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(1964) Joseph Jackson, "The Vote is the Only Effective Weapon in the Civil Rights Struggle"

Rev. Joseph Jackson, long time pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, and President of the National Baptist Convention from 1953 to 1982 became the leading spokesperson for the black conservative opposition to the direct action civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King and other leaders.  In this address at the National Baptist Convention’s 84th annual meeting held in Detroit, on September 19, 1964, he outlines why he feels that obtaining and using the vote are the only necessary actions to bring about racial equality in the United States.  

As Christians we are a part of our nation and a part of the struggle of America. America was brought into being to satisfy and to answer the human longing for freedom. There was the urge in man to be related to other men as men without a modifier or any kind of limitation or restriction. There was an awareness of a human kinship deeper than race, more profound than nationality, and more inclusive than any accepted religious creed. In addition to the quest for a new geographical spot there was a search for a new human relationship, a new freedom, and new opportunities. These basic urges inspired the early colonies to brave the dangers of a rough and unknown sea, and seek a land in which they could live as free men and aspire to the highest possible goals of life without the enslavement of the past or being the victims of the determinism of enforced circumstances. They wanted a chance to explore and to search out the meaning of life for themselves, and an opportunity to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.

They soon became convinced that there was no such land, no such Utopia, but all they would find would be an opportunity to make such a land and such a country. They were convinced it could be made out of the desires that now possessed their souls and out of the thirst for liberty that dominated their lives.

America was born in a struggle and as a struggle for freedom, and for the opportunity to develop the highest resources of

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