dr. king's "riots are the voice of the unheard" quote is always used out of context. he was not condoning riots, but was warning the government, if you continue to ignore our rightful demands---some will (inevitably) take the issue into their own hands---aside from the civil rights activists.

"And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non­-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I'm absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity."

Freelance writer. MA in Journalism from NYU. Studied under Ta-Nehisi Coates in his “Writing for Reporters” course. My weapon is My pen. @b.talissa on IG.

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