‘One day, South Carolina will be a better state’

From Staff Reports

It’s not clear whether Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Darlington County during his push for civil rights, but it’s for certain his crusade did bring him to the Pee Dee. King spoke in Kingstree on May 9, 1966. Portions of his visit there are archived at the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections, where they are preserved on digital video. The Kingstree speech is known as King’s “March on the Ballot Boxes” address. Here is at least some of what King had to say that day: “Let us on that glad day in June march on ballot boxes, for this is the way we’re going to straighten up the South and the nation. “Let us march on ballot boxes until somehow we will be able to develop that day men will have food and material necessities for their bodies, freedom and dignity for their spirits, and education and culture for their mind. “Let us march on ballot boxes so that men and women will no longer walk the streets in search of jobs that do not exist. “Let us march on ballot boxes until the empty stomachs of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina are filled. “Let us march on ballot boxes until the idle industries of Appalachia are revitalized. “Let us march on ballot boxes until ‘brotherhood’ is more than a meaningless word and at the end of a prayer but the first order of business on every Legislature’s slate or agenda. Let us march on ballot boxes. “Let us march on ballot boxes until every valley shall be exalted, until every mountain and hill shall be made low, until the rough places are made plain and the crooked places straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all of bloods shall sing together. “Let us march on ballot boxes until we are able to send to the State Houses of the South, men who would do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God. Let us march on ballot boxes. “One day, Mississippi, which has an affinity for the bottom, will be Mississippi which has an affinity for the top. “One day, Alabama, the heart of Dixie, will be Alabama, the heart of democracy. “One day, South Carolina will be a better state. “One day, Georgia will be a better state. “And why is this true? Because mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Glory. “And all over the South and the nation we can sing, ‘Glory, hallelujah. Glory, hallelujah, our God is marching on.’ “And so I say, walk together, children, don’t you get weary. There’s a great camp meeting in the Promised Land.”

Author: Rachel Howell

Share This Post On

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
x
6
Posts Remaining