"There’s a famine in your nation today. You can’t understand it. (Tell it like it is.) Every city you have in your country today is a little powder keg. Riots breaking out, day in and day out. And, America, you wonder what is wrong. You must be told, America, that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It’s failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened. It’s failed to hear that the promises of freedom and equality have not been met. (Yeah.) It fails to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity. (Yes.) And this is it. A famine has broken out. And there isn’t any way to deal with this famine. It’s a misguided outbreak—as I have said—riots are socially destructive and self-defeating, and I will stand up and condemn them at every point, but at the same time I must condemn the conditions that make people feel so hopeless. (Yes.) Make them feel in such despair that they engage in this kind of misguided action. (Yes.) America needs to hear something, (All right). And that is that our summers of riots are caused by winters of delay. As long as the Negro doesn’t get his freedom, and as long as he doesn’t get it now (Yes.) there’s going to be tension (Um-hm.) all over this nation. There’s a famine in this country. (Yes.)

A moral and spiritual famine, because somewhere America strayed away from home. But I can hear the voice of God saying, ‘America, it isn’t too late, if you will only come to yourself. Your cities are exploding today, America, but just come to yourself. You, you, you, you, you know, America, I have enough—and to spare—if you’ll follow My spirit, to help you solve your problem. You come back home, America. Now, if you get your priorities right–and you’ll do that, America, if you come home–you can end poverty… You won’t have a dilapidated Harlem in any city. You will not have a west side and a south side of slums in Chicago in any city. Because you’ll be at home. And home will get things right for you. And everybody will begin to love everybody and live as one big happy family. Jesus is saying to America, ‘Come home.’"

Martin Luther King Jr., "The Prodigal Son" (1966)

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