On December 3 King opened the Institute on Nonviolence and Social Change, which commemorated the movement's first anniversary, with an address before several thousand townspeople and visitors at Holt Street Baptist Church. "God decided to use Montgomery as the proving ground for the struggle and triumph of freedom and justice in America," he declared to the assembly. "It is one of the ironies of our day that Montgomery, the Cradle of the Confederacy, is being transformed into Montgomery, the cradle of freedom and justice....
"All of the loud noises that you hear today from the legislative halls of the South in terms of 'interposition' and 'nullification,' and of outlawing the NAACP, are merely the death groans from a dying system. The old order is passing away, and the new order is coming into being. We are witnessing in our day the birth of a new age, with a new structure of freedom and justice." He called for reconciliation, redemption, creation of the beloved community. "It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age."1
The seven-day educational marathon featured workshops and mass meetings led by distinguished guests on the dynamics of the "new and powerful weapon" of nonviolent direct action, culminating in a huge Sunday service with Rev. J. H. Jackson, president of the National Baptist Convention. On the second night Smiley moderated a forum on nonviolent social change at Bethel Baptist Church, which included ministers T. J. Jemison, architect of the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott; C. K. Steele, leader of the ongoing bus