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There I wanted to sign Don't just a road to freedom which we must observe good if we are to live to make this journey and I wish to leave one or two of these signs with you as I go to my seat this evening the first sign on the road to freedom said is that where that is you want to take. Very strange. Unless we come together and find ourselves together as one group. We will never be free in America. Ekta knew growing would stand up 8 million strong. I've gone with. The broke white. People. Of a better time of the day. We could to win our freedom. We kept the next I. Thank you. We will decide that we are not going to pay to
be segregated in any longer and we are not going to put dissipate it in don't stop. It didn't follow some discrimination. I guarantee you we could win our freedom in America. We would come together and decide that we are not going to just sit down and on the edge of town or somewhere but we're not born. To sit down. Own America not we wouldn't have to sit down but we cannot pay. For some thoughts and some knowledge of. The. Compromise Bill. Thank you. Do you know about our negroes in Montgomery. I don't guess they are in Nashville. I believe some of the models. Who are still paying Jones and buying that N. Jones from. Why didn't John agents who come in their houses without ringin no bail
without removing that hat. And calling them by their first names. Susie. My. How much you're going to pay me to day. And her new clothes are keeping them in business. Few weeks ago I was in San Francisco and I walked the picket line from a wood stove my hot was made to believe as I saw the new groom crossing the line going into wood only the box popped on. Ice cream. And I said no for those in the wood that can free up people like this unless they are that good to win at home. And Pittsburgh young lady came up to me and she said to me or I'm so much concerned about the plight of you people
down in the south. And I hope that some day you will eventually get your rights. I'm very very much concerned. And I looked at. And hosts beach betrayed because she had gotten a little prop up bro. But that was still something Mississippi another bout with. The old and I said to her How long have you been in Pittsburgh. And she said. Oh well love again the Swallow. That well. Well I've been here a year and a half and I was. And I said to think that you in the land of promise here in Pittsburgh they. Just said oh yes we have our freedom here. I'm trying to say did you have this evening my friends. As long as your face is black.
I don't care not whether you are new in Boston Massachusetts shouldn't switch Alabama. I knew what just another Negro in America. The 2000. It's ok how much money that. You have. In your pocket. How many degree you're at where you're Leo. What kind of a job you love Top Pot You know what I know. The Negro in America all of America. And not fit to just say as long as your skin is black you are considered inferior yall over what a loser I said to Prime Minister. Quam in Cooma a few months ago the real problem for the black peoples of the wood to date is their lips to stigmata off of
black you know womb red borders felt all over the wood as long as your skin is black that you cannot produce that you are not capable of producing. I was in Chicago for the day and I took on nonstop jet flight from or Harrah field to San Francisco at the national level. I got on this plane and I had a first class ticket. And my wife sees to it that I use the vest after shave lotion and cologne in the wood. And I had it on. And I use god result. And it allows fairway. And I have one good suit. I don't have a dome tonight. But I have one. Good
suit. And I had it on. And I got don't. Smell it all right. Was. Anybody in the brother in this audience must confess tonight that I look all right. I was smitten all right and lookin all right. And I got on that plane in Chicago. You listen to me. Chicago not. Augusta Georgia. I took my seat. And there's the White Pass and just boarded that plane they looked at it from Santa to succumb. They looked at it from front to back. And I own that after one passenger discovered that he couldn't find a seat anywhere else. Did he come and take one. This was not. In Mississippi. Our job just from where this was in Chicago Illinois
and I only point that out for I hear everywhere I go that is Dick case. I can have a whole seat by myself and as much comfort as I cheat on. Yes that plane has crashed. And the rest of you travel if you made a confession would confess the very same thing. I don't care how I'm in a Ph D them in their deeds and no kind of deal you got. And how much money. You have. In your pocket. You are just another addict really. And this mess of negroes separating them sales from other nickel Now ways Crofter railroad track and feeling that they are better off not going to grow. And practice and segregation and discrimination in our own ranks is a sick and. Before long my. And eternal God you're going to wake up one day and
discover that you are no free not as long as your skin is black and your brothers and sisters who are down in madness of Nashville Tennessee. We're going to tell you this thousand. Thousands wound our interview an attack that rare Strand says the sign. We can all be the leaders in this movement. We never would have gotten off the base and come away if we had not gotten back on a Martin Luther King Day and built. The greatest religious leader out you know what I have today and concept without respect and all of the way and that is what we must do. There is too much jealousy and all right here but it won't be deleted.
And unless he can be the leader he's going to rock the boat. And from the movement and the organization the next sign on this road says leadership leadership for God's sake don't sail Lorraine's down the river. For a pat on the back and for mess of pottage far too often. I wonder leaders have sold the people shot. Only for their own advantage in order that they might get it. In order that their picture might get in the paper some way. In order that they might be praised a man in order that they might get some money. They have sold the reefs down depressed I by no means count myself as an example at this point. If I had been looking for riches I wouldn't have to be a pulmonary disease. They have come to me by day and by night to sell out my people.
But I'm sad all the time and all round again. I would rather suffer the affliction with the people of God and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. We must have leadership in this struggle that is willing to suffer with the people. Some of you may have heard me say this blog told this over and over again it was a true story it happened to me and Dumber cop drove up beside me and looked down in my car after having stopped me at my physique. He said to me all right get out chippy. I looked up at him and I said my name ID in a church. Then he proceeded to curse me out and said I don't care what your name is and I looked up at him again and said Now I don't care what your name is either. Not as long as I can see that number on your badge.
Then he said to me don't you get smart with me and I said don't you get smart with me. Because the same law that says I must respect you as an officer of the law says that you must respect me as a citizen of the law and I have to make that law because I'm one of the registrars of the state of Alabama. He didn't know what I was talking about I admitted I'm a registered voter. In the O.R.. And then he began to scratch his head and he looked down at me and said to me what's shown up to me. Who is she the owner. And once I I had identified myself he said owner Revlon on insoles I'll stop you. I'm so sorry I stopped you. You just go right on by Jew business. I guess you own your way to oppress me. Will ya. Yeah yeah stop me curse me out embarrassed me.
Call me out of my name. And now he just goes that I'm a minister a leader in the movement and cumbered and now he wants to extend me a special end and tells me to go home to my prayer. If I worked in this sophisticated Methodist church activity what I said was and the. We're OK. I am no primary suspect shot. And I'm not looking for you nursed myself a bus I said to him I can not go on to a lot less still so. Far cut me down discrete box behind me are the most humble members in my congregation who can't speak for them sales. I must speak for the Majlis as I get it down the street behind me. The members of the club. I hit it down District bar. Me.
You have cursed me out and then you going to place them and they will not have a title to that name and they would not receive the type of chick that now you discovered was that you think I'm on my way to a preemie that you wish to extend to me. For too long we have been invited down to. The big Baptist preacher Methodist his ship the Negro on the take and one or two other like downtown in the Chamber of Commerce in the hotel some way and this steep. And cook. And the negroes. Have eaten all the cookies. And drank up all the tea. The White. Men have said we
wouldn't mind giving you this integration if all of the niggers as well as you. But you are different from the rest of the niggers. And as soon as the negroes finished all the kids in the team. They believed in me with that chest stuck out. Saying to them said you know we are different from the rest was. That time wasn't. AS. Just. For us to sell the plow. Fucked up what TV channel could get than than. Well. We wouldn't want. Is. Freedom and I'm better at top. I get so sick and tired of travelling across to country and Negros coming up to me with the chest out. I'll be the only new growth in this
city council. I'm known let somebody own up committee I'm known let me grow in this and we don't know next here saying. Thank you. Good thing the bulb styled until you can get five months six to grow old on the city council. Then let me get your post. You know we don't have but fought Nigro congressman in the United States of America. And then we post an up that only this and me only the. Direst nothing for us to do but to get on this road to freedom. And observe the sun. The third sign on the road to freedom says that if you will reach your destination then you must be willing to suffer. You must be willing to suffer. I wish that I could assure you
this this evening that you won't lose your job but you may lose it. I have no guarantee to off the loss that jobs in Montgomery Alabama during the bus protests. These were maids cooks and but those who were lost at jobs they lost that job when they closed the pots in Montgomery. But now we are talking about integrate into schools and just to go and sit ins have scaled up to do light. Out of the teachers in Montgomery Alabama. And now they come to us over and over again. After enough please distill down the mood. Don't want to lose that teaching jobs. Let me tell you something. There's even and I know that I'm too hard on you tonight but there are some nights I have hot nights. Thank you. To. Do something and I know I should have a seat I would just lost in order to
live. Sweet speech tonight what I can do in a bet. It's a part of me. Let me tell you. That it's no law Fausta to them who saw $500 month that it is thought popped off to Lucy's $15 off only. Thank you. I. Shop the same. He had to live out of here it is and you have to live out of your hole you must be willing to suffer along the way so I stand here to see my home has been blown. My wife and my daughter. Was almost killed in it. My church has been done by Michael Martin Luther King the governor of Alabama the day he wanted me to go to take over the directorship of the Southern Leadership Conference. But it cost us $50000 to rebuild objects up to the point.
I couldn't go off and leave goes to the people who are still struggling with their own day in the heat of the day. Party has been attacked that the Apostle Paul I balance in my body. The bruises and the scholar's of a soldier of the cross and a follower of the Lamb been locked up in jail. As a criminal. Been called everything but a child of God. My head is bloody but Heaven knows it's on time. Because I was a guy. Who told me to go one day and he said if you go I'll go with you. And do and tuck us hours of our movement. He has been right down. By my side. And I'm a living witness to the fact deceiving him that he will never leave you alone. If you would be free you must be willing to suffer for that freedom.
My critic has been cut off. Dickens came the other day and said to me. And yes I have two suits hanging over me I could assume from the city commission those do in mid-fall are half a million dollars. Counted my money before I came over here tonight and I have four dollars and seventy three said. I have new dollars. And then the governor of the state of Alabama says that he is going to file suit now against me for a hundred thousand dollars simply because my name appeared on an egg and the New York Times soliciting funds to defend Martin Luther King. But in the midst of all of this I'm not. And I'm not talking in. The end I did Martin Luther King and Montgomery for income tax evasion. But today is the new Saturday afternoon. Caught do all white
On freedom road by Reverend Ralph Abernathy
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Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
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The Rev. Ralph Abernathy of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) speaks at a rally following the opening of lunch counters to African Americans in Nashville. Sit-ins at department store lunch counters in Nashville had begun on February 13, 1960, some two weeks after similar sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, caught the nations attention and set off a series of sit-ins throughout the South. While there had been 15 sit-ins in the three years prior to Greensboro, in the two and a half months after the Greensboro and Nashville sit-ins began, there were more than 100 sit-ins in the South with at least 50,000 participants. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the Nashville movement the best organized and most disciplined in the Southland. Scholars of the movement believe that its success was due to the pre-existence of a cohesive social structure including churches, colleges, protest organizations, and dedicated leaders. In his talk, Rev. Abernathy emphasizes the need for unity among blacks and liberal whites, the importance of authentic leadership, and the willingness to suffer in order for African Americans to win freedom and overcome prejudice. The talk was recorded at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on October 18, 1960, by folksinger Guy Carawan.
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Race and Ethnicity
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African Americans--Civil rights--History
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Recordist: Carawan, Guy, 1927-2015
Speaker: Abernathy, Ralph, 1926-1990
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 10540_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB1540_On_freedom_road_by_Reverend_Ralph_Abernathy (Filename)
Format: audio/vnd.wave
Generation: Master
Duration: 0:22:09
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Chicago: “On freedom road by Reverend Ralph Abernathy,” 1960-11-06, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2021,
MLA: “On freedom road by Reverend Ralph Abernathy.” 1960-11-06. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2021. <>.
APA: On freedom road by Reverend Ralph Abernathy. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from