How Did Failure Make MLK More Self-Sufficient?

JFK meets with leaders of the March on Washington
Leslie Taylor-Grover
July 29, 2020

MLK wanted segregation outlawed through a second Emancipation Proclamation. While meeting with President Kennedy in the White House, he asked Kennedy about the possibility of a second proclamation, which would ensure racial equality. But Kennedy’s response was shady.

He was politely noncommittal, but did ask King to draft a proposal. Undeterred, King had the document drawn up and sent to him. All he had to do was sign!

For all his effort, King got only one response from Kennedy.

Silence. Kennedy didn’t sign the document or even acknowledge it, but he did take the time to invite King and other Black leaders to the White House to celebrate the commemoration of Lincoln’s signing of the first proclamation. 

That’s when King fully understood what was really going on.

He could not depend on Kennedy’s sincere support. So in lieu of attending the event, King planned the Children’s Crusade. He called upon his local community organizers, the footsoldiers of the movement - and the world saw how the U.S. mistreated its Black children.

After the outcry, Kennedy finally lent his political support and federal resources for Civil Rights legislation.

We can’t trust those in power to take the lead in fighting our battles for liberation. Sometimes we have to do it ourselves and force their hands!

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