EI Students Attend Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom

The date was May 17, 1957. Three years ago on that date the Supreme Court of the land added a new verse to freedom’s song. “Desegregate and state to integrate” chorused the nine men in black. And now three years later it was found necessary to reiterate this and more…

There was anger, humor and compassion in what was said in front of the Lincoln Memorial that day. Dr. Johnson president of Howard University said to the white South: “We do not want to take from you anything you deem holy. One thing we want to do—to persuade you to stop doing the things that are unholy.” Rep. Adam Clayton Powell from New York condemned the “bipartisan hypocrites” in our government and declared: “we are getting more from a dead Republican (Lincoln) than we are from a live Democrat or a live Republican.”…

Mahalia Jackson, that great artist of the hymn and spiritual, shook the ground with her voice and spirit. It was the last speaker, the Reverend Martin Luther King, that the 27,000 pilgrims found their most eloquent expressor…

Rev. King, the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott and one of the organizers of this meeting, began softly and with a forceful tremble in his voice. He spoke of some Northern liberals who have a “high blood-pressure of words and an anemia of deeds,” and the liberals who are so busy looking at every side of the issue, that they never do take a stand…

And the Rev. King ended by saying that when we have reached this promise land of liberty, “the morning’s star will sing.” And we turned home knowing that we had learned more in this day than could be taught to us in a year. We knew too that today’s heroes were not riding in the clouds but had their feet firmly planed on the ground and were “moving on to victory with hope and dignity.”

—Bob Cohen, EI Student, excerpted from INFO, the EI newspaper