President John F. Kennedy in a radio and television
report to the American people June 11, 1963
We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. it is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.
The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to
be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat
our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. . . .
The fires of frustration and discord are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand. Redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades, and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives.
We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a
people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to
increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or
talk. It is a time to act in the Congress, in your state and local legislative
body and, above all, in all of our daily lives. . . .
Next week I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law.