Tag Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King

Remembering The Terrorist Attack Of Bloody Sunday

007_1000They asked us not to forget the 911 attacks! I would ask them not to forget Tulsa, Oklahoma or the brutal terrorist acts on peaceful black people marching for the promised right to vote and the simple right to exist. One such attack was the Bloody Sunday rampage, and the atrocity at the hands of white bigots might be more appropriate. I’ll add that this act of terror and brutality was under orders of the government issued to the police. If it sounds familiar, we saw the same thing in Ferguson, MO. and Baltimore. So we have not moved very much in terms of racism, particularly when you read the DOJ report and see other racial events around the nation. White Supremacy is still evident, and racism is not dead.

What is lost in the Selma story is that, in large part, it all began as a result of the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson. Another significant fact is that the bridge is named Edmund Pettus, an enthusiastic champion of the Confederate cause and slavery. Pettus was a delegate to the secession convention in Mississippi and a Grand Wizard of the KKK. Ironic that a staunchly racist and bigoted so-called patriots name is connected with being the spark to give unheard of civil rights to the people he hated.

This was in no way the most horrific crime by the wretched system of racism in America. There was Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma where planes were used to bomb a black community. There were also, by most accounts, nearly five-thousand lynching’s during the first half of the last century with many for the entertainment for the white community. There was also the horrific murder of children like Emmitt Till and the bombing that killed four innocent little girls in a Birmingham church. Appalling and despicable acts of terror perpetrated by America’s homegrown terrorist like the KKK and others the so-called law.

Back to the March, between 1961 and 1964, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led voting registration campaigns in Selma, Alabama, a small town with a record of consistent resistance to black voting. When SNCC’s efforts were frustrated by stiff resistance from the county’s law enforcement officials and political leadership, meaning the Klan. Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) were persuaded by local activists to make Selma’s intransigence to black voting a national concern.

SCLC also hoped to use the momentum of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to win federal protection for a voting rights statute. During January and February 1965, King and SCLC led a series of demonstrations to the Dallas County Courthouse. On February 17, protester Jimmy Lee Jackson was fatally shot by an Alabama state trooper. In response, a protest march from Selma to Montgomery was scheduled for March 7. Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery.

Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State Troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot tear gas and waded into the crowd on foot and horseback beating the nonviolent protesters with billy-clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people. What was significant about this was that all of the television networks interrupted programming to televise this horrific terror attack that became known as “Bloody Sunday”. The images were of this day of terror were beamed around the world.

Martin Luther King called for civil rights supporters to come to Selma for a second march. When members of Congress pressured him to restrain the march until a court could rule on whether the protesters deserved federal protection. King found himself torn between their requests for patience and demands of the movement activists pouring into Selma. King, still conflicted, led the second protest on March 9, but turned it around at the same bridge. King’s actions exacerbated the tension between SCLC and the more militant SNCC, who were pushing for more radical tactics that would move from nonviolent protest to win reforms to active opposition to racist institutions.

On March 21, the successful final march began with federal protection, and on August 6, 1965, the federal Voting Rights Act was passed, completing the process that King had wanted. Bloody Sunday was about more than winning a federal act. It highlighted the political pressures King was negotiating at the time, between movement radicalism and federal calls for restraint, as well as the tensions between SCLC and SNCC. In that sense, it was a successful strategy!

In closing, let me bring you back to the present, 50 years later, with this point having seen racism rear its ugly head since the election of the first black president. We’ve seen brutal acts of aggression on black people though laws and its agents, the police. To include stripping the voting rights act and in Ferguson, which is the Selma of today. We see the same issues today as they marched for then. The Republicans are no different than the Citizens Council of Selma’s day.

I get a lot of disparaging racist comment concerning what I write and post about black history. To those people, and I use that loosely; you want me to believe and love the Constitution that says I am 3/5th human and not to forget the holocaust or 911. I say, I will never forget what your ancestors did to my ancestors or believe the whitewashed version of what was done, which continue today. Truth be told, the sins of your fathers are acts of terror that I will never forget! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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 FERGUSON 2015


Remembering The “King”

200x200Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the most revered leader of our time, was born January 15, 1929, and murdered on April 4, 1968. Dr. King’s most notable accomplishments were the Montgomery Bus Boycott, being the founder and first President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the famed March on Washington, and being the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

The life of Dr. King was to secure progress for the American Negro and to obtain civil rights for the American Negro and poor people in the America. He made great strides in accomplishing that goal, and for this reason, he has become a human rights icon recognized and a martyr. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, a National Holiday, and honored with a monument on the Washington Mall in DC.

He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. but his name given at birth was “Michael King.” Few people know that Martin Luther King, Jr. was named “Michael King, Jr.” at birth. But when his family traveled to Europe in 1934 and visited Germany his father changed both of their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant leader Martin Luther. King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind.

King married Coretta Scott, on June 18, 1953, on the lawn of her parents’ house in her hometown of Heiberger, Alabama; they had four children. At the age of twenty-five, he became Pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where his trajectory to greatness was launched in 1954. He skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grade and entered Morehouse College at age fifteen without formally graduating from high school.

In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1951. King then began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy on June 5, 1955, with a dissertation on “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

King was originally skeptical of many of Christianity’s claims. Most striking perhaps was his denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus during Sunday school at the age of thirteen. From this point, he stated, “doubts began to spring forth unrelentingly.” However, throughout his career of service, he wrote and frequently spoke, drawing on his experience as a preacher, which he understood to be his purpose.

For example, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written in 1963, is a passionate statement of his crusade for justice. It was confirmed when he became the youngest recipient to receive the coveted Nobel Peace Prize for leading non-violent resistance to racial prejudice in the United States.

We have been taught to believe that Mrs. Parks’ refusal to give up her seat that day was an anomaly. Many Blacks refused, at one time or another, to give up their seats in the white only section usually resulting in being run out of town. There was a committee silently waiting for an instance where they could take it through the legal system to put an end to this unholy system.

On December 1, 1955, the case that they were waiting for appeared. Mrs. Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. The Montgomery Bus Boycott planned by E. D. Nixon and led by King emerged. The boycott lasted for 385 days crippling the city economically. The situation became so tense that King’s house was bombed, and he was arrested during this campaign. The case ultimately ended with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses and throughout the south.

In 1957, Dr. King, Ralph Abernathy, and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a group created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. King led the SCLC until his death.

Over his career, Dr. King narrowly escaped death as his life was in constant danger, but he remained faithful to a non-violent philosophy modeled by Gandhi’s non-violent techniques. Dr. King believed that organized non-violent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights.

It is my opinion that this was the single most powerful tool in the arsenal of the civil rights movement. This explosive media coverage, both journalistic and television footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights marchers produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion. This was in large part what convinced the majority of Americans that the civil rights movement was the most important issue in American politics in the early 1960’s.

King organized and led marches for the right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other basic civil rights. Most of these rights were successfully enacted into law with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Largely as a result of his leadership, which unfortunately has been unmatched since his murder. Therefore, I urge everyone to take a moment to pay homage to this great man on his day, the first of its kind for a black man, and proudly honor his memory and life. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Greatest Story Ever Told

1I have written a series of articles during Black History Month specifically designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge for the enhancement of the minds of mankind to bring into remembrance the ghost of the greats and the struggles black people have endured. Our history is a phenomenal history and one of difficult struggles. Therefore, I say there is no doubt that our story is the “Greatest Story Ever Told”!!!

The legacy of dependency, apathy, and entrenchment of the American social order white supremacy from the beginning provides clear evidence that there are those with a diabolical intent to bankrupt the souls of African Americans and eliminate them based on an ideology of supremacy. These stolen souls that exist today are people who bear the burden of a system that perpetrated, in the name of God, the greatest crime known to man. Hence, from the beginning, people of African descent were intended to be a nation of people living within a nation without a nationality.

I like to call this “The Unspoken Truth” because white people see no wrong in the crimes and harm in what they have done. Fortunately, know we are empowered through knowledge and can see the continued issues that many blacks continue to face today from the untreated wounds of America’s forefathers. Black History Month is a knowledge-based examination of the African American Diaspora. Over the last twenty-eight days, I think we all have experienced a great sense of pride as we celebrated this journey remembering those who paved the way for our lives today. More importantly, you are more awake and as a result, understand the root cause of the asymptomatic behaviors manifested within your hearts. I will quote Dr. King and say “we have some difficult days ahead”.

I have spotlighted several of the ghosts of the greats you should never forget. Therefore, it is my sincere desire to help people understand that there is a conditioning in “certain” communities – this is not an excuse, rather an explanation as to why these behaviors were never unlearned and have been passed down from generation to generation. Over my relatively short lifetime, I have been referred to as Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, and African American, which were all polite terms assigned to make known that African Americans are not Americans.

Therefore, the concept of black people being slaves, physically or mentally, is as old as the nation itself; it is the American way. It is designed to deprive people of color of their culture, knowledge through sustained policies of control, and remove them from history. To overcome these indignities, we must realize that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize the forces that breed poverty and despair. Regardless of how much we are held down, it is our responsibility to find a way to get up, even if the system is designed to protect the system.

As you follow this journey that must continue 365 days a year; know that learning without thought is a labor lost; thought without learning is intellectual death, and courage is knowing what’s needed and doing it. As tenacious beings, we must understand that there is no such thing as an inferior mind. So I say it’s time for an awakening, if for no other reason than to honor those who sacrificed so much in order that we could live life in abundance.

I ask that you remember this: “You only have a minute. Sixty seconds in it. Didn’t choose it, can’t refuse it, it’s up to you to use it. It’s just a tiny little minute but an eternity in it. You can change the world but first, you must change your mind.” And that is my thought provoking perspective…


The Dream

10455671_10203771484181096_2260820563230053916_nI often think about the King Holiday as a wonderful thing, a day of service and pride. The truth is white folk never wanted a King Holiday, particularly since he was the most hated man in America during his lifetime! Nonetheless, America today commemorates what would have been the 88th birthday of the civil-rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. They have hijacked, and they made the world believe his legacy was nothing more than an eloquent dream.

I am he knew he would go down in the history books but probably not to the extent it has; every city has a street or building named after him. Nor did he ever likely expect that even his children would live to see an African-American president nor did he expect them to see black men and women sitting in the halls of power, from Congress to universities to executive board rooms. All he was hoping for was to elevate the poor and the right to vote.

Race, in other words, is no longer the automatic barrier it once was, even if we still have not fully reached the point where people are judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” For that progress, we have Dr. King to thank. He turned the tide of history in just 13 short years, from the Montgomery bus boycott to the Poor People’s Campaign, before being cut down by an assassin at just 39.

Dr. King did so not through coercion, but persuasion by nonviolently asserting a moral authority that forced America to confront both its past and its present. It’s become commonplace to suggest what King would say about today’s political scene. In fact, his views were shaped by his times, and times keep changing always reverting but to the country’s racial and bigoted ways.

The most profound speech was when he denounced the United States as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and opposed the Vietnam War, urging his country to “get on the right side of the world revolution.” Of course, we know those were the words that got him killed! But it’s fair to say that the leader who fought for equality in the schoolroom would be dismayed by the continuing failure of too many children of color to receive a quality education and not because of Jim Crow, but because public-school systems today are failing their students.

I am sure he would be equally dismayed that many leaders of the today’s civil rights movement are now actively opposing efforts to remedy this through innovations like charter schools, which have proved that poor and minority students can succeed in the classroom, which it does not. I am sure he would not approve of the so-called idea of political correctness and discussions about race is nearly impossible for honest dialogue.

We should honor or him today because he never lost faith in the gospel of nonviolence or that he died believing that the full equality and dignity for all could, and would be realized in America. Although, he did not live to see it and nor will we! Wherever you are May God Bless your soul – we needed you then the dream and legacy now. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Perfect King Day Message

200x200I Am Posting The Message With Many Thanks to Leonard E. Colvin For Writing This Profound Article –Chief Reporter, New Journal and Guide

Dr. Clayborn Carson is an African-American professor of history at Stanford University, and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute. Since 1985 he has directed the Martin Luther King. Jr., Papers Project.

Carson and  researchers were  commissioned by King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, to  sift through his writings for clues on the future of the quest for Black liberation.

Carson called the theme of  King’s last book – Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community – prophetic.  The book was penned in seclusion in a cottage in Jamaica with no telephone.

The institute will be  observing Dr. King’s birthday this year looking at  the theme of this half century-old book, and the nation’s failure to achieve many of the goals King had envisioned.

Carson said King focused on what African  Americans should do with their new freedoms. Further, he proposed that Blacks  and Whites have to unite to fight poverty and create an equal and just society.

At the same time the book was released, riots had broken out in the streets of Detroit, Berkley, California, and Newark because Blacks had grown tired of police brutality, poverty and lack of adequate employment.

In response to the civil unrest President  Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the  National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, or the Kerner Commission, to investigate the causes for the unrest,  while they were still underway notably in Detroit.

“But the findings were mostly ignored,” said Carson.  “The nation failed to end discrimination and brutality, thus the nation is still dealing with separate but unequal, which is based on the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and continued institutional discrimination today.”

Sixty-two years after the U.S. Supreme  Court issued the Brown Decision, declaring “separate but equal” public education illegal, the nation’s public schools are just as  segregated today as they were in 1954 or in 1967.

In response to desegregation  of the  workplace, neighborhoods and theaters, many working middle and upper class Whites left the cities for the suburbs to escape proximity of Blacks next door or in their schools.

“A few Black children are  enrolled in  racially diverse public schools today, “ said Carson, “but most attend the mostly Black and inferior public  schools today. With the exception of Bernie Sanders, you heard none of the recent presidential candidates talk about poverty and  the separate and unequal schools.”

Dr. Carson pointed out that upper and middle income professional and working class Blacks  also exited the poverty and  violence   of the nation’s urban centers.

“So there were  Black people who truly benefitted from the reforms Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement pushed for in the 60s,” said Carson.

But large portions of subsequent generations after 1967 did not.

The deaths of Michael Brown (2014) and Trayvon Martin (2012) by White law enforcement officers gave birth to the Black Lives Matters (BLM) Movement.

Carson  said the  capturing of the shootings of  unarmed Black men  by cell phone  and police body cameras has proven  the violence and disregard for Black life perpetrated by the police that Blacks have complained of over the years.

“As we saw with the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s, first (Bull Conner attacking Black children with dogs captured by TV cameras), Black Lives Matters and the cell phone are revealing these injustices,” said Carson. “If it were not  for both,  even middle class Black and White people would not realize this was happening because we have removed ourselves so far from the reality of poor and urban Black people.”

Carson said that he is concerned about the continued militarization of the local police departments with policies and equipment which is used to  oppress  communities most police officers do not live in.

“They are more like occupying armies in the communities. Remember many of  the officers hired in the late 60s and early 70s were veterans from the Vietnam Conflict which may have been affected by their experiences in battle,” said Carson. “Many of the officers hired by urban suburban departments  have experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Carson said there is another factor which  has furthered the racial and economic inequality in this country 50 years after the printing of “Where Do We Go From Here”  which was played out in the recent presidential election.

Political analysts have said that President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric awakened the deepest resentment, fears and racist  ideals of so-called White working class Americans.

“They valued  privilege over  justice and  equality,” said Carson. “There are older Whites who benefit  from Medicare or working class Whites who have  gained access to medical care through Obamacare for the first time.”

Carson said that many whites voted  for Trump and  the Republican party which  has vowed to privatize one and dismantle the other.

He said the 2016 election outcome indicates the racial legacy of  this nation that Blacks and other minorities do not deserve the rights and privileges White people have taken for granted and want to protect.

Carson said his institute’s  project is sifting through documents and King’s papers on the  Birmingham Campaign in 1963, where King and the   Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) joined with locals to defeat Jim Crow.

King had been arrested, and was in his cell when he wrote his famous “Letters from a Birmingham Jail,” chiding White clergy for criticizing efforts by Blacks to fight against Jim Crow.

King, according to Carson, had failed in a campaign in Albany,   and feared another in Birmingham, battling the forces of  Police Chief Bull Conner.

Further King, the Kennedy Administration and the White  business community were considering   a compromise to  end the  hostilities.

If so,  Black would not have gained anything for their efforts.

“King was against  allowing Black high school students to participate in the street demonstrations, fearing  the violence could get them hurt and further erode his standing” said Carson. But Fred Shuttlesworth disagreed.  The adult forces had been depleted and who else was left but the students. So King had to give in despite his misgivings.

Carson said the aftermath of the Birmingham campaign is reflective of  the plight of Blacks after Dr. King’s death. He said that Black students, who are now adults,  are for the most part, still dealing with segregated schools,   poverty and police brutality years afterwards.

“If Dr. King were to come back today he would be terribly disappointed  on the lack of effort to resolve poverty or true racial equality and respect,” said Carson. “I think Dr. King was seeking  to warn us fifty years ago (of what would happen) if we did not come together to resolve many of the issues which we see today.”


Remembering Mrs. Rosa Parks And Her Story

12289695_1058447177520234_3111041487841954008_nIt would be impossible to talk about black history and not talk about the mother of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was the greatest, most distinguished African American Woman Civil Rights Activist of our time. The woman is known as “the first lady of civil rights” was born February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama to James McCauley and Leona Edwards, her parents, a carpenter and a teacher, respectively. Her ancestry was a mixture of African American, Cherokee-Creek and Scots-Irish, which some say accounts for her fair complexion. In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, a barber from Montgomery, at her mother’s house.

Raymond was a member of the NAACP, at the time they were collecting money to support the Scottsboro Boy, a group of black men falsely accused of raping two white women. After her marriage, at her husband’s urging, she finished her high school studies in 1933 when less than 7% of African Americans had a high school diploma. Despite the Jim Crow laws that made political participation by black people difficult, she succeeded in registering to vote on her third try. It was something in her spirit that was rooted in dignified activism.

At the time, Mrs. Parks was highly respected within the local community, and as in many segregated communities it was close knit and intertwined. She was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP and had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, which was a Tennessee center for workers’ rights and racial equality. Although widely honored in later years for her action, she suffered for it, losing her job as a seamstress in a local department store. Eventually, having to leave Alabama for Detroit Michigan, where she found similar work.

Mrs. Parks remarked that it was the horrifying murder of Emmett Till, in August 1955, in which many people both black and white were moved by the brutal murder, was on her mind that day when she proclaimed to be tired of giving in. On November 27, 1955, only four days before she refused to give up her seat, she had attended a mass meeting in Montgomery which focused on this case as well as the recent murders of George W. Lee and Lamar Smith. All of this and the countless crimes perpetrated by Southern whites cause her to say “enough.”

After leaving work on December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Mrs. Parks, then 42, refused to obey the driver of the segregated city bus system who ordered her to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her arrest was the catalyst for a bus boycott that would cripple the city of Montgomery lasting nearly thirteen months. This event lead to what many view as the birth of the modern civil rights movement.

Many believe this act was the first of its kind in the rigidly segregated South, but it was not the first of its kind. In 1946 Irene Morgan, and in 1955 Sarah Louise won rulings before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Interstate Commerce Commission, respectively, relating to interstate bus travel. Just nine months before Parks refused to give up her seat, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to move from her seat on the same bus system.

Less we forget that in 1944, athletic star Jackie Robinson took a similar stand in a confrontation with a US Army officer in Texas, refusing to move to the back of a bus. Robinson was brought before a court-martial, which acquitted him. The NAACP had accepted and litigated other cases before, such as that of Irene Morgan ten years earlier, which resulted in a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Interstate Commerce Clause grounds. The difference as it relates to the many individuals whose arrests for civil disobedience was that Mrs. Parks’ actions sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Let’s journey back to a time when Jim Crow was the law in America, black and white people were segregated in virtually every aspect of daily life and not just in the South. Bus and train companies did not provide separate vehicles for the different races but did enforce seating policies that allocated separate sections for blacks and whites. School bus transportation was unavailable in any form for black school children in the South.

In Mrs. Parks’ autobiography, she recounts some of her earliest memories, which are of the kindness of white strangers but because of her race made it impossible to ignore racism. When the KKK marched down the street in front of her house, Parks recalls her grandfather guarding the front door with a shotgun. The Montgomery Industrial School, founded and staffed by white northerners for black children, was burned twice by an arsonist, i.e. the Klan, and its faculty was ostracized by the white community.

Before I go any further, on Montgomery buses there was a separation point, the first four rows of bus seats were reserved for white people. Buses had “colored” sections for black people, who made up more than 75% of the bus system’s riders, generally in the rear of the bus. These sections were not fixed in size but were determined by the placement of a movable sign. Black people could sit in the middle rows until the white section was full. Then they had to move to seats in the rear, stand, or, if there was no room, leave the bus.

Black people were not allowed to sit across the aisle from white people. The driver also could move the “colored” section sign, or remove it altogether. If white people were already sitting in the front, black people could board to pay the fare, but then had to disembark and re-enter through the rear door. There were times when the bus departed before the black customers who had paid made it to the back entrance.

Parks recalled going to elementary school in Pine Level, where school buses took white students to their new school, and black students had to walk to theirs: “I’d see the bus pass every day… But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world.”

For years, the black community had complained that the situation was unfair, and Parks was no exception: “My resisting being mistreated on the bus did not begin with that particular arrest…I did a lot of walking in Montgomery.” Parks had her first run-in on the public bus on a rainy day in 1943, when the bus driver, James F. Blake, demanded that she get off the bus and reenter through the back door. As she began to exit by the front door, she dropped her purse. Parks sat down for a moment in a seat for white passengers to pick up her purse. The bus driver was enraged and barely let her step off the bus before speeding off. Ironically that fateful day when you refused to give up her seat, it was the same driver who she would encounter.

After a day at work at Montgomery Fair department store, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus at around six p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of seats reserved for blacks in the “colored” section, which was near the middle of the bus and directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. Initially, she had not noticed that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. As the bus traveled along its regular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.

It was shortly after the landmark Plessey v Ferguson case that ushered in “separate but equal” in America when Montgomery passed a city ordinance for the purpose of segregating passengers by race. Conductors were given the power to assign seats to accomplish that purpose; however, no passengers would be required to move or give up their seat and stand if the bus was crowded and no other seats were available. Over time and by custom, however, Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the practice of requiring black riders to move whenever there were no white only seats left.

So, following standard practice, bus driver Blake noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers, and there were two or three men standing, and thus moved the “colored” section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black people give up their seats in the middle section so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in recalling the events of the day, Parks said, “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”

By Parks’ account, Blake said, “Y’all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats.” Three of them complied. Parks said, “The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn’t move at the beginning, but he says, ‘Let me have these seats.’ And the other three people moved, but I didn’t.” The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat. Parks moved, but toward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the newly repositioned colored section. Blake then said, “Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.”

Blake called the police to arrest Parks. When recalling the incident for Eye on the Prize, a 1987 public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.” He did, and the world changed that moment.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” Thank you, Mrs. Parks. And That’s my thought provoking perspective…

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As Spoken By The King

200x200In light of the horrible state of race relations in America today. We see many murders at the hands of the law, the unequal justice, the corrupt penal system that has become nothing more than the 21st century’s version of slavery, and the unfair economic challenges imposed upon black people in America. Black people have a right to be angry when they are blamed for their current conditions as if slavery, Jim Crow laws, “black codes” and the historical legacy of mistreatment by the system of white supremacy that has had a long-term and devastating effects on the Black community.

Dr. King was a shining example of bravery and left us with some powerful words before his death that we should recall today in these trying times where racism has boldly reared its ugly head. White Supremacy main purpose is to subjugate, use, and to eliminate people of color, which is to be for the benefit of white people.

Dr. King understood this which explains why most of has words have been sanitized, removed or reduced primarily to “I have a dream”. However, as I look at the state of black America today, this dream was more like a nightmare.

Here are some quotes “they” would never tell you about:

“I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.”

“There is a magnificent new militancy within the Negro community all across this nation. And I welcome this as a marvelous development. The Negro of America is saying he’s determined to be free and he is militant enough to stand up.”

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of the slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.”

“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’”

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was ‘well timed,’ according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’ We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”

“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be? Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or the extension of justice?”

“If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“If our economic system is to survive, there has to be a better distribution of wealth … we can’t have a system where some people live in superfluous, inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty.”

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!”

“Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything Black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionaries and see the synonyms of the word Black. It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word White, it’s always something pure, high and clean. Well I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everyone here will cry out: ‘Yes, I’m Black, I’m proud of it. I’m Black and I’m beautiful!’”

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’”

“Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.

Dr. King taught us a powerful lesson, which was the only way black problem could be solve was to boycott and starve the system through economics. If ever there was a time to wake up that time is now! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

 


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