In assessing the summer’s events [in Birmingham], some observers have tended to diminish the achievement by treating the demonstrations as an end in themselves. The heroism of the marching, the drama of the confrontation, became in their minds the total accomplishment. It is true that these elements have meaning, but to ignore the concrete and specific gains in dismantling the structure of segregation is like noticing the beauty of the rain, but failing to see that it has enriched the soil. A social movement that only moves people is merely a revolt. A movement that changes both people and institutions is a revolution.
The summer of 1963 was a revolution because it changed the face of America. . . .
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Why We Can’t Wait, “The Summer of Our Discontent”