There is a video on YouTube where MLK says '... at 11 o'clock in Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hours, in Christian America.' in 1960 but in the documentary of James Baldwin 'I Am Not Your Negro', there's a part where Baldwin quotes this but says 'as Malcolm X once put it, "the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday."' Is there a slight chance MLK quoted Malcolm X there or Baldwin just misremembered or misquoted, or Malcolm X used the line himself after MLK and Baldwin heard the quote from Malcolm X?
MLK video
Baldwin video

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    NY Times says MLK. Is there any reason both can't be true? I'm not sure that I see a fundamental contradiction or question here.
    – MCW
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 15:26
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    Indeed both may have said it but in the mood of the era, people would have known who first said it and if it's a catchphrase or a slogan as it sure is, the person originating it would be tracked down by a researcher and other people may not use it without quoting. Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 15:42
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    What does this quote mean? Is it a reference to church service and lack of mixed congregations?
    – SJuan76
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 22:12
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    @MarkC.Wallace Baldwin made the claim about Malcolm X on the Dick Cavett Show at 11:40 in this video youtube.com/watch?v=hzH5IDnLaBA , but whether or not Malcolm X ever actually said that is a different question.
    – DavePhD
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 14:02
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    Just for the record, I'm not challenging any of the above; I just believe that history relies on sources, and better sources lead to better history.
    – MCW
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


According to the April 1955 article Till Victory is Won in Crisis, Fred Stripp said this in October 1954:

Not while the hour of eleven o'clock on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in American life.

Particularly, at the NAACP regional conference held in Asilomar, California, October 15-17, 1954.

However, the 20 February 1954 Pittsburgh Courier credits Benjamin Mays as saying, in effect:

the most segregated hour In America begins at 11 o'clock every Sunday morning

An 18 October 1953 St. Louis Post Dispatch article says:

The observation that "eleven o'clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of American life" originated, I have heard, with Mrs. Charles Johnson, wife of the president of Fisk University.

The Congressional Record 3 August 1953 reproduces an 11 May 1953 Time magazine article "The United States Negro" which also credits Marie Johnson, Charles Johnson's wife, quoting her as saying :

Still , 11 o'clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of American life

24 April 1953 Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) as well as the Republican and Herald (Pottsville, Pennsylvania) say:

Dr. Kenneth Miller, executive secretary of the New York City Mission Society says..."What we have to do is practice brotherhood every day and stop having the 11 o'clock hour on Sunday the most segregated hour of the week"

So overall, Kenneth Dexter Miller, president of the New York City Mission Society, was the first to say "...most segregated hour..."


This is the first documented reference I can find: Dr. Helen Kenyon, former Moderator of the Congregation-Christian Churches, who called 11 o’clock Sunday morning the “most segregated time in America." 14 November 1952, The Plaindealer (Kansas City, KS), pg. 5, col. 4: “Sunday 11 A.M. Is Most Segregated Hour.”

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