January 18, 2010

Dr. King

Marc Comtois

Aside, from his obvious importance in the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of this nation's great, effective orators and writers. His "I Have a Dream" speech and "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" are, respectively, great examples of his talent and ability to call upon central tenets of our nation's founding--upon the promises made, and too often unfulfilled--to help make the case for his righteous cause. But he also had an ability to be both sincerely empathetic, as heard and seen in his "Eulogy For The Young Victims Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing", while explaining the deeper meaning of actions and events that occurred during the struggle in which he engaged.

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During today's remembrance of Dr.King,it would be appropriate to also remember people such as James Farmer,A.Philip Randolph,James Bevel,and Ralph Abernathy.All civil rights pioneers and leaders in their own specific ways.REAL leaders,not race pimps.With whom we are now inundated.These were men of courage and purpose.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 18, 2010 2:32 PM

And those of you who run AR would have been -- as all real conservatives were at the time -- at the forefront of the reactionary movement opposing civil rights reforms. Justin, ever vigilant defender of tradition, would have been bashing King's leftist tendencies and Monique would have been rallying her tea party cohorts to oppose these radicals who were trying to change America in so fundamental a way.

On this of all days of the year, a bit of humble silence from the right would be the only honroable thing for you all to do.

Posted by: Pragmatist at January 18, 2010 2:43 PM

Pragmatist: You're an idiot. That would be like saying all real pragmatists, if they were commenting back then, would see that segregation was the only "practical" way to maintain equality. What an inane comment.

Posted by: Marc at January 18, 2010 3:28 PM

Mr Bernstein, does it make feel superior, when you call people names, like,race pimps, poverty pimps, ect ?

Posted by: Jeff at January 18, 2010 3:59 PM

Need to echo Marc – inane is an understatement for Pragmatist’s comment. That has to rank up there with them comment “Sarah Palin is as much a woman as Clarence Thomas is an African-American.”.

Prag: It is you who should engage in humble silence on this day because your comments are an insult to the man who wanted no more than a color blind society.

Posted by: msteven at January 18, 2010 4:21 PM

Jeff-superior?I'm not competing with them for the privilege of making money by trying to convince people they're victims and ofthen lying in the process.
Pragmatist-you're a complete jerk.Were you alive during that era?I was growing up then and not in a lily white environment like you probably grew up in.Things were really f**ked up,and not only in the South.Humble silence?Go piss up a roap.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 18, 2010 7:10 PM

Sorry-piss up a rope

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 18, 2010 7:14 PM

"And those of you who run AR would have been -- as all real conservatives were at the time -- at the forefront of the reactionary movement opposing civil rights reforms"

Utterly wrong on every point.

In fact, our philosophic predecessors - Congressional Republicans - were at the forefront of the effort to legislate civil rights. How fortunate that they were. Had they not, it would not have happened: many Democrats - yes, Democrats, including Al Gore's pappy - were fighting like mad to stop the enactment of civil rights for all.

Now, Pragmatist, who would you agree with? Who would you applaud? The Dems (your predecessors) who fought against civil rights? Or the Repubs who worked hard to formally codify MLK's vision?

Posted by: Monique at January 18, 2010 9:18 PM

New England Republicans,who were generally very conservative at the time were in the forefront of civil rights legislation,as was LBJ to be fair.But he lied us into expanding the Vietnam War beyond any reason.
Why bother trying to make a justification to ignorant provocateurs like "pragmatist"?There are more refugees from the RIFbot crowd showing up here recently.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 18, 2010 10:02 PM

I was growing up at the time and spent my summers in the South. I was young and my memories are not perfectly clear. I do recall that there was much more interaction with Blacks in the South and that White people were more comfortable with them. I recall that everything changed when you boarded the Princess Anne Ferry, two water fountains, two men's rooms, etc.

Since many of the people you associated with, such as barbers, were Black; I recall my father explaining what you could talk to them about (White kids were permitted to refer to them by their first names, rather than Mister) Unlike the movies, the "N word" was almost never used (I heard it often in the North). I can recall one uncle who used it, while not shunned, he was not the "family pet". Reference was always to "the coloreds". I have a friend from Alabama who tells me she first heard the "N word" while going to college in Philadelphia when a group of White boys yelled it at her. She can recall being escorted into her elementary school by National Guardsmen (who were not overly polite).

There is no denying that my father was an adamant segregationist, still he did not speak poorly of them and was polite in his associations with them. He had a "mammy" who was revered. Into her 70's, my New England mother was sure that there was Black man behind every bush just waiting to rape a White woman.

All of this leads to an incident I do recall, my attention was directed by my father. A group Black "Freedom Riders" took a bus to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis, the purpose was to spur President Kennedy to action on segregated travel in the South. They were greeted by locals who heckled them and stoned the bus. This was televised.

I don't think we can take any particular pride in our local politicians. The simply followed the political wind of the time.

Governor Peabody's mother did join in a "sit in" in an Alabama restaurant.

I suspect that part of the politician's motivation was "if we make it comfortable them in the South, perhaps they will stay there". This was about the time that the Boston City Council made the decision to drive the Jews out of Roxbury and Dorchester to make a place where the Blacks could be contained. The mortgage lenders took orders from politicians then, there is a very interesting book about all this. Nor should we forget the statements of the Boston politicians when Boston was devastated by integration of its schools.

We have not so much to be proud of.
Many of our politicians wanted an end to segregation in the South, but they didn't want "them" here.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 18, 2010 11:34 PM
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