Letter from V.R. Hardy to MLK

Abstract

V.R. Hardy lectures Dr. King regarding his methods of obtaining equality. He asserts that such methods will only result in a race of people wallowing in self-pity. Hardy cites the long-term oppression of Jews as a case in point of how to overcome the tragedies of the past.

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Letter from V.R. Hardy to MLK
Transcripts & Translations
English

Transcript

Box 8, RD 2 Chadds Ford, PA August 22, 1967 [Stamp in red ink] Dear Sir: Starting with a great deal of respect and sympathy for your activities I have gradually been reduced to the conclusion that you are missing the mark just as much as anyone else. No one deserves anything in this world - nor in the long run will get anything - because of his color. You don't deserve a job because you are black any more than I do because I am white. You don't deserve a good income - or even to eat - because you are black anymore than I do because I am white. The colored people are spending their time feeling sorry for themselves - a real tragedy - instead of doing something about it. They brag about 200 years of oppression, etc. The Jews of the world have suffered under 2000 years of oppression, most of it much worse than anything the colored folks have suffered. What have they done to live under these conditions? They taught their people to excel [Underlined: excel] in learning, in industry, in frugality, in the will to survive and advance - not to revel in self-pity, as [crossed out: the] you and other Negro leaders are trying to get Negroes to do. The way Negroes will achieve what we all would like to have is by excelling in education, in hard work, in abilities - not by begging, voting, or trying to exert political pressure for things they have not earned. Even the thing of integrated education [and] excellent school buildings and teachers will not help the colored people if they cant or wont learn. I know enough teachers (having been on a school board 12 years) to know there are many colored kids to whom these two things apply - just as there are some white kids in the same situation. It is doing these kids a disservice to lead them to think that they should have the same standard of living as the smart kids who work very hard and contribute to society to the very limit of their capabilities. That is what you ought to be teaching [and] leading people to do. Yours truly, V.R. Hardy
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