These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention . . . And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.

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Misattributed to King. King indeed said, "Let us be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Although the quotation is frequently attributed to King, he was restating the words of the prophet Amos, recorded in the Bible, Amos 5:24: "But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" (KJV), or "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (NRSV). People were familiar with the Old Testament prophets during the Civil Rights Movement and understood that this was a Biblical reference not original to Dr. King.

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