America has witnessed months of protests against racism and police brutality following the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and other unarmed black Americans. Now Baltimore has erupted in anger in the wake of the unexplained death of a 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died last week from a spinal injury he sustained in police custody.
As officials implore Baltimore residents to respond to Gray's death peacefully, some experts, like Ta-Nehisi Coates, have posed questions about the value and meaning of nonviolence in the face of such systematic oppression.
And as the nation did a half-century ago, many are turning once more to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who offered profound words of wisdom on the topic of riots and nonviolence. A specific quote from Rev. King recently resurfaced, and his nearly 50-year-old words accurately capture today's tense moment.
"A riot is the language of the unheard," King said. New Jersey senator Cory Booker shared a powerful excerpt from King's 1968 speech, "The Other America," on Facebook in November:
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