CAST DOWN YOUR BUCKET
BACK HOME TO AN OLD SOUTHERN PLACE
To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition
in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of
cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man,
who is their next-door neighbor, I would say, “Cast down your
bucket where you are”—cast it down in making friends in
every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are
Booker T. Washington, 18951
The future of the American Negro is in the South…. This
is the firing line not simply for the emancipation of the Amer-
ican Negro but for the emancipation of the African Negro
and the Negroes of the West Indies; for the emancipation of
the colored races; and for the emancipation of the white
slaves of modern capitalistic monopoly.
W. E. B. Du Bois, 19462
I have a deep sense of responsibility at this point and feel, for
the next few years at least, that my place is here in the deep
South doing all in my power to alleviate the tensions that
exist between Negro and white citizens.
Martin Luther King, Jr., 19583
Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the greatest prophets and distinguished reformers to emerge from the American South. A southerner by birth and heritage, he
1. Quoted in Philip S. Foner, ed.. The Voice of Black America: Major
Speeches by Blacks in the United States, 1797–1973, vol. 1 (New York:
Capricorn Books, 1975), 609.
2. W. E. B. Du Bois, “Behold the Land,” Freedomways, 4, no. 1
(Winter 1964): 12.
3. A letter from Martin Luther King, Jr., to Dr. Dwight Loder (5
August 1958, The Collection of the Institute for Black Religious Re-
search, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, I11.