Tag Archives: Civil Rights Movement

Happy Belated Birthday Dr King & Happy MLK Day Everyone Else

Better Late Than Never: A Birth Worth Celebrating.

Pensive Dr King
The Birthday Boy: The late great Dr King Speaking of Late, Here I am waiting t ill his Holiday only to its kinda crazy that really happened

Hey, better late than never right?

On the 15th of January of 1929 MLK jr was born into this world.  He would grow up to become one of the most influential people ever born.  His lifetime left a fingerprint on the very fabric of society makeup and composition of this nation in a major and compelling way.  The fingerprint of his lifetime will be felt and seen, and may even pop up in the extremely rare instance that it’s needed. world, into this world ., easily one of the most influential figures in my own personal growth and development journey and that of so many others was born.

Who knows where this nation would be, were he still here if he were with us still today; would the protests and the #BlackLivesMatter or #BlackBrunch  #EricGarner and #Ferguson campaigns would still be going on?.

 

Tragedy Strikes @ The Lorraine Motel Memphis, TN-April 4, 1968

A Great Leader Is Taken From Us Far Too Soon.

Dr. King’s life, his wisdom, and his leadership were stripped from us that fateful day, April 1968, robbing us of what surely would have been a calming voice of reason, drowning out the angry din of the turbulent times that lie behind us, and those that lay ahead.  His moral judgement serving as a nautical star, always guiding us towards that promised land, the one he dreamed of; where all men are created equal and judged only by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

It Is His Day After All

In honor of his birthday,  his name day and his me-mo-ray(that’s memory for the illiterates amongst you), I shared some of his stuff below, beginning with speech about that dream his name came to become synonymous with.

Obviously Dr. King can’t take all the credit for the entire civil rights movement, much as the media among other people would like to just give it to him.  There were people and organizations fighting for the rights of African-Americans long before Dr. King ever got sent to Montgomery, or got the spotlight from the boycotts, but his pre-eminent role as the representative and face of the larger movement as a whole can’t be denied either,

He was merely upholding a tradition kept alive by all those who have fought for equality from the inside like A Philip Randolph who threatened to march on washington if African-Americans weren’t included to begin with.  No more of this playing  game and shit with your crappy ass little weaves or whatever the fuck you put in there. within their tribe or their own mind that we really don’t need to have any one there for it, because it’s just been one like

These Times, They Are A Changin:

From the time the Montgomery Bus Boycott began in 1955 until the his death in 1968 and even beyond; Dr King and the rest of the movement took the battle to the power structure and not vice versa, continuously applying pressure. in well thought out places   In attacking racism and discrimination where it existed and was most vehement; the lunch counters, the bus stops, and the polling place, of the deep south, they not only placed the entire practice of Jim Crow on display,  they put it on trial in the court of public opinion, a battle Jim Crow eventually lost.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr Delivering Speech
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivering one of his last speeches prior to his being assassinated at the hands of some backwoods simpleton who couldn’t plan his way out of a paper bag.

 

The Civil Rights Movement’s creative use of non violent direct action to frame and challenge the Jim Crow laws of the South met  with violence and repression at the hands of small town police,  members of the KKK, or just your garden variety, small-minded, red neck prick; most of which viewed by Americans across the nation were able to witness ignorance first hand at least once in their life.   Meeting non-violence with extreme violence backfired, leading to increased support for the demonstrators and eventually leading to Jim Crow’s demise with the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

A Job Well Done?  More Like It’s Just Begun, Time For Phase Two:

Let us not forget this little tidbit either,  just before his murder, Dr King had been in the process of expanding his consciousness and understanding and taking riskier opinions than he had previously or at least in public.s .  Rather than basking in the major accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement, especially for African-Americans of  the South, he sought to do even more before he died, and  his last efforts weren’t limited  to the black community either welcoming all people regardless of religion and regardless of creed.  He also came out against the Vietnam War publicly in one of his speeches, something the old Dr King would never have done for fear of rocking the boat.  The Poor Peoples Campaign was open to all people regardless of race or anything like that, but it is probably my favorite speech of his .

Status Report: Where We Stand At Now

 

The Poor People’s campaign The plan was for a large multicultural group of poverty activists to march on the washington memorial plaza whatever and camp out there as a reminder of poverty that Congress wouldn’t be able to ignore it anymore.  Sadly, Dr. King would not see this one through to completion James Earl Ray’s 30.-.06 cut his life short, and for no apparent  reason other than who he is.  At the time of the shooting, Dr. King and his entourage were in the middle of doing something with a document, it looked interesting

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/3816635″>Martin Luther King, Jr: “Mountaintop” speech full length</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user907438″>Filip Goc</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I think it’s pretty safe to assume everyone else feels the same as me when it comes to whether we feel as though we have to really put in very much effort .get up for anyone  about our sloppy levels of play lately not being acceptable anymore.  Everything has been all out-of-place I’m confident in saying I still don’t recognize the idyllic locale of his dream; guess we’re all still waiting on those two tickets to paradise as it sits now and you better believe this guy desperately is in need of a tan.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Luckily, I’m not the only one whose life the great Dr. King has touched.  We can rest assured that his memory will live on, the light he used to combat darkness will continue to illuminate the way for each of us committed to making this world a better place, a righteous one filled with love.

Only question is, who will join me?

 

Sources Consulted:

Wikipedia: Poor People Campaign

 

Related Goodies

The Passing of Rodney King 

Are We Guilty of Bigotry

Advertisements

Why FBI Request to Increase Cybersecurity To Combat “Subversives” Is A Bad Idea: They’re Obviously Compensating For Something

FBI & Free Speech
This book finally sheds a little more light on the FBI’s illegal surveillance program and its effect on the Free Speech Movement and California electoral politics.

This book “subversives” has a great story behind it.  The author had to fight the FBI for 30 years, for them to release the documents he uses as primary sources, costing the bureau over one million dollars in the process.  I recommend this as a read for anyone  (as soon as it’s not $40), I know I will, and no I’m not getting anything for it.

I know this book would tickle my fancy, especially since much of it focuses on the Free Speech Movement, which happened right in my backyard & Alma Mater, UC Berkeley.  It also documents the effort put forth by the FBI in undermining members of its leadership like Mario Savio and other leaders of activist organizations.  By using these struggles, the conservative movement was able to rise to power through Ronald Reagan; first as Governor of California (running on an anti UCB platform), and then as President of the United States.

If you would like a more detailed review, Matt Taibbi wrote a great review of “Subversives” in the New York Times Sunday Book Review I highly recommend you check out.

CISPA Internet Security for the Government
Cyber-Security up in tha motha fuckin hizzouse!!!! Guess who’s back! CISPA has returned to secure your privates

Forget the Soundbite, Its Time For A Reality Check

I think this book holds even more relevance than it normally would because of the recent push by Congress for us to surrender our online privacy rights via CISPA.  Through what I know and have learned, I feel that allowing CISPA to happen is a terrible idea and must be avoided at all costs.  The only thing this “cyber-security” measure allows the government to bypass the process of showing a judge enough probable cause for theme to get a warrant for our information; which they’ll then use to prosecute us with.

Without needing a judge to sign off on the legal reasoning of for their investigation, the FBI will be given free rein to decide as they will the merits of their case……yeah cause that worked out GREAT during the 1960s especially with COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program they used against political dissidents.

Eventually, we must draw that line in the sand somewhere or another,  so where will it be?  Regardless of our personal political beliefs, if we’re skeptical of Obama or not, or what our general feeling about our government in general is.; it doesn’t matter.  When it comes to increased governmental  powers at the expense of our eroding ones; we must ask ourselves, “when is enough, enough? and “where do we draw the line at?”

History Repeats Itself

The one thing sure to stay the same, regardless of party, or administration is the natural inclination for power to seek more power.  Look at investment bankers, elected officials, and police officers; for the most part, each profession is plagued by scandal, irrespective of their location.

For those law-abiding citizens inclined to believe this isn’t their problem because they aren’t doing anything illegal or wrong; guess what, you’re wrong!

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...
Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deutsch: 1964: Martin Luther King Português: Martin Luther King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look at the way the FBI investigated Martin Luther King Jr., easily one of the most respected people from the Civil Rights Movement, and in general.  Almost from the moment he stepped on the national stage, gaining the limelight during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, he faced constant, heavy surveillance from the FBI…

Countless hours of audio recordings and stacks of papers detailing all aspects of his private life, even the most private and intimate, all for his POLITICAL views.  What then, did these tax payer dollars uncover, for surely there must have been a good cause

And that criminal activity was;
…drumroll……drumroll…..drumroll……

[Maury Povich voice]

He had an affair

[GASP] oh the horror, I feel much safer now….. It turns out he WAS human! (i knew it).

Now I know I didn’t get shafted on that whole rapture business and miss that second coming of Jesus I keep hearing religious people talk about, YAY! I’m still in the running….. WHEW….crisis averted….I guess? [shrug]

(Or maybe it was part of the Federal Holiday vetting process, which must be something similar to sainthood….right?)

I wish I had asked for a receipt and could get OUR money back for THAT dumb purchase, or at the very least could have them validate my parking, cuz I feel kinda cheated; lightweight hardcore…..so should you…..

The saddest part of it all;  they actually took it easy on him.  The level of harassment and surveillance he faced was nothing compared to those the FBI viewed as being more “radical” oriented. Our government didn’t knowingly falsify or misconstrue evidence against him, as they did with Leonard Peltier of AIM; who still sits behind bars.

FBI Gets Down And Dirty; Real Dirty, Like A Criminal Would

FBI agents and provocateurs never infiltrated the SCLC, taking actions known to be likely at resulting in violent conflict leading to his death (or did they) as evidence would suggest was the case with Malcolm X, and members of the American Indian Project, or the Black Panther Party (yet again).

The only thing all of these people held in common was making too much damn common sense.  Our government IS imperfect and SHOULD and COULD do better by its citizens and the rest of the world; apparently they were just outspoken about it and received lots of media attention for it. an outspoken view that our government not only could, but should, do better by its people.

Apparently our freedom of speech isn’t actually free; just ask Bradley Manning (held for over 1,000 days without trial or charge), or Julian Assange (now holed up in a Central American embassy, to avoid US extradition efforts), it’s only free when it’s positive.  Negative commentators get taxed, and taxed hard by the government for holding that stance; a modern-day cookie jar the profit from curse words goes in.

Somehow, FBI agents and the government at large, find ways to avoid, bend or outright break those very same laws they have a hard-on to convict someone else for. I’d imagine this to be some legal wheeling and dealing and moral stretching exercise something akin to tying Stretch Armstrong to a tree and the back of the car; or like Andre the Giant somehow squeezing into a tiny tin box;  a contortionists!
……OOOOOO…….AAAAAAA……

only to find out afterwards Andre and the box never existed; it was an optical illusion……GOTCHA SUCKA!!!!!

…..the government and its  agents/representatives in the FBI and prosecution just didn’t agree with them not agreeing with its politics I guess….

Which is precisely why I don’t want them fumbling through my digital detritus; free to make whatever subjective interpretations they may, pursuing their case to the end regardless of how much bullshit it is…..just look at how petty they were in the case of Aaron Swartz.

Come With Me If You Want To Live

If you’re like me and oppose the increased presence of the government, all up in our kool-aid, then please show your support by signing the petition, or looking at what campaign’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation has going on, or the Internet Defense League, both of currently have online campaigns going on.

Or if you have other ideas to combat CISPA leave me a comment and we can work together on it!

If you feel that CISPA is a GRAND idea, or can’t even be troubled to think about it at all, suit yourself; you’re probably smokin rocks. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you’re having a train run on you by some guy named “bubba” and his buddies when you’re at Leavenworth Federal Prison for something stupid.

I think this is my stop, I’m getting off

All aboard;

Choo! Choo!





			

An Attempt to Write These Wrongs

English:
English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Attempt to Write the Wrongs:

Let Me Step Outside My Comfort Zone Here;

In fact, its far outside many people’s comfort zone.  Allow me to introduce the elephant inside the room, boldly standing there, stoic, and proud.  It is comforted in the knowledge nobody will say a word.  Despite the collective discomfort of its presence, nobody is willing to acknowledge that it even exists.  Better to just pretend it away, put a tablecloth over it, hide it “for heavens sake”, a cold hard truth to face another day.  Those with the access to the news mediums or the very mechanisms of government, do not speak of it.  Those who we need to be strong, our leaders and role models are anything but. The nature of the beast has made them fearful, of becoming unpopular, offending someone, committing some social faux pox, saying some unpleasant thing.

This thing I speak of is racism.

Yeah, I said it, R-A-C-I-S-M, not only does our little melting pot have a history rife with it, we’re still just as guilty of it today, a fact that transcends ALL borders, exclusive to none.  Many of us do not even know that we do it (at times), others, maybe only in bursts, misguided anger, and still others are all too cognizant of it, allowing it to consume their very being. Saturated into their very essence, seeping from their pores, is hate, pure unadulterated hatred.  A cold, consuming fire burning inside, passing judgment on entire populations of people, without cause.

Sadly, this behavior is not restricted to a certain type of individual, whether it’s a bad apple or a native of the South.  Racism is embedded into our very culture, despite hard-fought gains made during the Civil Rights Movement, discrimination DOES still exist, inequality IS real and race certainly plays a major factor in determining a person’s life prospects.  While I am by no means saying that our society is on par with the Third Reich we must open our eyes to the fact that racism exists at every level of government, in every institution of learning and every home.

However, humans can determine group themselves together there will be some form of preference or bias in place within those groupings.   It may upset some of you if you have taken the time to read this but this is one of my core beliefs to some extent there is a form of social bias at play. It is also my belief that the sooner we accept our faults; as individuals, as a society, the sooner we can move past it.  Lessons are not gleaned from mistakes you “didn’t” make.  Likewise, true growth from your mistakes can never happen without you taking the time to evaluate your behaviors, and having the want to figure out how to change.  I feel like to a large extent this hasn’t happened in the United States, at least not to the degree necessary for closure to occur, not to the degree that we’re capable of.  As it now stands overt racism and discrimination were not eliminated, they just picked up a “C” and are no longer mentioned, they fell off the radar…..still there,  just  unspoken of.   One giant, peanut eating conversation piece minus the dialogue.

Civil Rights March on Washington, leaders marc...
Civil Rights March on Washington, leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The greatest shortcoming of the United States of America as I see it, is people with questionable moral standards don’t just occupy the highest echelons of power, they are often actively sought out for them.

Instead of doing the right thing, they like to hedge their bets and do the safe thing, unless of course they’re playing with your money, when that’s the case anything goes, just don’t be expecting any kind of guarantee on return, or any kind of refund, recourse, or redress if (when) something goes awry.

 Those in office lack the necessary courage to do what they must, to put their own personal gain on the back burner or off to side so they can focus on the public good while in public office, to admit when they were wrong, to just downright own it, and without a scandal or a preplanned press conference either.  I wanna see someone just level with a constituent, person to person, off the cuff and unscripted.  The person who did that would have a lifelong supporter in me.

I guess that’s what happens when you incentivize being a civil servant the way we have, only recently having restricted congress’ ability to use information gained through their work for personal financial gain, you are bound to see people enter the arena with less than the public good in mind, they’re looking to get rich quick as opposed to growing wealthy.  Politics is impossible to divorce from lobbying in our current system.  Lobbying is big business, and let me tell ya, business isn’t just good, it’s never been better, the cozy relationships businesses enjoy with elected officials is at an all time high either through the lobbyist as a middle man, or in the form of campaign contributions so large they can’t be ignored and they don’t come without a price either.

I mean one of the greatest political gambles in history, made by Johnson to force through civil rights legislation to honor Kennedy’s legacy  This is perhaps the greatest shortcoming of our nation, as I see it.  Not that these terrible things existed or still exist, but that when presented with the opportunity to fix it, (or opportunities, I should say) to grow from it, to put an end to it, or come clean with it, it doesn’t happen, we refuse to make good use of what are solid teachable moments.

All too familiar is the desire to deny, to cover up, or brush shit under the rug because company is coming and could arrive at any time, or we’re otherwise in a rush for some reason, and did I mention deny, deny, deny?   Only when presented with evidence so air-tight and insurmountable it can’t be squirmed out of with half-truths or white lies that they are willing to admit they’ve been lying.  One great big and never ending “Ok, you got me, the gig is up”, which typically transpires after the most vehement denial up to that point in the saga. This is a sad state of affairs, based on incontrovertible fact, and it’s plagued administrations on both sides of the isle.they can’t squirm out of it do they acknowledge the fact that indeed the whole time they had been lying.  Every administration it seems has some sort of scandal and none of them when given the opportunity did the right thing.

Disgraceful. I say we deserve better.

People in power are too worried about their popularity contest to do the right thing, to admit this thing we try to ignore, impossible as it may be.  Never directly saying “hey we screwed up” “we were wrong”, it makes me think of a selfish ex I had once, she just couldn’t quite bring herself to ever say sorry. instead, they claim it’s a thing of the past, a bad dream we have awoken from. Now that the Civil Rights Movement is taught in schools which are desegregated for the most part, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed, you assume it was a complete success, movement over…, The CRM  can now be relegated to its appropriate side-note in history. Now everyone;  ALL Americans; African-Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and we certainly can’t forget our better halves (whatever sex they may be, whether they are of the same sex as us, or identify as being gender neutral, it’s all good) can all vote in elections, that whole equality problem is solved. …….

ahhhhhh…….If only this were true……

A replication of a pin made by the SNCC for th...
A replication of a pin made by the SNCC for the civil rights movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Perhaps if teachers and the rest of society were a little more willing to talk about these ugly truths which account for the better part of our history, it would be more obvious that discrimination, segregation, and inequality are still alive today.

Vast inequality DOES exist within our infrastructure, the achievement gap is real and it widens daily much like the gap between Mitt Romney’s income and that of myself.  The only difference between the problems faced today vs. yesteryear is instead of the rural south, the worst schools are within the large urban centers, overcrowded and underfunded,  examples of some of gentrifications very best work.  While slavery was abolished under Lincoln, the gains made by African-Americans during the Reconstruction were undone.  It actually happened quite rapidly as soon as some of the legal restrictions and vigilance were relaxed in 1877. The South became a Bastion of Democratic ( clarification; Party NOT principle)voting and the seat of its power.  They even had their own name, the “Dixiecrats”.

Despite several things for which I am unable to forgive him, (Gulf of Tonkin and general prosecution of the war come to mind), I must say this; LBJ was the last politician with some cajones on em.  Big brass ones at that, if nothing else I’ll at least give him that.  Johnson knowingly kissed the South goodbye and threw the Democrats lot in with the African-American vote when he pushed to finally pass the civil rights legislation previously pigeonholed by the powerful Dixiecrats within his own party, fulfilling the assassinated Kennedy’s legacy.

This decision was far from being the politically expedient one, but it was the right one, “consequences” be damned.

Find me a politician willing to do that these days, in either party; you can’t…

Unfortunately, the politicians of today more resemble weather vanes going whichever way the wind blows.

Sharecropping replaced slavery, the nation not yet ready to take the responsibility to care for its own.  When African-Americans fled to the North in search of jobs and to escape the institutionalized racism of the South, *de-jure*, or legalized segregation, otherwise known as Jim Crow, so too fled white capital once racist housing practices were no longer enough to keep their neighborhoods sufficiently homogenized, fearing decreased property values, which is really just a nice way of saying they were just that petty and just that racist and just that chickenshit that they tucked tail and ran at the first sign of neighbors who didn’t look like them.

Unfortunately, due to the historic legacy of racism and slavery which ensured there could be no truly equal playing field between the races in terms of income, as white capital fled, it took with it much of the public funding which is used for things like public education and things of that nature, so it wasn’t long before the condition and the quality of the institutions and the offerings available in minority communities began to actively reflect this fact also.

Instead of meeting the needs of these increasingly dilapidated, underfunded and outdated institutions and the communities they served with the necessary increased funding to meet these challenges, or adding support services they opted to double down on slashing services and funding while increasing the police presence, effectively criminalizing entire generations of black youth in the process, especially young black males, forever the target of institutional oppression it would appear.

When is enough enough?

You often hear about the school to prison pipeline, and that’s how it operated then and still operates today despite the fact it costs over 3 times as much to jail these youth as it would to send them off to college or provide them with a quality education.  With as much as we like to talk about fiduciary responsibility in this country, or bicker about the budget, something as common sense as that be actively pursued for any reason other than pure and simple racism, that ever present fear of the “other”.

Today, prisons, which dispro have replaced sharecropping, which in turn replaced actual slavery as a way to get cheap or free labor out of the same population its always historically been taken from African-Americans.  This isn’t a recent development folks, merely the continuation of a well documented historical trend.

Racialized drug laws disproportionately send minorities to jail with longer sentences for similar possession crimes.  The most notable example of such laws would be those on crack cocaine, a drug prevalent in urban communities vs. Cocaine   predominantly seen as a white, suburban drug.   Crack cocaine carries a far stiffer sentence, it and other non-violent offenses are a direct cause for the staggering statistic that in the United States, a nation that imprisons over 2,000,000 members of its population, more than even China by nearly 1,000,000.  Of that population, African-American men constitute a disproportionate percentage, approximately 31% according to this study. (Sentenced State and Federal Prisoners by Gender and Race, 2006 — Infoplease.com).  The prison industry is just that, an industry, and business is booming.

My point is this; history is important because it’s a part of us.

We need to embrace and understand our collective history just as much as we need to do so with our own personal story.  That is why I will not apologize for the length, or the details, because they’re the truth.  That is the REAL scoop,  maybe I went into a little more detail than some would have liked, there will be no sugar-coating from me ever.  I promised myself a long time ago that I would always keep it R-E-A-L, especially with myself.  Future prospects are far better if we address the problem and not accept living in that awkward space, one of silence.  The best analogy that comes to mind is a victim of abuse.  We’re a nation of abuse victims, too afraid to face the abuser, leveling them with our accusations allowing the chips to fall from that point on where they may.

Perhaps we’re scared of giving it a sense of “realness”.  Going through life trying to convince ourselves that we’ll be ok, so long as we don’t think about whatever terrible things happened, and no emotions flare up, we’ll be fine…..when we clearly aren’t.  Until we face our fears, and overcome our shame, there can never be closure.  In that case, we’re talking about an entirely different form of slavery, having already enslaved our minds.  I don’t love our history DESPITE the bumpy road we took to get here.  I love the study of history BECAUSE of it.

The thought of a story without struggle does not appeal to me, nor does it exist anywhere; even in the land of Walt Disney.  I like a story with wrong-turns, suspense, and scars.  The more we look the other way denying racism existence, the longer the behavior is left to propagate itself amongst our youth,  amongst ourselves rotting from the inside out.

Cheating our youth of contacts left unmade and potential dreams left unfulfilled.   The longer we continue ignoring a system which has seen an increase of something like 600,000 African-American men become incarcerated while the  number of college enrolled continues its steady decline, (now less than the incarcerated) then the more militant, the more vocal, and disenfranchised they will feel.  Hard to blame them for feeling the system has NEVER worked for them, the less we care about having already failed them, and the rest of our youth for that matter, the more we implicitly condone tragedies such as Treyvan Martin,  FEMA’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina, the treatment of Muslim Americans following 9-11.  We are all aware and yet we do nothing, just standing around playin with dynamite.  I guess my question to you is, Are you OK with this?  Cause I know I’m not.**

**