"We've come a long, long way, but we have a long, long way to go." This is how Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King summarized the fight for integration in the United States.
Doctor King spoke Wednesday night at the First Parish Church under the auspices of the Bowdoin Political Forum. His lecture was the second of the Spring Issues Lectures. The previous night, Mr. Bayard Rustin delivered the first of this season's lectures.
The basis of Dr. King's remarks were on the question "Are we making 'real' progress in the field of racial relations." He said that there are three different groups of people with three different attitudes on this subject. The first group has an attitude of extreme optimism. They see meaningful strides in the past few years in the field of race relations and think that the problem is just about solved. They think that all the Negroes have to do is sit down and wait; integration is inevitable.
The second of these three groups is characterised by an attitude ef extreme pessimism. They see minor strides over the past few years and point to the discontent all over the country. This group sees, said Dr. King, race relations in a state of retrogression. They think that in the past few years more problems have been created than solved and that the whole racial problem itself cannot be solved.
Dr. King said that the third group is the realistic group. It agrees with the first group that we have come a long, long way but it also concurs with the second group that we have a long ways to go.
Dr. King displayed his great ability in speaking throughout the lecture. He used such poetic language as "The Negroes have broken from an Egypt of slavery, moved through a desert of segregation, and stand on the threshold of integration."
The Reverend also said that we should get rid of segregation not because it will help us internationally but because it is morally wrong. He quoted former President Kennedy who said "The issue of Civil Rights is not a political issue but a moral issue."
In the lecture and in the round table discussion that followed Dr. King dwelt upon the idea of non-violent resistance. He said that "Non-violent resistance is the most potent weapon of an oppressed people. It works on the conscience of the oppressor." When referring to direct action as a means of securing racial equality he said that the ends do not justify the means and that
destructive means do not bring about constructive ends.
Dr. King condemned the filibuster in the Senate. In regards to a compromise that the filibuster might bring about he stated that no Civil Rights Bill at all would be better than the watered-down version of the bill that is presently before the Senate.