Martin Luther King Jr. contributed this short foreword to Berkeley school superintendent Neil V. Sullivan’s account of Berkeley’s painstaking implementation of its school desegregation plan. King had become acquainted with Sullivan through his successful effort to re-open the public schools of Prince Edward County, Virginia, which had been shuttered for three years due to massive white resistance to integration.
Fascinatingly, King admitted in this foreword that, before coming to Berkeley in May 1967, he had been “indeed discouraged about school integration.” He estimated that it would take “97 more years” before the South successfully desegregated, and thought that the North’s chances were not much better. It was in this context that Berkeley’s “peaceful struggle” returned “hope to [his] soul and spirit.”
For a look at King’s manuscript of this foreword, visit the Martin Luther King Center digital archive here.