A newly discovered recording has surfaced of a speech made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On December 7, 1964. Just days before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, King gave a major address in London on the state of civil rights and segregation in the United States. The speech was recorded by the European correspondent for Pacifica Radio, and was recently discovered in that network's archives.
In the speech, King admitted that the United States still had many issues that required better solutions, while acknowledging that some progress had been made:
And I try to incorporate or develop what I consider a realistic position, by admitting on the one hand that we have made many significant strides over the last few years in the struggle for racial justice, but by admitting that before the problem is solved we still have numerous things to do and many challenges to meet. And it is this realistic position that I would like to use as a basis for our thinking together tonight as we think about the problem in the United States. We have come a long, long way, but we have a long, long way to go before the problem is solved.
King also pointed out annoying characteristics of the American legal system during the passage of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. These frustrations are still very much present today:
Unfortunately, after many months of battle, and for a period we got a little tired of that—you know, there are some men in our country who like to talk a lot. Maybe you read about the filibuster. And you know they get bogged down in the paralysis of analysis, and they will just go on and on and on. And they wanted to talk that bill to death.
Finally, there was some levity in the speech, as he noted that The Civil Rights of 1964 was actually being implemented in southern states:
And so, in America now, we have a civil rights bill. And I’m happy to report to you that, by and large, that bill is being implemented in communities all across the South. We have seen some surprising levels of compliance, even in some communities in the state of Mississippi. And whenever you can find anything right in Mississippi, things are getting better.
Full audio and a transcript of the speech are available on the Democracy Now! website.