“ Well, if you noticed when I was speaking I said the whites can help, if the’re progressive-minded. But my observation and analysis of the kind of help they’ve been giving makes me very cautious about the help that they offer. And I say that because of this: as I said, I grew up with whites. Most of them are intelligent. At least they used to be. No white person would go about fighting for freedom in the same manner that he has helped me and you to fight for our freedom. No, none of them would. When it comes to Black freedom, then the white man freedom-rides and sits in, he’s nonviolent, he sings “We Shall Overcome” and all that stuff. But when the property of the white man himself is threatened, or the freedom of the white man is threatened, he’s not nonviolent. He’s only nonviolent when he’s on your side. But when he’s on his side he loses all that patience and nonviolence.
Answer to a question concerning the role of white people. (April 8, 1964)