2,000 Jam Jersey City Church
King Visit Stirs Spirit of Unity
The Jersey Journal
Thursday, March 28, 1968
Dr. King also reiterated his stand against the war in Vietnam. He urged a change in priorities in America, the richest nation in the world, which is spending “$35 billion a year to fight an evil, unjust, ill-considered war,” while poverty is rampant.
Dr. King’s whirlwind tour of New Jersey also took him to meetings in Paterson, Newark and Elizabeth.
Before Dr. King’s arrival, the audience, which was unusually subdued, almost hushed, heard talks from ministers and other community leaders.
They were asked to register either to go to Washington or to help by donating money, food and other necessities for the “siege.” A total of $1,273 was collected on the spot.
The contributions ranged from a $100 donation from Councilman Fred Martin, $50 contributions from various officials and professional people and from some of the white people present, to a dime presented shyly by a young Corps-woman from the Job Corps Center.
Among the speakers preceding Dr. King was Dr. William Wilkerson, president of the Jersey City NAACP. He, too, forcefully sounded the theme of unity, both in the Negro community and the community as a whole.
“The only power that counts across Jersey City and the nation is not ‘green power’ or ‘black power’ but ‘vote power’,” he said. He urged voter registration and education in election principles as a prime goal in the community.
“We must unite in heart and aim,” he said. “whatever the issues are, let us unite to the ballot box,” he said.
Dr. Wilkerson pointed to the election gains made recently by Charles Evers, NAACP field worker in Jackson, Miss.
“Sometimes I think Jersey City is just as far south as Jackson, Miss.,” he said to applause. “Not everyone in Jackson may lime Charles Evers, but they got together to vote for him.”
Other speakers included Edgar Dudley, assistant director of Project Anti-Recidivism, one of the sponsoring groups; the Rev. Wesley Mapp of the host Mt. Pisgah and two other Jackson of Mt. Misgah A.M.E. Chruch, who was chairman; the Rev. Clarence Savoy, president of the Ministerial Alliance; and the Rev. Joseph Faulkner, S.J., of St. Peter’s Church.
Father Faulkner was the only white clergyman and the only Catholic priest to speak. However, several other white clergymen, including Catholic priests, were on the dais.
“Poverty is not the whole bit,” said Father Faulkner.
“Rights is not the whole bit. It’s when you accept someone as a man – that’s the whole bit.”
“The battle,” he said, “is with white racist America.”
He pledged himself to “convert my stupid brethren.”
Choirs from the Metropolitan Mt. Pisagh (sic) and two other churches entertained.
Earlier, Dr. King told some 1,600 cheering students at Newark’s South Side High School they must maintain a “sense of somebodyness.”
“Don’t let anybody make you feel you are a nobody.
“Do the best you can and whatever you do,” he said, “don’t give in to the slogan, “Burn, baby, burn.’”
He said it should be “Build, baby, build, program, baby, program, so you can earn, baby, earn.”
King told his audiences there is dignity in any job no matter how modest it is. He said a street sweeper can strive for excellence in his work, even as Michelangelo, Beethoven and Shakespeare did in theirs.
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