Local News Archive
Print Issue: December 19, 1963
Atlanta Negroes Demand Civil Rights Speed-Up
Members of the St. Martins Human Relations Council, the Archdiocese Interracial Unit, were among those attending the Civil Rights demonstration at Hurt Park, Atlanta, last Sunday.
Apart from the laity, the following priests and sisters were also present: Reverend Walter J. Donovan, pastor, Most Blessed Sacrament parish; Reverend Eusebius J. Beltran, vice officialis, Reverend Conald Foust, both at Cathedral of Christ the King; and the following Passionist Fathers of St. Paul of the Cross parish: Reverend Dennis Walsh, C.P., pastor, Reverend Edward Banks, C.P., Reverend Christian Kuchenbrod, C.P., Reverend Richard Leary, C.P., and the Reverend Alban Harmon, C.P. The following sisters from St. Paul of the Cross Parochial School were also present: Sister Mary, S.S.J., (principal), and Sisters Stephen, S.S.J., Gemma, S.S.J., Mary Peter, S.S.J., and Margaret Mary, S.S.J.
Main speaker at the demonstration was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who declared that something strange and sad had happened to Atlanta. He added that if some concrete results were not achieved in the grating of further civil rights to Negroes in the capital city, then demonstrations may be the only answer of the Negro leadership.
Dr. King said the rally was not an effort to embarrass the city, rather it will call Atlanta to return to justice and to rise from dark yesterdays of racial injustice to bright tomorrows of justice for all. He said that While boasting of its progress and virtue, Atlanta has allowed itself to fall behind almost every major southern city in progress toward desegregation. Dr. King added, It is as if the very progress we have made has become a tranquilizing drug to lull us to sleep and dull our sensitivity to the continued existence of segregation. Indeed our city is in danger of being inoculated with such a mild form of democracy that it will become immune to its genuine substance.
Three other Negro leaders spoke on the same theme of inadequate action to eradicate discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and other disabilities suffered by the Negro.