The South's Moment of Truth.


THE SOUTH AND ITS PEOPLE are facing a spiritual crisis. We have had outbursts of violence and localized crises again and again: in Little Rock, Montgomery, Clinton, Nashville, Tallahassee, and other areas of the South.

But what we are now facing is not localized and cannot be. It is something different, something that has not happened in this country before; it has a new quality of hope in it; and it is, I believe, of tremendous moral and political significance.

This hour of decision was precipitated on February 1 by a Negro student, age eighteen, a freshman in a college in Greensboro, North Carolina. He had seen a documentary film on the life of Gandhi; he had heard about Montgomery and the nonviolent protests made there; he had probably listened to Dr. Martin Luther King--certainly he knew about him; he had his memories of childhood and its racial hurts; and he had his hopes for the future. But millions of Southerners, young and old, and of both races, have had similar experiences.

What else was there in this young student that caused him to be capable of this moment of truth? Courage, of course; and imagination, and intelligence--and enough love to respond to Gandhi's love of mankind, and enough truth-seeki ng in his mind to realize the meaning of Gandhi's...

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