Martin Luther King Jr.’s Assassination

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SMITHSONIAN.COM)

 

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Assassination Sparked Uprisings in Cities Across America

Known as the Holy Week Uprisings, the collective protests resulted in 43 deaths, thousands of arrests, and millions of dollars of property damage

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Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968, cities across the U.S. erupted in protests. (Library of Congress)
SMITHSONIAN.COM

In April 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. made his way to Memphis, Tennessee, where sanitation workers were striking for a pay raise with the support of local ministers. On April 3, King delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and made plans for a march to be held on April 5. But the evening of April 4, while at his lodgings at the Lorraine Motel, King was shot through the jaw. An hour later, he was pronounced dead at age 39.

Long before the public had any answers as to the identity of the assassin (a man named James Earl Ray, who pled guilty to the murder in March 1969 and was sentenced to life in prison, despite questions about the involvement of groups like the FBI or the Mafia), the nation was swept up in a frenzy of grief and anger. When King’s funeral was held the following Tuesday in Atlanta, tens of thousands of people gathered to watch the procession.

Despite King’s father expressing the family’s preference for nonviolence, in the 10 days following King’s death, nearly 200 cities experienced looting, arson or sniper fire, and 54 of those cities saw more than $100,000 in property damage. As Peter Levy writes in The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America During the 1960s, “During Holy Week 1968, the United States experienced its greatest wave of social unrest since the Civil War.” Around 3,500 people were injured, 43 were killed and 27,000 arrested. Local and state governments, and President Lyndon Johnson, would deploy a collective total of 58,000 National Guardsmen and Army troops to assist law enforcement officers in quelling the violence.

King’s death wasn’t the only factor at play in the massive protests. Just weeks earlier, an 11-member commission established by President Lyndon B. Johnson had released its investigation of the 1967 race riots in a document called the Kerner Report, which provided broad explanations for the deadly upheavals. “Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans,” the report stated. “What white Americans have never fully understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

While the conditions the Kerner Report described—poverty, lack of access to housing, lack of economic opportunities and discrimination in the job market—may have come as a surprise to white Americans, the report was nothing new to the African-American community. And at the time of King’s death, all those problems remained, including the need for access to housing.

President Johnson openly acknowledged how painful King’s murder would be to African-American communities, in the context of all that they’d already suffered. In a meeting with civil rights leaders following news of King’s death, Johnson said, “If I were a kid in Harlem, I know what I’d be thinking right now. I’d be thinking that the whites have declared open season on my people, and they’re going to pick us off one by one unless I get a gun and pick them off first.” Although Johnson successfully pushed Congress to pass the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (which prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing) four days after the assassination, the legislative victory was a meager palliative in the face of the loss of Reverend King.

To better understand the days following King’s death, explore the responses of five cities across the country. While all were united in mourning the loss of a civil rights champion, the conditions in each city led to varying levels of upheaval.

Washington, D.C.

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A soldier stands guard on the corner of 7th & N Street NW in Washington D.C. on April 8, 1986, with the ruins of buildings that were destroyed during the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Library of Congress)

Of the dozens of cities involved in uprisings and demonstrations after King’s death, the nation’s capital experienced the most damage. By the end of 12 days of unrest, the city had experienced more than 1,200 fires and $24 million in insured property damage ($174 million in today’s currency). Economic historians would later describe the Washington, D.C. riot as on par with the Watts Riot of 1965 in Los Angeles and the Detroit and Newark riots of 1967 in terms of its destructiveness.

Economic conditions largely fueled the upheaval; African-Americans made up 55 percent of the city’s population by 1961, but were crammed into only 44 percent of the housing, and paid more for less space and fewer amenities, writes historian Dana Schaffer.

Although activist Stokely Carmichael, a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, encouraged businesses only to remain closed until King’s funeral, he couldn’t stop the crowds from turning to looting and arson. One young man who witnessed the rioting told Schaffer, “You could see smoke and flames on Georgia Avenue. And I just remember thinking, ‘Boy it’s not just like Watts. It’s here. It is happening here.’”

It wasn’t until President Johnson called in the National Guard that the rioting was finally quelled. By that time, 13 people had died, most of them in burning buildings. Around 7,600 people were arrested for looting and arson, many of them first-time offenders. The fires that ranged across multiple neighborhoods left 2,000 people homeless and nearly 5,000 jobless. It would take decades for the neighborhoods to fully recover, and when they did, it was mostly gentrifying white professionals reaping the benefit.

Chicago

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Soldiers stand guard in front of a supermarket on 63rd Street on Chicago’s South Side on April 7, 1968. (AP Photo )

African-American communities in the Second City had a special relationship with King, who in 1966 lived in the poverty-stricken West Side while campaigning for open housing in the city. Almost immediately after news of King’s death arrived, looting and rioting began. One local of the West Side told the Chicago Defender on April 6, “I feel this is the opening of the door through which will come violence. Because of the way Dr. King died, I can guarantee it’s gonna be rough here.”

By Friday evening, the day after King’s assassination, the first of 3,000 Illinois National Guard troops began arriving in the city and were met by sniper fire in West Side neighborhoods. Mayor Richard Daley ordered police to “shoot to kill any arsonist or anyone with a Molotov cocktail” and to “shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting any stores in our city.” By the time the protests came to an end, 11 people had died, of which seven deaths were by gunfire, reported the Chicago Defender. Nearly 3,000 more people were arrested for looting and arson.

As in Washington, protestors saw their actions in the broader context of segregation and inequality. “Violence is not synonymous with black,” wrote a columnist in the Chicago Defender on April 20. “Who shot President Kennedy? Who shot King? The black revolt is a social protest against intolerable conditions that have been allowed to linger far too long.”

Baltimore

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One of four black men arrested by police in down Baltimore April 8, 1968 spreads his arms wide. (AP Photo)

Of all the cities that saw unrest in the wake of King’s assassination, Baltimore came second only to Washington in terms of damage. Although the crowds that gathered in East Baltimore on Saturday. April 6. began peacefully, holding a memorial service, several small incidents that evening quickly led to a curfew being set and the arrival of 6,000 National Guard troops. The protests that erupted thereafter led to nearly 1,000 businesses being set afire or ransacked; 6 people died and another 700 were injured, and property damage was estimated at $13.5 million (around $90 million in today’s currency), according to the Baltimore City Police Department.

It was a tumultuous, terrifying week for those living in the neighborhoods under siege from protestors and law enforcement. “The Holy Week Uprising engendered a great deal of fear. Fear of getting shot, of being bayonetted by the Guard, of losing one’s home, of not being able to find food or prescription medicine,” writes historian Peter Levy. Making matters worse was Maryland governor Spiro Agnew, who blamed African-American community leaders for not doing more to prevent the violence, describing them as “circuit riding, Hanoi visiting, caterwauling, riot inciting, burn America down type of leaders.” Agnew’s response to the riots, and to crime more generally, drew the attention of Richard Nixon, and led him to recruit Agnew as his vice presidential running mate later that year.

The upheaval continued until April 14, and only came to an end after more nearly 11,000 federal troops had been deployed in the city.

Kansas City

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A police officer watches for a flash from a sniper’s rifle after police officers were fired on in Kansas City, Missouri, April 11, 1968. (AP Photo/William P. Straeter)

In a city stretched across two states, on the Kansas-Missouri border, Kansas City was a telling example of what could happen when a community’s desire for peaceful demonstrations were stymied. After King’s death, the Kansas City, Kansas School District canceled classes on Tuesday, April 9, so that students could stay home and watch the funeral. In Kansas City, Missouri, however, schools remained open.

“When school authorities rejected their request, the young people [of Kansas City, Missouri] began to demand that they be permitted to march to City Hall to protest,” recalled Revered David Fly, who participated in the marches that week. Initially, it seemed as if the students might achieve their desire to demonstrate; Mayor Ilus Davis ordered police to remove barricades they had installed in front of schools. He also attempted to march with the students to show his support. But for reasons that remain unclear—perhaps because a student threw an empty bottle at the police line—law enforcement unleashed canisters of gas into the crowd.

“Students began running as the police in riot helmets and plastic masks charged into the crowd with tear gas, mace, dogs and clubs,” Fly said. Over the next four days, vandalism and fires plagued the east side of the city in Missouri (Kansas City, Kansas was largely unaffected thanks to the proactive efforts of city officials to memorialize King). More than 1,700 National Guard troops joined police officers to disrupt the rioting and arrest nearly 300 people. By the end of the protests, 6 people had been killed and city damages totaled around $4 million.

New York City

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New York City Mayor John Lindsay and civil rights leaders marched through Central Park on their way to a memorial service for the slain Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in New York City on April 7, 1968. (AP Photo )

Despite President Johnson’s empathy toward the “little boy in Harlem” responding to King’s assassination, New York City proved to be one of the exceptions to the broader unrest. Although Harlem and some neighborhoods in Brooklyn experienced fires and looting, the damage was relatively minimal. This was, in part, due to the efforts of Mayor John Lindsay.

As deputy chair of the commission that wrote the Kerner Report, Lindsay was well aware of structural inequality and the problems that plagued African-American communities. He pushed the Kerner Commission to demand federal spending efforts to undo decades of segregation and racism. When Lindsay learned of King’s assassination, he ignored the advice of aides and immediately headed to Harlem, writes historian Clay Risen, author of A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination. At 8th Avenue and 125th Street, Lindsay asked police to take their barricades down and addressed the growing crowd, emphasizing his regret that the death happened. Lindsay also met with students marching from City University of New York and civil rights leaders.

Although 5,000 police officers and firemen were deployed around the area, and some arrests were made, the city emerged from the weekend relatively unscathed. “Everyone agreed that Lindsay had made a huge difference by showing up at a time when many mayors across the country were hiding out in bunker-like emergency operations centers,” Risen writes.

TAGS

African American History American History Cities Civil Rights Martin Luther King, Jr. Politics

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Do Young Black Americans Care About The Things Doctor MLK Taught?

Do Young Black Americans Care About The Things Doctor MLK Taught?

 

We here some these days about a so-called ‘angry white men’ generation that we are all coexisting in. Out side of angry black folks, usually under fifty years of age, I don’t recall hearing it outside of the media and their talking heads. Aren’t you as an individual person a bit tired of being told what we are and what we think by the media and the politicians? It does appear to me that by what we get to see and hear from the media is that the current world we are living in here in America is one where the slogan ‘angry black folks’ would be more correct. I never condone violence but anger is another issue all together. Doctor King did not condone violence either yet how could he and God Himself not be angered at the conditions of how non-whites were treated here in America, especially here in the South? Did black people of the 1960’s get treated as less than equals by white American? By what I have seen on film and read in books the horrible history of our Country is that it was pathetic how some folks treated others. Are things anywhere near that bad for black Americans today? Personally I believe that the correct answer is, not close. But do black folks get treated as less than equal in some people’s eyes yet today? Of course some do, by some, but absolutely not all. Black Americans just like all Americans have the right to voice their displeasure at the high crime rates and the lack of survivable income level jobs. If you as a person, black or not, believe that your group, race related or not, is being treated unfairly we all have the right to get mad yell, scream, holler and march all that we want to, and we have the right to vote. What we do not have the right to do is to be violent, to do harm to another person or another’s property. You Cops out there, the same goes for you. No one has the right to be the aggressor. Today a person gets called a white bigot for ‘their racist’ views. Yet if a person actually listens to the words that came out of Doctor Kings mouth, was he not saying the same things? Was Doctor King a white bigot? Personally I do not believe that Doctor King was any type of bigot. Personally I believe that Doctor King was an excellent human being. In my opinion I believe that he was an excellent Christian Minister. Do I believe that he had human flaws, yes, of course he did. Did Doctor King preach for or condone any violence, not that I have heard, seen, or read. Yet he did speak reality when it came to violence. Even in his famous “I Have A Dream’ speech he spoke of up coming violence if white America did not change their ways toward other races. He did not condone that violence yet he was being a realist about it.

 

I am a white male, I spent almost all of my adult life between 1981 and 2013 behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer unit driving all over the lower 48 U.S. States and all the Provinces of Canada. I came across a lot of Police during that time, to the best of my memory I never had any trouble with any black Cops nor any Oriental Cops. The majority of Cops that I had interaction with were white males. Of the white female Cops I had interaction with I would have to say that at least half were what I would have to call ‘smart asses’. Of the white males I would have to say about 10% were also smart asses. Mostly I chalked their attitudes up to being immature punks. Hispanic Cops, I would say about 1/3 were the same. American Indian Cops, at least 2/3 were the same, arrogant punks. What I counted their actions up to was that when they seen me they just expected me to be racist because I was a white guy, personally I found that to be a sad reality. I never ever was anything but kind and mellow toward Officers because I knew the power they had in their hands to ruin my life, or even to end it if they so chose to. Of the times Officers acted like punks toward me, how many was because of race, I don’t know? How many were just punks, I don’t know that answer either. I do know that maturity is an issue that every Police Department in the Country needs to address constantly, but, so does every industry in the world. When you are wearing a uniform and you choose to act like an ass, it just gets more people’s attention. Just like if you are driving a big truck, if you drive like a moron, more people notice your stupidity, you show up more.

 

Is there still racism in America, unfortunately that answer is yes. Is it in every race, yes. Is there violence in every race, yes. Here in America it seems like the Media always pounces on the cases when a White Police Officer beats up or kills a Black person yet they seem to pretty much ignore when a Black Police Officer does the same to a person of any other race. To me, all of these aggression’s should be a front page news story, they are all wrong, they should never ever happen. Yet here is the tie in with this articles main concept with the teachings of Doctor Martin Luther King. What I have notice in at least 80% of the cases when a video pops up of a White Officer being aggressive with  a Black citizen what the video constantly shows is the Black person almost never ever simply doing what they are told to do by the Officer. I don’t remember which Black Police Chief that said on camera a couple of years ago to the citizens after Officers had killed someone they were trying to arrest, he used a great common sense statement, he said “comply and stay alive”. What video’s have shown over and over again, Black suspects being aggressive and refusing to comply with Officers orders. Would Doctor King condone these killings, of course not. Would he condone people being aggressive toward the Officers and not following the commands of the Officers, of course not. What I have said/taught to my Son who is 25 now and he is on the Autism Spectrum, any time you are in contact with a Police Officer this Officer has the ability to ruin the rest of your life, the ability to beat the hell out of you even if you are being totally nice to them, or this Officer has the ability to end your life right there where you are at. So, I have taught him to always be nice and always obey them, at once, do not argue, just do what you are told. This goes even if you believe that you are totally right and they are totally wrong, obey at once and keep your mouth shut unless they ask you a question.

 

This articles headline speaks to young Black folks and their caring or not caring about the teaching of Doctor King, there is a reason for me choosing young Black folks for this title. What I noticed throughout my travels and what I have seen of TV screens throughout the years is the ‘culture’ of young folks being, acting, out as ‘gangster’. Is this just part of the ‘Hip Hop’ culture? Folks, I’m no Genius, I don’t know the answers to all that ails us as a human race. I just want peace and kindness for all, toward all. I try my best to look at all things from the eyes, the teachings of God. All this violence, this hate, this lack of love, of caring for each other is sickening to my heart and Soul, just as it was to the heart and Soul of Doctor King and just as it is to the heart and Soul of God. Will we as a people ever change?

5 Things Written by Martin Luther King Jr. That Everyone Should Read

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Dr. Martin Luther King addresses some 2,000 people on the eve of his death—April 3, 1968—giving the speech "I've been to the mountaintop."
Dr. Martin Luther King addresses some 2,000 people on the eve of his death—April 3, 1968—giving the speech “I’ve been to the mountaintop.”
Bettmann/Getty Images
By LILY ROTHMAN

6:30 PM EDT

The words written about Martin Luther King Jr. during his too-short life and in the half-century since his assassination — 50 years ago Wednesday, on April 4, 1968 — would be impossible to count. King himself left a deep archive of writings, speeches and sermons, too. His spoken orations in particular are a powerful reminder of why he was destined to become part of the pantheon of American icons.

“One has to remember that King above all was a preacher,” says Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, chair of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the Indiana University Bloomington and an editor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse.

While she notes that he was so prolific that it’s near impossible to choose, Calloway-Thomas spoke to TIME about the pieces of King’s work that everyone should know about. They are:

“The Death of Evil upon the Seashore” (May 17, 1956)

“The death of the Egyptians upon the seashore is a glaring symbol of the ultimate doom of evil in its struggle with good.”

This sermon was delivered to a massive crowd at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling against school segregation, at an early moment in this phase of the civil rights movement, with the Montgomery bus boycott still ongoing. To Calloway-Thomas, the sermon is noteworthy for the optimistic vision it presented at such a moment. “He had to help African-American people imagine themselves,” she says. “I think the Death of Evil upon the Seashore is that speech.”

It wasn’t the first time King preached on these ideas, and in fact the link he draws between the Biblical exodus and the story of African-American progress toward freedom and equality was an old one, but those present noted that his delivery that day was particularly moving. “He taps into that reservoir, that myth of the Hebrew children in bondage,” Calloway-Thomas says, “and he elevates it and makes it more publicly known.”

Read the full speech here

Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Yes, this is a letter, not a speech or sermon — but Calloway-Thomas says it’s worth including on such a list anyway. After all, the circumstances that created this letter are inherently linked to the fact that he couldn’t deliver a speech in person. At the time, King found himself jailed in Alabama after ignoring an injunction against protests in Birmingham. During that time, a group of clergymen wrote an open letter urging him away from protests. He wanted to respond but, from the jail, his only option if he wanted to answer quickly was to write it down. “Ideas have moments and if those moments aren’t used, you lose that rhetorical moment and it no longer has the force it had,” Calloway-Thomas says.

So, in a format she likens to a spoken call and response, he answers the questions that were posed to him about his methods. While also explaining that he’s on strong biblical footing, he provides the public with a way to understand the work he’s doing. His rhetorical skills are also on display as he uses a story about his 6-year-old daughter’s early perceptions of racism and segregation to underline that the matter is not theoretical. In the years since, this letter has become one of 20th century American history’s most famous documents.

Read the full letter here

“I Have a Dream…” (Aug. 28, 1963)

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The speech that remains Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous oration — one of the most famous orations in American history, if not world history — is that well-known for a good reason, Calloway-Thomas says. This was the moment when the world as a whole really saw King, and the moment was carefully orchestrated, framed by the Lincoln Memorial. “Think about how dazzling that was!” she says. “Think about the robust visuals and the lovely words echoing from Dr. King. It was an elixir that was made to circulate.”

But, she says, the power of his voice and the impact of the image can sometimes overwhelm the full message of the speech. “Dr. King had some pretty radical statements in that speech,” Calloway-Thomas adds. “Most people gloss over the part in that speech where King says that if we overlook the urgency of now there’ll be a rude awakening. I’ve never seen a student go to that section of the speech; people go right to ‘I have a dream’ and they don’t notice the threat.”

Read the full speech here

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“A Time to Break Silence” (April 4, 1967)

“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors.”

In this speech, King publicly answers his conscience, as Calloway-Thomas puts it, on the matter of the Vietnam War. With an undercurrent of “anguish” about the fact that he feels he must speak, and must criticize the choices of Lyndon Johnson, who had often been an ally, he entered the arena of opposition to the war.

“This is an unsettling moment. People paid attention, but that meant there was backlash,” she says. President Johnson and many others felt that he ought to stay focused on domestic civil-rights issues and leave the foreign policy to them, but in this speech he makes clear why those two topics cannot truly be separated. That idea, Calloway-Thomas says, parallels the experience of earlier fighters for justice, such as Frederick Douglass, who got to the world stage with one kind of story — their personal freedom narratives, in that case — and shocked some of their allies when they showed that their thinking was far more expansive.

Read the full speech here

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (April 3, 1968)

“I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

Start with the date on this one: that’s April 3, 1968, the night before King was assassinated. In this speech, which summons King’s primary background as a preacher, he returns to the story of Moses. Rather than speaking on the joy of the Exodus, though, he turns to the end of Moses’ life, and his death just outside the Promised Land to which he had delivered his people. King casts himself as another leader who may not be there for the end of the journey. “He used Christian values and Democratic traditions to bring people together, so it’s not surprising that he goes to this idea,” Calloway-Thomas says. “What’s significant here is when it occurred. It was almost apocalyptic. Because it occurred at that time it has lingering significance and carries with it an abundance of pathos.”

Of course, as Calloway-Thomas says, we can imagine a scenario in which King gave this speech and then lived. The emotional resonance of his words might be lessened without the seemingly prescient layer of fate, but the story would be there all the same. “Here’s a man talking about longevity, here’s a man talking about god’s Will, here’s a man talking about going up to the mountaintop and looking skyward toward heaven and looking over into the Promised Land,” she says. “It’s a gorgeous story.”

Read the full speech here

The Years This Was First Published On 11-22-2013

THE YEARS (FIRST PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 22nd 2013)

 

Well, if it was 50 years ago from right now, President Kennedy would be getting murdered in about seven hours. I am 57 years old now so obviously 50 years ago today I was seven and I was in second grade in Woodlawn Virginia. I guess that most of us who are old enough remember that day. I was just a little hillbilly kid from the country who was barely passing second grade and was in a household with a very abusive alcoholic dad so my world was very small. When President Kennedy was murdered and the news reached into my life, I didn’t even know what a President was. I know that my Mom was really sad and she explained a few things to me and we did turn on the TV and watch the evening news. So, 50 years ago this evening was the first event that made me look outside of my little entrapment, the first time I had ever even thought of their being anyplace besides the little world I was in.

This anniversary got me to thinking about time, and life, and events within it. My growing up years (10-18) were in Belvidere Illinois, at that time the town had a newspaper called the Belvidere Daily Republican. One of the little sections I liked to read was where they did a section on past events there in Belvidere, it had events from 10, 25, and 50 years ago. I have liked History subjects most of my life so I enjoyed learning things that had happened where I was living in the past. We moved to Cherry Valley Illinois from South Dakota in November of 1966, we only stayed there for three months until we found a better renting situation five miles away in Belvidere. So, we moved there in February of 67 and Belvidere had a F-4 tornado on April 21st of 67. I remember thinking if I would be alive to read those articles about the tornado come fifty years later. Turns out though it is now three years and five months from that anniversary and I have found out that the news paper no longer exists. So, so much for that idea, I guess that I never thought about out living the towns only news paper. But, most assuredly I have a huge amount of mistakes and miss assumptions through out this past fifty years, but as I said, this anniversary got me to thinking about Years, times and events in my life and how quickly they float by us.

I have to admit that for quite a few years now I have wondered if I would live to see this day just as I have wandered if I will still be breathing on April 21st of 2017. About today, I have wandered how the nation would mark this day, the news media and the people of our country. I guess maybe it will mean little to the younger generations as this event at best was just something they read about in Junior High history classes. But for the people of my age on up I would guess that most of us remember a hurt and a gloom from those days, this event was something that really hurt most people it seemed.

On November 13th of 1973 I quit High School and started working in a factory full-time. I had been working several part-time and temporary jobs since the summer I turned fourteen when I was de-tasseling corn twelve hours a day seven days a week for $1.35 per hour. But when I started reminiscing of events time tables with my wife a few evenings ago I was a bit shocked about things I already knew but just hadn’t brought them to conscious thought. November 13 of 1973 was just nine days shy of the tenth anniversary of President Kennedy’s murder. That shocked me because of how those ten years had flown by and so much had happened in that short amount of time. My wife asked me the other night how many houses I had lived in by the time I was ten, I had never thought about it before, but the number was twelve in four states, Virginia, Delaware, South Dakota, and Illinois. Realizing all the things that had happened in those short ten years from the murder to that first factory job is a bit startling when I started thinking about it. All the moves, three different states, a lot of different schools and always with my hateful violent Dad looking for any excuse to beat on me. Those are probably why I hadn’t thought about this time span (1963-1973) before. In my mind it seemed like it would have had to  be maybe 15-20 years.

These years that have gone by all of us hold many memories, great and good times as well as horrible decisions, times we have royally been screwed over and the heart ache of losses. I know that it does surprise me that I am still breathing upon this anniversary. I find that future years mean little to me anymore maybe because all my heart doctors have said I should have been dead at least ten years ago. One of the things I have learned is that lightning can royally mess up a persons physical abilities in life, I don’t recommend it for folks, not even some of the real butt heads I have been blessed with knowing in my life. In these years the Lord has given me I have made so many mistakes, I am on my third marriage, the first two were really lousy, I guess that’s why I call the other two x’s.

In my old broken down years I have settled down to one living area,(East Tennessee) almost fourteen years now and on Christmas day I will have been married to a wonderful lady for fourteen years. I have four grown up kids, two blood, and seven grand kids, so in many ways the Lord and the years have blessed me. Now, I want you to think, think about your life, the years that have slipped on by you, what are some of your memories of these passing years? Are you old enough to remember fifty years ago today? Where were you, what were you doing? How do you think the murder of President Kennedy has effected you, (after many years of studying this subject matter) I totally believe that President Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy were murdered by the NSA, that has been my opinion now for many years. How do you think President Kennedy’s murder has effected the country? How do you think our country would be now if none of the three murders, John and Bobby Kennedy and Doctor Martin Luther King JR, ever happened? This would be a good clearing of the mind in a paper, or short story, or, just for ones own deep thoughts.

So, these years, 50 now, what do these years mean to you? Are they just an old movie case in your minds closets? Are they a time that is filled with peace in your life? Or, are they something you have swept out of your memory bank because of hurts you don’t want to ever recall, I hope that this one is not saddled upon any of you. If you get the time drop the Word Press community some of your thought about THE YEARS.

Thank You,

ted

Is Black History Month Simply Racists?

IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH SIMPLY RACISTS?

 

I hope that you noticed that I posed this title as a question and not as a statement. I am going to be posing this article in questioning form, I am trying to get all of us to think, to look inside ourselves to discover, what do we think about these questions. First let us start with Black History Month, is its whole concept derived off of racism? Are the politicians, mostly the Democrats simply bowing down to a group of people who normally vote about 90% for Democrats? Why is there only one non-politician (Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.) who has their birthday as a Federal Holiday? Is it because he was a Black man? In all of U.S. history is Doctor King the only person who really stands out as a special human being deserving of having a Federal Holiday in honor of them? Personally I am in favor of Doctor King being honored in this way, I feel that the man deserves it, but aren’t there others, is he the only one?

 

I have seen in the past when a business celebrates a certain ethnic day, where the company lets a certain group of their employees get the day off or throw a special lunching for just one ethnic group, it causes a lot of friction within the rank and file of their employees. To me, if we are going to do such things as a Nation then we need to vastly expand it, or end it all together. Just as there are institutions within the Black community where we have organizations like the NAACP, the Negro College Fund, Black Colleges, Black Miss America, shouldn’t we also have things like this for all of the other nationalities? Doesn’t it have to be all or none? What would be wrong with the National Association For The Advancement of Oriental People, Hispanic People or European People? Would that be racists? If we had the National White College Fund or the White Miss America Pageant, or Miss Oriental Miss America Pageant or how about the Hispanic College Fund, are these ideas racists? Is the concept of Nation Indian American Pageant or Indian College Fund racists?

 

When it is only one group which is based on skin color, to me it sure looks like the pure definition of racism. What makes it worse is when you have so-called Leaders of that Nationality group who do things like deny that the Holocaust ever happened because they want to say that they, their group, their ethnicity, is the only group that has ever been treated horribly, folks, that is racism. Should we as a Nation honor the other Nationalities? Should March be National Arab Month? Should April be National Persian Month? May National Hispanic Month? The list could go on and on, should we as a Nation do this? Should the same things be evaluated concerning the Colleges and College funds? The Miss America Pageant, should we have one for every race, for every mixed race? As I said, this article today is posed as a question to you, to get us all to think, what is okay, what is racist, what should we as a Nation say yes or no to? If you would, please leave me your thoughts in the comment section, I always do my best to answer all comments within 24 hours when ever possible. Thank you for the kindness of your time, I appreciate you stopping in.

 

 

Do Young Black Americans Care About The Things Doctor MLK Taught?

Do Young Black Americans Care About The Things Doctor MLK Taught?

 

We here some these days about a so-called ‘angry white men’ generation that we are all coexisting in. Out side of angry black folks, usually under fifty years of age, I don’t recall hearing it outside of the media and their talking heads. Aren’t you as an individual person a bit tired of being told what we are and what we think by the media and the politicians? It does appear to me that by what we get to see and hear from the media is that the current world we are living in here in America is one where the slogan ‘angry black folks’ would be more correct. I never condone violence but anger is another issue all together. Doctor King did not condone violence either yet how could he and God Himself not be angered at the conditions of how non-whites were treated here in America, especially here in the South? Did black people of the 1960’s get treated as less than equals by white American? By what I have seen on film and read in books the horrible history of our Country is that it was pathetic how some folks treated others. Are things anywhere near that bad for black Americans today? Personally I believe that the correct answer is, not close. But do black folks get treated as less than equal in some people’s eyes yet today? Of course some do, by some, but absolutely not all. Black Americans just like all Americans have the right to voice their displeasure at the high crime rates and the lack of survivable income level jobs. If you as a person, black or not, believe that your group, race related or not, is being treated unfairly we all have the right to get mad yell, scream, holler and march all that we want to, and we have the right to vote. What we do not have the right to do is to be violent, to do harm to another person or another’s property. You Cops out there, the same goes for you. No one has the right to be the aggressor. Today a person gets called a white bigot for ‘their racist’ views. Yet if a person actually listens to the words that came out of Doctor Kings mouth, was he not saying the same things? Was Doctor King a white bigot? Personally I do not believe that Doctor King was any type of bigot. Personally I believe that Doctor King was an excellent human being. In my opinion I believe that he was an excellent Christian Minister. Do I believe that he had human flaws, yes, of course he did. Did Doctor King preach for or condone any violence, not that I have heard, seen, or read. Yet he did speak reality when it came to violence. Even in his famous “I Have A Dream’ speech he spoke of up coming violence if white America did not change their ways toward other races. He did not condone that violence yet he was being a realist about it.

 

I am a white male, I spent almost all of my adult life between 1981 and 2013 behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer unit driving all over the lower 48 U.S. States and all the Provinces of Canada. I came across a lot of Police during that time, to the best of my memory I never had any trouble with any black Cops nor any Oriental Cops. The majority of Cops that I had interaction with were white males. Of the white female Cops I had interaction with I would have to say that at least half were what I would have to call ‘smart asses’. Of the white males I would have to say about 10% were also smart asses. Mostly I chalked their attitudes up to being immature punks. Hispanic Cops, I would say about 1/3 were the same. American Indian Cops, at least 2/3 were the same, arrogant punks. What I counted their actions up to was that when they seen me they just expected me to be racist because I was a white guy, personally I found that to be a sad reality. I never ever was anything but kind and mellow toward Officers because I knew the power they had in their hands to ruin my life, or even to end it if they so chose to. Of the times Officers acted like punks toward me, how many was because of race, I don’t know? How many were just punks, I don’t know that answer either. I do know that maturity is an issue that every Police Department in the Country needs to address constantly, but, so does every industry in the world. When you are wearing a uniform and you choose to act like an ass, it just gets more people’s attention. Just like if you are driving a big truck, if you drive like a moron, more people notice your stupidity, you show up more.

 

Is there still racism in America, unfortunately that answer is yes. Is it in every race, yes. Is there violence in every race, yes. Here in America it seems like the Media always pounces on the cases when a White Police Officer beats up or kills a Black person yet they seem to pretty much ignore when a Black Police Officer does the same to a person of any other race. To me, all of these aggression’s should be a front page news story, they are all wrong, they should never ever happen. Yet here is the tie in with this articles main concept with the teachings of Doctor Martin Luther King. What I have notice in at least 80% of the cases when a video pops up of a White Officer being aggressive with  a Black citizen what the video constantly shows is the Black person almost never ever simply doing what they are told to do by the Officer. I don’t remember which Black Police Chief that said on camera a couple of years ago to the citizens after Officers had killed someone they were trying to arrest, he used a great common sense statement, he said “comply and stay alive”. What video’s have shown over and over again, Black suspects being aggressive and refusing to comply with Officers orders. Would Doctor King condone these killings, of course not. Would he condone people being aggressive toward the Officers and not following the commands of the Officers, of course not. What I have said/taught to my Son who is 25 now and he is on the Autism Spectrum, any time you are in contact with a Police Officer this Officer has the ability to ruin the rest of your life, the ability to beat the hell out of you even if you are being totally nice to them, or this Officer has the ability to end your life right there where you are at. So, I have taught him to always be nice and always obey them, at once, do not argue, just do what you are told. This goes even if you believe that you are totally right and they are totally wrong, obey at once and keep your mouth shut unless they ask you a question.

 

This articles headline speaks to young Black folks and their caring or not caring about the teaching of Doctor King, there is a reason for me choosing young Black folks for this title. What I noticed throughout my travels and what I have seen of TV screens throughout the years is the ‘culture’ of young folks being, acting, out as ‘gangster’. Is this just part of the ‘Hip Hop’ culture? Folks, I’m no Genius, I don’t know the answers to all that ails us as a human race. I just want peace and kindness for all, toward all. I try my best to look at all things from the eyes, the teachings of God. All this violence, this hate, this lack of love, of caring for each other is sickening to my heart and Soul, just as it was to the heart and Soul of Doctor King and just as it is to the heart and Soul of God. Will we as a people ever change?

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