Thursday, January 14, 2010

Martin Luther King and equal rights, what have we done since?

Would you have the courage to enter a segregated dinner, sit at the counter and order?
Would  you volunteer to be a freedom rider and travel to the south to test the new laws and face angry mobs? Would you march and be ready to died facing an openly bigot City Hall and police department?
What have we done with the rights handed to us.
Would you die for your believes like 37 -years-old NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, murdered outside his Mississippi home or like the 3 young students (James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24), who had been working to register black voters in Mississippi. We are under the impression that slavery and segregation has been abolished.  Is it?
Today's Urban Cities are the new social and economic face of segregation. It is another way to separate those who have from those who have not. The new slavery is the hopelessness of the urban youth, the separation between poor urban public education and everywhere else.  What would it take to wake up from the stupor we are all encouraged to live in. We are so detached from every sort of  violence and abuse, we let our children play games promoting it to desensitize us. As long As we are not directly affected in our confortable way of life, Uncle Sam can do anything he wants no question ask.
Segregation is much more subtle, much more difficult to discerned. But let not fool ourselves, segregation still lives.
A Moment to Remember:
Martin Luther King.did not create the civil rights movements, but the civil rights movements made Martin Luther King.
The culmination of legal, political, social, economic and cultural segregation in the United States and mostly in the South made the perfect platform for the Black Struggle to get its momentum. The black movements was a broad coalition of movements.  The  civil rights coalitions were a coalition of several progressive and moderate groups.
On the right was the Urban League their strategy was the use of big business for social reforms,
On the Left of the right is the NAACP witch worked with the legal system.
In the center is the SCLC they used non violent civil disobedience.
To the left is CORE (Congress Racial Equality)
The far left the SNIC (Student Non Violence Coordinating Community)

The movement which will change the face of America begins in Montgomery Alabama in 1955 when Rosa Park refused to give up her sit in a segregated bus.
E.D. Nixon of the NAACP call on a young minister  named Martin Luther King to lead a movement against the bus company and Jim Crow Laws. 
Rosa Park
King urged the boycott of the bus company and an important business district.  He became the voice of a whole segment of the American people who was denied the American dream and its way of life.
A little over a year after the Montgomery bus protest, a mandate found that bus segregation was legally and sociologically invalid.
Martin Luther King, Charles Steele, and Fred Shuttlesworth establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in September 1957, of which King is made the first president. 
The SCLC  mandate is the right of vote of the black American in the deep South.  Birmingham and Selma Alabama were among the most racist states of the nation. A reign of violence and terror was conducted on the black American of the south. In 1963 during a civil rights protests in Birmingham, Ala., Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor uses fire hoses and police dogs on black demonstrators. These images of brutality, which are televised and published widely, are instrumental in gaining sympathy for the civil rights movement around the world.     

There were nothing romantic about non violent protests. One had to show great courage and great restraint to march or picket facing battery of  injuries and abuses.
In August of 1963, before 200,000 people congregated at the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King delivers his famous: "I Have a Dream"speech
In July 1964, the Civil Rights Act is signed, which prohibits discrimination of all kind and in 1965 ratification of the voting right act is singed.Under the leadership of King the SCLC took on not only racial issue but also national. By this time Martin Luther King was a powerful national figure.
 
   1963 JFK Assassination                                                              1965 Malcolm X Assassination
As long as King's movement was about racial and segregation issues, he was not a major treat to the administration. Bus his proses was more and more directly critical  of the FBI, CIA and of Johnson's Administration and foreign and domestic policies. He openly was oppose to the war of Vietnam. He spoke of the homeless, the poor work conditions and poor wages. His rally was not longer for the black American 's condition but for all poor people. He took on the social and economic improvement of American of all race, color and faith., he claimed that in one of the richest country of the world every human being had the right to decent shelter, to free education not only public school but universities, .... By 1967-68 a raging and active smear campaign was launched to destroy King's credibility and also the movement he represented. To be able to stop the coalition of movements, King his most powerful figure had to die.
"We must prevent the rise of a "black messiah" who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have been such a "messiah"; he is the martyr of the movement today.  Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammad all aspire to the position,  Elijah Muhammad is less of a treat because of his age.  King could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed " obedience" to "white, liberal doctrines" (nonviolence) and embrace black nationalism.Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way
"Black Nationalist Hate Group{ Cointelpro FBI)
By the summer of 1967 American cities erupt in violence and civil disobedience. Talking for a long time of the poor people alliances King was working on a march to the capital and not leave until something was done about the racial and class dominate part of the country. He was talking about redistribution of America's wealth. In 1967 Memphis Sanitation Workers are on strike after 2 workers died from a defective truck accident. The Workers demanded among other things; better wages, workman's comp and better working conditions.  Their petitions fell on deaf ears by Mayor Loeb and the city councel. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), International President Jerry Wurf arrives and says the strike can end only when their demands are met.  The NAACP organizes, boycotts, vigil. picketing and march.
It is during a peaceful march that police attack strikers using mace. Urged by the black ministers of Memphis to come and support the strike, King made time in his already heavy schedule to make an appearance. His staff warned him that the situation in Memphis was too volatile to resolve peacefully. Nevertheless he made the trip.  On March the 28 King  was leading a peaceful march in Memphis when police moved into the crowds with nightsticks, mace, tear gas and gunfire. A 16-year old boy, Larry Payne,was shot to death.  State legislature authorizes 7 p.m. curfew and 4,000 National Guardsmen move in. .  The St Louis Globe Democrat a sounding board for the FBI accuses King of plotting a race war.  
On April 3, 1968 Dr. King returns to Memphis, he took a room at the Windsor/ Lorraine rather then the usual Holiday Inn.  In the days of legal segregation, the Windsor / Lorraine was one of the few hotels in Memphis open to black guests. He is then moved from the first floor to the second floor.
That evening at a rally, he delivered "I've been to the Mountaintop" address.
The next day, early in the morning while greeting his supportors from the balcony of the hotel a sniper, later captured and identified as James Earl Ray, shot Dr. King to death.
What have we done with the rights handed to us. Would you stand up to fight and die for your believes?
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