Tag Archives: Medgar Evers

Remembering Medgar Evers: The First Civil Rights Martyr

11Medgar Wiley Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi on July 2, 1925; dying the victim of a racially motivated assassination on June 12, 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi after attending a rally. He was the third of four children of a small farm owner who also worked at a nearby sawmill. His social standing was impressed upon him every day, but Evers was determined not to cave in under such pressure. He once said his mission was evident at the age eleven or twelve when a close friend of the family was lynched.

He walked twelve miles each way to earn his high school diploma and joined the Army during the Second World War. Perhaps it was during the years of fighting in both France and Germany for his and other countries’ freedom that convinced Evers to fight on his own shores for the freedom of blacks. After serving honorably in the war, he was discharged in 1946; he began working for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1952. Evers traveled throughout the state of Mississippi trying to encourage voter registration and worked tirelessly to enforce federally mandated integration laws.

On 12 June 1963, hours after President John F. Kennedy gave a televised speech condemning segregation, Evers was shot in the back by a high-powered rifle while returning home. He crawled to the house and collapsed in front of his wife and three children; he died an hour later. The rifle found at the scene belonged to Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the all-white Citizens’ Council, a statewide group opposed to racial integration akin to the KKK.

Beckwith was tried twice but nearly thirty years later, thanks to the persistence of Evers’ widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, the case was reopened and Beckwith was tried and convicted in 1994, and the conviction was upheld by the state supreme court in 1997. Evers-Williams published “For Us, The Living in 1967”; Beckwith’s trial was the basis for the 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi that starred Whoopi Goldberg.

Medgar Evers position in the civil rights movement was that of field secretary for the NAACP and recognized as one of the first martyrs of the civil rights movement. His death prompted President John Kennedy to ask Congress for a comprehensive civil rights bill, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the following year.

The Mississippi in which Medgar Evers lived was a place of blatant discrimination where blacks dared not even speak of civil rights; much less actively campaign for them. Evers, a thoughtful, and committed member of the NAACP wanted to change his native state. He paid for his convictions with his life, becoming the first major civil rights leader whose death was called an assassination.

Evers was featured on a nine-man hit list in the Deep South as early as 1955. He and his family endured numerous threats and other violent acts, making them well aware of the danger surrounding his activism. Still he persisted in his efforts to integrate public facilities, schools, and restaurants. He organized voter registration drives and demonstrations. He spoke eloquently about the plight of his people and pleaded with the all-white government of Mississippi for some sort of progress in race relations. To those people who opposed such things, he was thought to be a very dangerous man.

In some ways, the death of Medgar Evers was a milestone in the hard-fought integration war that rocked America in the 1950s and 1960s. While the assassination of such a prominent black figure foreshadowed the violence to come, it also spurred other civil rights leaders, also targeted by white supremacists, to new fervor. They, in turn, were able to infuse their followers with a new and expanded sense of purpose; one that replaced apprehension with anger.

Evers must have also had a sense that his life would be cut short when what had begun as threats turned increasingly to violence. A few weeks prior to his death, someone threw a firebomb at his home. Afraid that snipers were waiting for her outside, Mrs. Evers put the fire out with a garden hose. The incident did not deter Evers from his rounds of voter registration or from his strident plea for a biracial committee to address social concerns in Jackson. His days were filled with meetings, economic boycotts, marches, prayer vigils, and picket lines and with bailing out demonstrators arrested by the all-white police force. It was not uncommon for Evers to work twenty hours a day.

The NAACP posthumously awarded its 1963 Spingarn medal to Medgar Evers. It was a fitting tribute to a man who had given so much to the organization and had given his life for its cause. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Medgar Evers’ story lies in the attitudes of his two sons and one daughter.

Though they experienced firsthand the destructive ways of bigotry and hatred. Evers’ children appear to be very well-adjusted individuals. Myrlie Evers remarked, “it has taken time to heal the wounds [from their father’s assassination, and I’m not really sure all the wounds are healed. We still hurt, but we can talk about it now and cry about it openly with each other, and the bitterness and anger have gone.”

As a fitting tribute, Evers was interred at Arlington National Military Cemetery in Washington DC. How many of you are willing to give your life for something greater than yourself? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The Insanity Of WAR

11I can recall not too long ago, there was a tiny little place in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. When I was there we called it the land of the little people. They were not much more than poor rice farmers, not a mighty army or even a strong political force to any degree. Yet, they were able to defeat the mightiest nation on the planet. America told the American people we need to go there to support then to save democracy, because we had to fight Communism! Well, history tells us how well that worked out.

Millions of people died and were maimed; trillions of dollars were spent in this effort constructed on false pretences. They said this little nation attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, which never happened but it was used to get America involved. This war lasted for more than a decade and left with no accolades. In fact, it was not a victory! We saw a similar action in the fifties in a little place called Korea!

Let’s look at today’s industrial military projects. Bush and company took put American in two wars about a decade or so. They told American people it was necessary to defend the “homeland” against terrorism. The Bush wars were also sold based on false pretenses, some say a downright lie. Wars have traditionally been fought for religion reasons in the name of God and of course land has been a reason. It is hard to determine if either of these reasons were the cause of these current wars. Yes, religion is part of it – land, not so much but this war is about what’s in the ground. So I suppose, it is not too far from the script.

In Vietnam, when American left; the enemy took over the entire country in about a week. In Iraq, about 800 ISIS forces took nearly half the country in a week. Not only that but these same 800 men caused 30,000 Iraqis troops to surrender and run away. Does this sound similar?

What is lost, however, is that the Politicians have yet to learn two things: [1] you cannot impose freedom upon people who don’t want it or know what it is and [2] they have not learned to mind their own business and stay out of the affairs of others. Particularly, when American has more than its share of problems here at home!

During the Vietnam War there was a draft, where you were force to go off to your death. This time we have what’s called an all volunteer army, which mean they convince men and women to volunteer to go off to be maimed and die. In Vietnam, most of the soldiers were black and poor. In this war, they are still poor, by and large, however, they are mostly white. Vietnam was about money and so is this war.

Bottom line is this: war is about money and has nothing to do with freedom! If you ask, what is war good for; the answer is nothing – absolutely nothing! What I think we can conclude is that these people who involve America in such conflicts cannot walk a chew gum at the same time because history has shown their way has not worked because not one war has been won in a half a century. Now, they got rich.

It is also important to note that most often these men who start wars have never been to war, which makes it easy to start one. Also, their loved ones and children never fight or die. Maybe a fair draft system might cause the war hawks to think more carefully if the new their children might suffer as a result. This is just a short reflection into the realm of sanity, or at least common sense. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Infamous Jamal Bryant Full Sermon: “I’m My Enemies Worst Nightmare”

I am sure all of you have heard about Reverend Jamal Bryant’s remark about “ho’s” from the pulpit, which appeared at the time out of bounds. In fact, I myself reblogged the social media news flash to which I regret. First, let me say I have no attachment to this guy but was drawn into something that did a disservice to this man’s message and for that I wish to offer an apology to Pastor Bryant and those who follow him.

I don’t want to sound arrogant and I don’t often apologize for much, but in this situation, after doing some research, I found the entire thirty minute sermon. What I discovered when taken in context – that sentence became irrelevant! I should not have followed the social media craze which was more than anything media distortion. Therefore, I offer a sincere apologizes to this man. I have added the full sermon, which had a more powerful and meaningful message.

I read somewhere that forgiveness is mine saith the Lord. Therefore, I judge not this man for any of his indiscretions; for that is his cross to bear. Right is right and the media craze was wrong – this time! He who is without sin case the first stone! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Listen and see for yourself.


It Could Be A Long Hot Summer

zemmermanI wrote a post last week reminding my readers that the murder trial of George Zimmerman is finally upon us and to support the Martin family in their quest for justice. I was surprised by some of the comments and emails I received and yes, the pros and cons were split right along color lines. One guy commented that “we should pray for Zimmerman” the accused murder of this child. Another sent a message saying I was playing the race card.

I know there is freedom of speech and everyone has a right to their opinion. But most reasonable people would take umbrage to such remarks particularly in light of the defenses unethical behavior, in my view, to fabricate information about the dead child. As widely reported the defense produced what they called evidence in a brash attempt to alter the image of Martin by linking him to guns, drug use, and a propensity for violence.

The defense team, in prior press conferences and interviews, revealed images on Trayvon’s phone of him smoking marijuana and allegedly holding a gun. Being that they lied about these things should make everyone question their ethics and trustworthiness on any issue or evidence in this case. Particularly, when the court agreed that none of this is admissible.

The there were also statements made recently by Zimmerman’s brother about “voodoo forensics” is more evidence of their desperation. They want to discredit as much evidence in the public eye prior to trial regardless of foundation or truthfulness. Should we discount his statement as the man’s feeble attempt to help save his brother from prosecution of killing an unarmed teenage boy? YES!

Despite the posturing from the Zimmerman defense team and a defiant and nationally supported stance from the Martin family, the trial could play out in a variety of ways once jurors are presented with the mounds of evidence in the weeks ahead.

We have not come as far as we think and if history is any indication we might be in for a long hot summer as the Trayvon Martin murder trial proceeds to conclusion. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Minus One: The Drew Smith Series

About the Book

book coverMinus One the Drew Smith Series prequel takes us back when the attorney launches his legal career.  Before the ink is dry on his license to practice law Drew Smith finds himself at the center of a murder mystery.  The recent law school graduate works as a hotel concierge and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat and Julio.  Like the three musketeers they bond in a fraternal friendship put to the test when Medhat is kidnapped after running up a drug tab he can’t pay. 

Rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat then becomes the prime suspect in a string of murders.  Driven by their romantic entanglements the attorney is captivated with a pretty Latina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio and his Filipina love find themselves expecting, and Medhat’s passion for blondes gets him snared in a femme fatale’s net. Minus One captures Drew Smith’s evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with seriousness of purpose.

About The Author

picNorwood Holland is a freelance writer, lawyer, and author of the Drew Smith legal thriller series based on the capers of an urban trial attorney.  He is a graduate of Howard University School of Law with a bachelor’s degree in English from Fisk University where he studied under the renowned Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps.  Holland favors D.C.’s local color in his fiction and currently writes the blog editorialindependence.com devoted to promoting independent authors among other things.

He has served in several government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and a number of Washington’s top national law firms.  In the mid 90s Holland began freelancing for the local media.  Some of his credits include The Writer Magazine, the Examiner, and Black Literature Magazine.  Minus One follows up on the success of Sleepless Nights, the first in the Drew Smith Series.

Intimate Conversation with Norwood Holland

Welcome Norwood, Take us into the main character of Minus One?

My main character is the protagonist Drew Smith.  He’s an urban criminal law attorney and though he is my favorite he is not the most popular among my readers.  Most prefer his sidekick Julio.  I like Drew because he so complex.  Sometimes even though I created him I can’t even explain him.  In my latest release Minus One, readers or often frustrated and confused at why Drew let’s himself be manipulated by his new buddies Medhat and Julio, but Drew wants to accepted.  And Medhat is by nature a manipulator.  Readers expect Drew an alpha male to be in complete control but the book starts out with Julio and Medhat playing him for a fool.  But the situation evolves and reader has to move on and accept Drew’s behavior.  In the end, we see Drew is no fool and allowing himself to being manipulated is all part of his continuing education.

Drew is by far the smartest and as suave and charismatic as his two wingmen, Julio and Medhat.  Truthfully I love them all like a father I can’t favor one son over another.

Norwood, What Inspired you to write Minus One?

What inspired the story was a fierce argument I witnessed between the real life Medhat and Julio.  Even back then I knew their relationship had the makings of good story.  So I would say the characters of Julio and Medhat were inspired by a real life buddies Medhat and Julio, but that’s as far as the comparison goes.  I can’t emphasize enough that this is a work of fiction.  The novel has some unrestrained and indulgent sexual scenes all of which are a figment of my imagination.  I don’t want readers to get the wrong idea.  All the romantic relationships are mixed, racially and culturally, but the only one, Drew’s relationship with Nina is affected by racism.  The Latina’s father objects to her dating a black man.  The multicultural setting provides the book’s background yet at the dawn of 21st century race remains a major obstacle only for the Black man.  In addition to the suspense of solving the murder I think the reader will find interest in Drew’s reaction to and coping with the situation.

Tell us about your next release.

Snakehead is a story that deals with human trafficing and a corrupt F.B.I. agent.  The story was inspired by the headlines of two actual events (1) the sinking of Golden Venture, a ship loaded with human cargo that ran aground near New York City in 1993. Passengers had paid at least $30,000 each to be brought to the U.S. from China’s Fujian Province, expecting to arrive indebted but unnoticed.  The second event was the murder of Eric Robert Wone.  A young American attorney of Chinese descent who was mysterious murdered in DC.  The two real life events are unrelated but both involve the Chinese immigrant community.  I got creative in linking the two with a corrupt F.B.I. agent who has his own agenda.  When Drew Smith’s law school pal the Chinese-American is mysteriously kill his efforts to track down the killer are thwarted by the F.B.I. agent manipulating the legal system.

Connect with the Author

Email: norwoodholland@aim.com
Website:  http://www.norwoodholland.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/Norwood22
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/norwood.holland

To purchase book: http://www.amazon.com/Norwood-Holland/e/B004Q26D4U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1365085906&sr=8-1

Tour Schedule: http://wnlbooktours.com/norwood-holland/

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Save Our Children

1We the people are focused on the upcoming trial in Florida for the murder of Trayvon Martin. As this process begins hold your children, look at them and pray that something like this never happens to them.  In whatever way you can – let’s show our support and pray for Justice.

WE MUST REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

This video dates back to a month after the shooting with raw emotion from Trayvon parents. Put yourself in the shoes…

 


Covert Conspiracy Against Tavis Smiley

tavis-cornelThis is one of the few times I will ask for your opinion. What say you???

I am not a hater, by nature, I admire any person of color who is successful and has the courage to champion African America issues. Brother Smiley was one who fell into that category. Then he took a trip to a place I don’t understand. We’ve learned that Tavis believes he’s so important that the President of the United States is engaged in a covert conspiracy against him. In some of the reports he suggests there’s race at play in the very question and that he, Smiley, sees himself as a political martyr.

Most African Americans know that the president, we so strongly support, has not done too much for black people specifically. We had strong hopes that our issues would finally be corrected by him with the stroke of a pen. Most African Americans can see that he has been the most maligned person on the planet and that there is an element, from day one, who wanted and is doing everything possible to see our president fail. We expect James Crow, Esq. and his follower will and do create conspiracy’s – but not from Tavis!

There are reports that “Smiley told the Associated Press that members of the Obama administration, whom he didn’t identify, have successfully convinced sponsors to stop funding his ventures, including his anti-poverty initiatives.” The great Michael Cottman said in his commentary on black America Web that “the mere fact that Tavis failed to identify exactly who in the Obama administration “convinced sponsors” to stop funding his ventures, and exactly which sponsors he’s talking about, is particularly telling… If he had any evidence whatsoever to support his allegation he’d be holding one of his PBS “gibfests,” complete with “expert analysis” by the prince of gesticular verbosity, Dr. Cornel West, pointing his finger at the president, and condemning the people in the administration who were involved.”

I agree with Cottman that if he produced evidence of such a conspiracy or something to support his claim it would be a gift from God to Tavis’s credibility and by not doing so makes a reasonable person wonder “What’s the Deal”. Can you imagine what Darrell Issa could do with something like that in his House Oversight Kangaroo Committee, particularly when the GOP is on a presidential witch hunt?

Could this be something as remote as ego resulting from the president not attending the “State of the Black Union” hosted by Tavis during the presidents first presidential campaign? Or as Tavis has complained all over the media that “For the very first time in my career I haven’t been invited to the White House”. Or he have such a huge ego that made him think that he had enough clout in the Black community to challenge the first Black president of the United States.

The fact is Brother Tavis with two wars, the devastating weather events, the economy, the GOP, and frankly running the country; president Obama hasn’t given you a second thought since he’s been in office. As Eric Wattree wrote, and like just about everyone else in America, at least with good sense, could see that he doesn’t have to. Tavis and his sidekick Dr. West are making themselves look like perfect fools on their own accord, so the president doesn’t have to say, or do a thing.

Eric Wattree also wrote that “Tavis and West have become the new Amos & Andy of the Black community, and their trajectory is identical. They not only fail to represent Black interests, but they’ve become a major liability and embarrassment to many in the community.” Wattree wrote on another occasion that “The only thing that Tavis and West have to sell is the Black community, and once they lose that, which they’re currently hemorrhaging, they become a liability rather than an asset…”

When was the last time you watched the Tavis Smiley Show? The problem you face Brother Smiley is that you have no agenda and have nothing to offer. In other words you have become irrelevant? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

What say you???


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