MLK Speaks on Integration in a 1960 Documentary

Integration Report I features the leader giving a speech at the Youth March for Integrated Schools in 1959.

“Yes, as I gaze upon this historic assembly, this unprecedented gathering of young people, I cannot help thinking that a hundred years from now the historians will be calling this not the “beat” generation, but the generation of integration,” says Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech delivered on April 18, 1959, at the Youth March for Integrated Schools. Moments from that speech appear about midway through this 20-minute film, along with a speech from Bayard Rustin and songs performed by Maya Angelou.

Directed by Madeline Anderson, Integration Report I reveals snapshots of the civil rights struggle at the time, with footage of sit-ins and marches across the nation. The film serves as an excellent account of where the country has been, and an important reminder of the inequalities and injustices that continue to block King’s dream. “As I stand here and look out upon the thousands of Negro faces, and the thousands of white faces, intermingled like the waters of a river, I see only one face—the face of the future,” King says.

To see more archival films, visit Prelinger Archives.

Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.

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