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We are faced with two apparently irreconcilable facts in the South: the one being the decree of our national government that there be absolute equality in education among all citizens, the other being the white people in the South who say that white and Negro pupils shall never sit in the same classroom. Only apparently irreconcilable, because they must be reconciled since the only alternative to change is death. In fact, there are people in the South, Southerners born, who not only believe they can be reconciled but who love our land — not love white people specifically nor love Negroes specifically, but our land, our country: our climate and geography, the qualities in our people, white and Negro too, for honesty and fairness, the splendors in our traditions, the glories in our past — enough to try to reconcile them, even at the cost of displeasing both sides. These people are willing to face the contempt of the Northern radicals who believe we don’t do enough, and the contumely and threats of our own Southern reactionaries who are convinced that anything we do is already too much.

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