the civil rights movement’s achievement, you have to understand that.
Because you had two groups of people who were inside the civil rights movement. You had one group of people who were Christians; and, I’ll come back to that, which is my main point. But, you had another group, such as people from the Communist Party and others, who had a different view, but who supported the civil rights movement, and did some good with their support. Various kinds of secular people who were not Christians, or even anti-Christians. But, they had a different philosophy.
One group said there must be racial justice: the secularist. He accepted racists, and said there may have to be racial justice. Another group, like Martin, said, “No, there are no races. There is an injustice which is called racism, but there is no basis for racism. That’s the thing we want to get rid of.”
Now, this is the secret, in my mind, of the civil rights movement. Think of those marches on Washington. Think of Martin in Washington, and think of him in terms of the address he gave just before he was murdered.
What did he represent? He said, “We’re not fighting for racial equality. We’re fighting to heal this nation, and to heal this world.”
Let me get right to the point. What’s the issue here, the issue today? What’s the significance of being a Christian, or, in some cases, Islam, because people in Islam actually share this view, as normally do people who follow Judaism.
In Genesis, the first chapter, man and woman are each made in the image of God, and endowed with the power for mankind to exert dominion over the world, which is also the universe, as the space program tells us, exemplifies.
Each child, newborn child, wherever they’re born, contains that spark: made in the image of God. A spark of genius which, if cultivated, enables that child to realize, as an adult, those powers of genius on which all human progress depends, man’s mastery over the universe. The increase in life expectancy, the improvement in the conditions of life of the household, the mastery of nature, the exploration and conquest of nearby space, and on and on.
All of the great achievements come from a power of discovery which no animal has, but which all human beings have. And, everything we have, is based on—what? Discoveries of principle, discoveries of ideas, inventions which individual persons have made, which enable the entire human race, using those discoveries, to solve problems; to increase mankind’s mastery of the universe; to increase life expectancy; to have family life; to get rid of child labor, so that a child can continue in school to be educated to the ages of 16, 18, 20, 25, so they might be more fully developed; which you can’t have if the parents die at the age of 30 to 35 on the average. You can’t keep children in school. You can’t do that, if people live in dirt poverty. Those are the conditions of child labor.
And, these discoveries have made it possible for mankind to do that. Over the course of human existence, from what we know of prehistory and history, most people in all parts of this planet, 95 percent or more of them, of every culture on every part of this planet, through the thousands of years of human existence, lived, in every culture, as slaves, as serfs, or in even worse conditions of life. They were not educated, they were not developed. They were treated as cattle, more or less as cattle.
And, through the power of ideas of discovery, and the sharing of these ideas, and building a society which is based on that principle, we have shown, in the past 500 years of the development of modern civilization, that it is possible to provide true freedom and true expression, to all human beings. Not 5 percent, not 50 percent, but 100 percent. That all human beings can live in normal family lives, or the equivalent; can live with life expectancies which reach to as much as 80 or 90 years of age, which is becoming modal today; can raise children and participate in the raising of grandchildren; that children can attend schools until the ages of 18 to 25, and can be given the opportunity to select a vocation, a profession, which has meaning for them in life.
So that, when we have run our course in a society which meets this challenge, every individual can go to their grave with a smile, or has the power to do this. Because they were born, they have found a mission which makes their life useful to the people around them, and to people in times to come. And, they can think of themselves as a person sent by God to do something, know that they have run their course, they have performed their mission, and they can be satisfied and proud, that their life was necessary.
What Makes our Lives Meaningful?
In a religious service, what do we do at a funeral, a funeral of a member of the family or a friend? What do we do? We talk about death, but we don’t talk about death. We talk about the test of Death.
When you see the face of Death, you are confronted with questions. And, the question is: What is the meaning of life? How shall we live? We think of a beautiful life, the life of a beautiful person, a person who we think is a gift of Providence to us. We say, “That was a good life.” We mourn the death, but we rejoice in the life. We turn to children, we turn to others and say, “See that good life.”
Or, we see somebody who died without accomplishing anything, and we say, “See the promise that this person had, what they might have become.” Like the person, the profligate who wasted the talent given to him; if he had used the talent given to him, what his life might have been. And we might rejoice at the time of his death now for the life he had lived, had he used it.
The test of Death: Is life meaningful? And, the essential thing about freedom, is to have a meaningful life, the freedom to have a meaningful life, not only for one’s own sake, but for the sake of your family, for the sake of society as a whole. To rejoice in living, to rejoice on being sent on a mission which is of some importance.
Like the person who’s educated to be a physician. That’s his vocation. It’s not just a way of making money, it’s a way of doing good, of providing a good which otherwise would not be available to people, perhaps advancing medical practice. And, when that person dies, we mourn the loss, or we rejoice in the life that was. That’s freedom.
Now, Martin had a grasp of that, and was careful to keep the movement moving in that direction. Martin identified that by referring to the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. This nation was created for a purpose. It was a purpose which was affirmed by Abraham Lincoln, which some people deny. But, nonetheless, it’s true.
THIS NATION HAS NOT FULFILLED ITS PURPOSE. It is like the man with the talent who buried it, or wasted it. And, Martin said, “No! We must, in the course of the struggle for civil rights, to reverse the cruelty, the falseness, the deprivation, we must establish a principle not for all the people in this country, but for all the people in the world, that everyone has this right.”
There are no races, because every child from every part of this planet, from every background, has that same gift, which, if nurtured, can accomplish the same thing. And, our mission should be to order the affairs of this planet in such a way that no person, that no baby born in any part of this world is denied that right: that freedom to develop, to find a vocation; the opportunity to practice a vocation, for the good of mankind; and for the fulfillment of their own life. To live a life in which they can rejoice with the gift of living.
And, Martin had that. Those who talked about racial politics, even though many of them were well-meaning, didn’t have that.
Now, what has come upon us? Martin and people associated with him, by the time he was assassinated, had induced a somewhat reluctant but conscience-stricken President of the United States, Johnson, to sign the two bills, the so-called Civil Rights bill and the Voting Rights bill. And, that was great. And, that was the only good reform in policy, which the United States has accomplished in the past 55 years, since Roosevelt died.
Waiting for the Train to Leave the Station
But, since 1968, we have gone nowhere. Some things have been less bad than they were before; but the fundamental problem has not been addressed.
As I’ve said many times, it’s like a train. The passengers say, “We have a right to travel on this train.” And, they protest, and get the right to travel on the train. And the day comes that the President of the United States says, “Well, I’ve got the Congress behind me, now you have the right to ride on that train.” Fine.
So the passengers, who had some tough experience with the U.S. government, go down to the railroad station to get a ticket to get on this train. And, they’re given the ticket; no problem. Very good. “Can we sit anywhere we choose?” “Yes, you can sit anywhere you choose that’s available.” They sit. They’re on the train, and they sit, and they sit, and they sit, and they sit. The dust collects upon them.
Some man comes through and they ask him, “What’s happening? When’s the train moving?” He says, “It’s not moving. The railroad just went out of business.”
And, that’s what happened to civil rights, for most people.
So, it was the unfulfilled promise, and there was no leadership which was capable of replacing Martin. There was no movement. The movement dissolved. Civil rights leaders went in various directions, some to careers here, some to careers there, some to this foundation, some to this. There was no united civil rights movement of the type which had captured the imagination of a nation; which had inspired most of the people of this nation, some even reluctantly. But, they had been inspired nonetheless. It’s like the man who beat the donkey on the back with a stick. He said, well, he may cry about the pain, but he was inspired to move. And, it was moved.
The movement is dead; but, it’s not dead. There are people, old friends, in this room today, who I know well, who have kept the spark of the movement alive. But, the movement, the train has not moved. Some of the cars have collapsed. Eh? The conditions have become worse for many people.
For example, you take the typical American. Now, if you look at the typical member of the labor force, that is, the person who either has a job, or is looking for a job, or should be looking for a job if they hadn’t given up in despair. Take the typical income and production, output, of this person. Measure this income in terms of physical goods, not only in consumer goods such as housing, clothing, food, other essentials. Also, three classes of services: education, health care, and science services of various kinds.
By those standards, in the United States, in the lower 80 percent of the income brackets, but also in the United States as a whole, the income per person, in the labor force today, is half of what it was 25 years ago. And, this is expressed by the fact that, where one person as a wage-earner could have supported a household in the late 1960s, it takes two to three incomes in the comparable family, not to quite make that standard of living today.
Look at the cost of housing. Look at all kinds of costs, the purchasing power of the income today, what people have lost, why families work three jobs or more in the family, just to keep the family together. Things have become worse.
All over the world, it’s worse.
And, we’re coming to a time of a great crisis; because, in part, of this collapse of our economy, because in the middle of the 1960s, we decided to stop investing in scientific and technological progress. The factories began to close down. Low-paid services replaced a factory job, for example. This sort of thing.
Because of that, because we’re much poorer than we were 25 years ago, but because the financial speculation has greatly increased, we have now come to the point on the global scale, that the entire financial system of this planet, is in the process of collapse, headed toward disintegration. That is now going on. It will happen very soon. I don’t know exactly what date the final stage of collapse will occur. But, it’s like the Titanic, which is sinking, the ship Titanic. And, it’s going lower and lower in the water. I don’t know what day or what hour this ship is going to go under the water, but I know stomping on the deck isn’t going to help it any. It’s that kind of situation.
We’ve come to the point that, unless, very soon, the President of the United States, and some leaders of some other countries, makes a decision to create a new monetary system, to scrap the economic policies which have guided this nation and much of the world for the past 25 years, to reverse that, to go back to the kind of economy which is based on factories, and farms, and infrastructure development, like the great TVA production which was around here before, to go back to that, that kind of work, that kind of production; to make things better, to build more hospitals, to make more hospital beds, to produce more physicians, to improve the physical conditions of life; unless we go back to that kind of policy, this civilization as we know it, is doomed.
The important thing is that the very nature of the crisis is going to force people, people of influence, to face the reality that the present policies are not working, that we must scrap these policies, we must go back, in part, to those policies which served us well. We must continue the policies from the past, which were good, and scrap the more recent policies, which are bad.
In that process, as I’ve said on a number of occasions, if the United States is going to come out of the mess it’s in, we’re going to have to recognize what Martin understood, in his own terms; not necessarily my terms, but the idea is the same.
This great nation has been spoiled, over its history, since its foundation, by two evils. And the two evils are of the same form. One evil, is a bunch of parasites from Boston and New York, and so forth who were associated with the British East India Company and drug trafficking. The Bank of Boston, the famous names of the so-called Bluebloods. They call them Bluebloods, because they couldn’t get any red—not enough oxygen or something, too much carbon dioxide.
The other thing which the Bluebloods were part of, were the Southern Bluebloods, were called Gray Bloods: the slaveowners, typified by the Confederacy, which is not some kind of spontaneous U.S. development. It was a creation by the British monarchy, first, by Jeremy Bentham, who organized it, and then Palmerston, Lord Palmerston, who organized the Confederacy and what became the Civil War. And, this country was torn apart for a long period of time by this struggle over the evil of slavery. It was torn apart in the great Civil War, one of the greatest wars, the most destructive wars of modern times, of family against family on the territory of the United States. And, out of that war, under a leader, Abraham Lincoln, we emerged with a policy.
And, Lincoln understood that our enemy was the British monarchy; and, Lincoln, I can tell you, had a war plan. His war plan was to defend the United States by taking over Canada. He had Erickson, who built the Monitor, the famous Monitor—which was only the preliminary design; Erickson had another design for oceangoing Monitors and Lincoln was prepared to build such Monitors and send them across the Atlantic to blockade every British port, and to bring the British Empire as a power to an end.
And, he could have done it. So the British Intelligence service had Lincoln shot by a British Intelligence agent called Booth, who was deployed from Canada, under the direction of Palmerston’s crowd in London, to do it. And we lost a good deal of what we had won in the Civil War in the postwar period, especially after the assassination of another president who wasn’t pleasing to the British, by the name of McKinley.
We got Teddy Roosevelt, whose mother was a Bullock from Atlanta, hard-core Confederacy, and whose uncle James Bullock was the head of the Confederate spy service, who trained Teddy Roosevelt in the arts of government, and we got that Confederate no-good as a president by virtue not of an election, but an assassination, arranged by British intelligence.
Then we have another President who came along later: Woodrow Wilson. Now, Woodrow Wilson was famous because his family was one of the leading Ku Klux Klan families. And, from the White House, Woodrow Wilson, as President, launched the mobilization of the Ku Klux Klan, which re-founded it not only in Stone Mountain, Georgia, but also in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in New Jersey, in Michigan, in Indiana, in Illinois, in Minnesota, and in Wisconsin. Almost four and a half million Americans were members of the Klan in the 1920s at a time when there were about 102 million Americans in all.
And this was done by a President of the United States working closely with people who are now called things like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and so forth, who were the people—Goldwyn and Mayer were two of the people involved in producing and distributing the film called The Klansman, later called The Birth of a Nation, around which the recruiting drive for the Klan was organized, under Woodrow Wilson and his successors. And there are some people who call themselves Thomas Jefferson Democrats and Woodrow Wilson Democrats today. Many of them in the eastern states have recently become Republicans. They may not have changed their nature, but they certainly have changed their sheets.
Now the problem in this country is that when you look around at injustice, you look at injustice in U.S. domestic policy, injustice against senior citizens in general, injustice against chronically ill, or the endangered ill, injustice against the poor. Then you look abroad and you look at Africa, which I’ll get to here. The injustice which the United States is condoning, by supporting the British genocide against Africa today, together with the genocide which is being sponsored by a former President of the United States, today known as Sir George Bush, who was knighted by the Queen for his services to the British Empire, and who is involved in the genocide going on in Zaire now.
When we see the injustice which is being done, or condoned by the United States, to other countries, or the injustice which the institutions of government, such as Newt Gingrich and his kind, are imposing upon people in this country, then you say, “There’s something evil in the United States.” And, you say, “What is that evil?”
Well, the cause of it might not be racism; but, racism and the history of racism and slavery in the United States, is a symptom of the evil. And, it’s the leading characteristic symptom of that evil in the United States.
And, what Martin understood, was the way to attack the problem was not to protest just against injustice, but to say, “We must use the movement to transform the United States into the kind of nation it must become, for itself at home, and in the world,” which is what the significance for him was of this emphasis upon the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. That there are rights under natural law, rights which flow from the recognition that every man and woman is created in the image of God, with powers accordingly, powers which must be nurtured, and developed, and utilized.
There are no races, there is only racism. There is only the failure to recognize that the person next to you, is a human being of the same race you are, the human race, distinct from all animals. And, that human being next to you has to be loved, because they are human, because they are in the image of God. And, if you don’t love them, you are not a Christian.
No matter how bad they are, you don’t like execution, you don’t want execution of prisoners, because no matter how bad somebody is, who are we to say they couldn’t be redeemed? Who are we to kill them before they’re redeemed? It is not necessary. We can be rich enough, we can keep them in prison forever, if necessary, if they stubbornly live on like that, hoping for their redemption, some act of redemption, so that nothing in the image of God is wasted.
The Truth About Africa and Changing the U.S.’s Role There
Let me describe the situation in Africa. All of Africa, all of sub-Saharan Africa today, is in the process of being murdered. I’ve been engaged in Africa politics directly for over 20 years, since 1975, when I first began meeting leading circles in various African countries, and was engaged since that time in projects for the development of Africa, and for addressing its problems.
Most people in the United States, including African-Americans, have no idea what Africa is like. None. You have a case where fresh water, safe, fresh water for drinking, is a crisis. A problem that can be dealt with, with pennies. You have dysenteries, problems that could be treated at the cost of pennies, if the care is there per capita. It’s not there.
You have enough land area, and enough farmers, to more than feed all of Africa. But, the bugs eat the food. The diseases eat the food, when it’s growing in the field. When the food is harvested, if it is harvested, it’s destroyed by diseases, by insects, and rots. Because there’s no means of preservation or transportation to handle it.
The life expectancy in Africa, in Central Africa recently, has dropped from over 50 years for an adult, to, now, between 30 and 40 years. Diseases are ravaging through the area. And, the mass murder is beyond belief. For essentially about, now, 30-odd years, Africa has been condemned to mass death.
This is not by negligence, this is by policy. And it comes from the highest levels of the British monarchy, specifically, Prince Philip, the founder of the so-called environmentalist movement, the environmentalist movement which, in the name of plant life and animals, is insisting that human beings’ numbers be reduced. And this is going on in Africa. They say there are too many Africans. That’s what Prince Philip, and Greenpeace, and the environmentalist movement in this country, says: “There are too many people in Africa!”
Well, they’re doing something about it. They are launching wars, they are launching terrorism. For example, in the recent several weeks, the government of Uganda, a member of the British Commonwealth, acting under instructions of the British monarchy’s Privy Council, sent troops, including mercenaries they hired, into camps in Central Africa, where millions of Hutu refugees were living. These troops of Uganda, hiring a mercenary killer as a front, a fellow called Laurent-Désiré Kabila, who’s a butcher, a criminal, one of the most notorious, disgusting criminals in all Africa. Thirty-five years’ record as a criminal. And, they used that as a cover.
But, it was troops of Uganda, sent from Uganda, which went into the camps, killed many of the armed people, and drove the others from the camps, in death marches, back into countries from which they were refugees, where the young men, as they approached these countries, were taken out and disappeared, never to return. They were shot. Young men of military arms-bearing age, were killed off. And, the women and children fled into the bushes to die.
THESE ARE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ON THESE DEATH MARCHES. MILLIONS. The total population involved, is a population of about 13 million of two nations, which speak the same language. These are the nations of Rwanda and Burundi. You have over two million people being slaughtered, with death rates, mass death rates, counted in terms of days and weeks. It’s the highest rate of genocide ever perpetrated on this planet. And, it’s only typical of what is being done throughout Africa.
Who protests this? Who protests this? Many in the United States are defending that, some are even praising this thug, this Kabila. Even African-American leaders are praising Kabila, a mass-murderer, a genocidalist working for the British monarchy, as a hero.
Recently, Sudan was attacked by the British Empire, the British monarchy. There is no “rebel force” against Sudan. It doesn’t exist. I met with the leaders of the former opposition from south Sudan. They made peace. I met with them. We discussed their problems, personally. I met with them twice, while I was there. We have ongoing communication with them.
The British have launched forces from Uganda, from Ethiopia, and from Eritrea—the armies of Ethiopia, the armed forces of Uganda, the armed forces of Eritrea, are moving in to destroy Sudan, under British direction. And, there are those in the United States who will condone that, that genocide.
This is part of the same operation as the genocide in Zaire. The rate of mass murder, is there. Where is the morality in the United States which stands up and says, “Our government must not only not support this, but our government must destroy this mass murder, must halt it, and must condemn and expose those who are complicit in genocide.”?
There’s no difference between those who support the murderers in Zaire, who support Kabila in Zaire, and those of the German-American Bund, who supported Hitler while he was killing Jews in the concentration camps in wartime Europe. They have the same morality. And, there are many aspects of our morality, public morality today, which echo that same Nazi-like attitude, against the sick, against senior citizens, against those—“Look, please die. Don’t you realize that you’ve run your time? Sign this piece of paper. You’ve done your time. Look, it’s somebody else’s turn next. Go out. You’re costing us too much money.” “Cut down this hospital, on which a community depends! It’s costing us too much money.” “Put all our welfare people on these HMOs, where they will die at accelerated rates,” as is being done.
What’s the difference? Yes, it’s greater in Africa. The excuse is, “Well, we don’t know anything about Africa.” Well, why don’t they find out something about Africa? We’re committing crimes there. Shouldn’t we be accountable for what the power of our nation does in various parts of the world?
A Time of Catastrophe
Well, what do we do at home? What do we do about the drug plague which is destroying our cities, destroying so many of our youth, especially among the poor, poor minority groups? What are we doing about the murder which is being practiced against senior citizens, against those who just happen to be poor, or against the chronically ill? All in the name of House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s balancing the budget—the man who can’t balance his mind.
So, in the 1960s, when Martin came, as I defined the hand of Providence on his shoulder, I think is the fairest way to put it, and brought together the forces of the civil rights movement, which attracted support from people of my generation, as typified by John Kennedy, a man of my generation, who had been President; that became a force in our national life, which took this nation a step upward, to become better than it had been before.
We have now come to a time of catastrophe. Things are terrible. There is no future for our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, unless we make a change.
Obviously, the same principles that we faced in the 1960s, face us again today. We need to recreate the movement. Not necessarily in the same form, or an imitation, but we need to create the spirit of that movement, and engage it on a larger scale nationally. Because the character of this nation is such, that the legacy of the toleration of slavery is a specific illness which rots the soul out of this nation. And therefore, the question of civil rights injustice, and understanding of that question, is crucial.
But, the communist solution doesn’t work, even though many communists, and socialists and others, who were atheists, supported the civil rights movement, in part, at various times. Their philosophy is deadly, as we’ve seen in later times, for the civil rights. Because civil rights depends upon the principle of recognition, in one way or the other, whether you take it from Genesis 1, or whether you know it in some other way; to know that every man and woman is made in the image of God, to exert dominion over this planet. And therefore, every individual’s life is sacred, and intrinsically loveable. There are no races, there is only the evil of racism.
Becoming a Person Who is a Gift of Providence
How do you translate that into personal morality? My answer is, again, the funeral service, the test of Death. Each of us faces death: how will we face it? What about all that pleasure-seeking you were doing? What about that wealth you were accumulating? What about that property you own? What does it mean? You’re going to take it with you?
Or, are you going to take with you, what you have been, for all eternity? What that mortal life that’s yours has been in all eternity? You came, and you went. What did that mean, in all eternity? Did it mean something? Were you a gift of Providence, as Martin was? Did you adopt a mission of some kind, a vocation, which meant that your life was beneficial, served some higher good? That you were like the man of Providence who came into the lives of the people in the community and then departed, and their lives were better thereafter? And they say, “God sent that life to us.” Were you the gift of Providence?
And, if you were not the gift of Providence, as you face death, what does your life mean? It doesn’t mean anything, does it? It’s the wasted talent. And, therefore, people have to fight for a higher kind of selfish motive; not the motive of punishment and rewards, not gain, not greed, not envy, not any of those seven deadly sins. But, the reward of doing that which enables you to face Death, or its prospect, with a smile on your face.
I was the stranger who came as a strange little creature, born into this community. I walked through this community, and the time came when I died, and I went from this community. And, in the time between the time I appeared as a stranger to whom they gave a name—I didn’t come with a name, they gave me one. What name did I give myself? Was I the gift of Providence to this community?
And, when you look at these children, what are we giving them, for their future? What kind of a world are we giving them? Think of all the children. Think of the people of Africa. Think of the lives of the people in this country. You can organize a movement, only on this principle, which is known to all of those who follow the book of Genesis. But, it’s especially a Christian principle: the idea of being a person of Providence in this sense.
And, what is the act which, to me, typifies this great act of Providence? Take a child. A child is born. What do you give that child? Oh, you give the child love and nurture, but how does the child in the long run recognize this as love? You say to the child, “You are human.” The child says, “Am I an animal?” They point to a dog, a sheep. “Am I an animal, like the dog or sheep?” What answer do you give? “No, human beings are different.” “Why are they different?” “Well, we human beings—the dog will do what its grandfather and father, and so forth, before it did. It can’t change its nature. You can use its nature to make it better, behave better. But, you can’t change its nature, cause it to change its nature. Man can change his nature.
Man can make a discovery of a principle of the universe, like a scientific discovery, or an artistic discovery. Man can then show somebody next to him, or her, how to make the same discovery. That discovery can then be used by people to change society, to make society better, as in a scientific discovery.
So, what do you give a child? You give a child general nurture. You also give them education, schooling, the act of love. Don’t tell a child to “learn” how to do this, and “learn” how to do that. They should learn a few things. They should learn where to pee, and things like that (not in the wrong place). But, children should learn—what? To be human.
What’s that? It is to relive the great discoveries of people thousands of years or less before them, to re-enact the moment from the mind of a great discoverer, and to accumulate those discoveries, so that the child says, “Hey, I know that man!” “How do you know him? Did you ever meet him?” “No! But I thought his thought. I re-enacted his discovery.”
And the child says,
Now I know what it is to be human. I have the voices, in a sense, in my mind, of many of these great discoverers of past humanity. Now I know what it is to be human. And, I want to do something like that. And, if I can’t make a discovery of my own, at least I can share these discoveries which I have made, re-enacted, and share them with others. Or, I can use these discoveries and this knowledge, to benefit society around me. I am human! I embody people from generations, or thousands of generations before me, in ideas and discoveries!
These are things upon which humanity depends! I can share this, in a useful way. Perhaps I can learn how to do the same thing, and make some valid original discoveries of my own, and pass those on.
Now, isn’t that happiness? When you’ve given a child a sense of that, through that kind of education, haven’t you told the child, “We love you. We’ve shown you how to discover yourself.”
That is my view of what we have to do. We have to fight. We have to fight as in war. We have to fight to save humanity from a terrible peril. But, in the United States in particular, we have to recognize that all of the evil that I know of, and I’ve been around, not as long as Amelia has, or a few other people, but long enough to know that every evil I have met, in the United States, as characteristic of our culture, you can find a smell of racism in it.
And, you won’t get rid of that, unless you approach it from a Christian standpoint. There are no races, there is only a human race. Every person is made in the image of God, every man and woman. Everyone has this potential, a potential which we must love. And thus, suddenly, the whole evil from this country falls apart.
But, when you make a resolution like that, it doesn’t work unless you act on it. And thus, I think that without the civil rights movement’s rebirth, in the context of the great struggle we have to make for justice in this country, and internationally, without the rebirth of the civil rights movement on that Christian basis, we won’t make it. Mankind will find itself condemned, as failed cultures and failed empires of the past were, to collapse into a long period of a new dark age. To pay a great penance to purge itself of the evil that it’s done, and its evil ways, and then given a chance, at some later time, maybe several generations later, to come back and be given another chance to start all over again.
I would rather we didn’t have to start all over again.
Thank you very much.