“For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’…There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.”
The above quote comes from his Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” I chose it because I dislike when people say Dr. King had “patience.” This narrative is neo-liberal/“post-racial” rhetoric which reframes him to be viewed as docile and implies that if we are patient we will get what we want…one day. It’s not true.
King had enough of the injustices experienced by those who were oppressed. If the Civil Rights Movement leader was patient, he would not have been organizing and protesting. Although some may disagree with his non-violent tactics, MLK along with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and their supporters were not patient in their fight for equality. They were mobilizing and galvanizing for the change they wanted to see. Moreover, in his most cited speech, “I Have a Dream,” Dr. King said, “We’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.” On August 28, 1963, he definitely stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial to reclaim what was owed.