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Cotton candy, candy apples and MLK dreams…

As Democrats on the national level debate the relevancy of experience, I cringed when Dr. Martin Luther King was mentioned and the attempt by the Obama forces to claim that Hillary Clinton down played the legacy of Dr. King.
Then a game of racial mud pie throwing ensued, like a debate between State Fair cotton candy and candy apples both are sweet however neither offer lasting “political” nourishment.

What many people don’t know is that it took Lyndon B. Johnson considerable political and moral capital to enact legislation on Civil Rights. Southern white Democrats were routinely and publicly denying blacks the right to vote based on race. President Johnson was faced with a dilemma, since Democrats were causing these problems in the old south and as America’s leader he (Johnson) had to mobilize presidential and congressional power to enact legislation.
In the trenches were the civil rights workers including many whites who placed their lives in danger in order to bring about social and economic change in America.

While loved and elevated to near sainthood in the black community after death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not well liked by the church community at the time. Mainstream churches were saying, “Martin you’re movin’ too fast.” King in frustration said and I paraphrase, “if the Civil Rights Movement were a train the church community would be the caboose.”

It was a time when the entire country was experiencing profound change at every level. Poll taxes, separate but equal education, segregated facilities, some of most despicable housing in the western world lacking bathrooms and plumbing were common place in the South for poor blacks.

Mobilized by Dr. King and others including the Congress for Racial Equality, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference the human tide of African Americans in protest caused the body politic of this country to shudder. Walter Cronkite and CBS News beamed disturbing images of people being beaten with batons and bit by vicious dogs. Redemptive Suffering was the mantra.

Prominent Democrats like Alabama Gov. George Wallace and law enforcement icons like Bull Connor became the face of government sanctioned hate.

Meanwhile back in Washington D.C., congressman and senators were threatened, bent and twisted by President Johnson in order to get the needed votes required for legislation that is still on the books.

When the Clintons and people associated with the Clinton campaign began pointing out that “hope was not enough” there was an outcry that sounded like an impaled pig squealing.

I’m proud of what Barak Obama has accomplished in the Democratic primary and he very well may win the nomination, but it disturbs me that some of his supporters have stated, “I like him because of his white mother from Kansas and an African father, he doesn’t carry that Civil Rights baggage.”

At my age I’ve heard the speeches and promises for political leaders of all stripes. Soaring oratory doesn’t move me anymore. As they say, “I’ve been there done that.”
I remember an alive Dr. King, his words, his death and the subsequent appropriation of his image for church fans, insurance calendars, annual fund raisers and corporations that want us to remember a 1964 speech about a dream.
When he was murdered on April 4 1968 Dr. King’s 1963 I Have A Dream had morphed into national outrage over war.

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The Right To Read : Documentary Screening and Discussion

Community Folk Art Center 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY, United States

Join The NAACP Syracuse Onondaga County Branch and Community Folk Art Center for a special screening and panel discussion of The Right To Read. This viewing will occur on Thursday, […]

Free and open to the community

A Celebration of Black Icons in Dance

Community Folk Art Center 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY, United States

Join Classical Dance Trailblazer, Charles Haislah, The Creative Arts Academy, and CFAC-DanceLab for an evening of captivating performances and dance history. This event is free and open to the community!

Free and open to the community

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