16 September 1963 – New York City:
Thank you very much.
As you know, this was a small press conference, but a very important one. And it was scheduled to talk about the great things that we’re doing with black tenants here in New York.
And we will talk about that very much so in a little while. But I thought I should put out a comment as to what’s going on in Selma.
They’re great people. Great people.
But we’re closely following the terrible events unfolding there. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.
It’s been going on for a long time in our country.
What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.
I just got off the phone with the governor of Alabama, George Wallace, and we agree that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now.
We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Selma, to me it’s very, very sad. I want to salute the great work of the state and local police in Alabama. Incredible people.
We love our flag. We’re proud of our country. We’re proud of who we are, so we want to get the situation straightened out in Selma, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.
(the real transcript of yesterday’s conference is here)