This is the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial almost 50 years ago. It was beyond eloquent and no matter what your political persuasion I encourage you to Google it and listen to it.
The times then were downright scary. For the young ones in our audience there was a struggle in the South and elsewhere for blacks to be considered equal. They had been slaves by heritage. I was reading that some 500,000 had been ripped from their homes in Africa. They were sold as a piece of merchandise to the highest bidder. By pieces of silver or gold you now belonged to the man or Massa.
Throughout our early history these people were nobodies. In the modern era if it can be considered as such they were not allowed to ride but in the back of the bus. They could not sit with whites at a lunch counter. There were separate water fountains and lavatories. They were labeled COLORED and WHITE. They were considered the lowest of the low. In trying to figure out their status someone actually tried to equate them as equal to 2/3 of a white person. Wonder why they didn’t pick themselves up and make something of themselves?
Of course there were black schools. Money and good teachers didn’t go there. Couldn’t blame them. The whites that is. And they faltered and failed and took flunky jobs. They talked jive because that was like talking a secret language. It sounded cool somehow and Lord knows they wanted to be cool in some way.
If you saw 42 you get a little idea. I was a kid of seven or eight when Jackie Robinson came up. I didn’t really know racial whatevers. He was one hell of a ball player. You didn’t know bupkus until you watched Jackie or Willy Mays run the bases. You cheered like hell but don’t get too carried away. He ain’t coming for dinner or even for a game of golf at the club.
Jimmy Brown grew up in our town. I would watch him at Manhasset High playing football but even better at lacrosse. But he lived in the Valley at the bottom of Spinney Hill. You passed the Dew Drop Inn and prayed you wouldn’t get a flat tire. Don’t stop for red lights. You might not get home. The homes were run down and rancid. Stabbings and drunks were commonplace. We have really come a long way haven’t we? Did I mention that was in New York on Long Island? Not the Deep South.
Sure we have had desegregation. Yes we have had Head Starts and all of that. We have had public housing that has been trashed and burned by the residents. They killed and raped each other. They sold drugs to one and all. The good side of the tracks called them savages and some of them probably were. But so are we but just in white collars and the crimes are less violent like fraud and embezzlement. I wonder how most of us would have fared?
I watched John Lewis, a congressman from Georgia this weekend. This man walks the walk and talks the talk. He was beaten, brutalized and arrested over 60 times. Yet he didn’t raise a finger in retaliation. He walked alongside MLK and Ralph Abernathy in lockstep. Show them we are bigger than cursing and spitting and screaming in rage. They say N____er go home but to where. Once again the haunting question. What would I have done in the face of all that vitriol and hatred?
Fifty years have come and gone. We have a black president to the chagrin of many. Let’s face it some of us are pissed because he is an uppity black not a Democrat. We have watched the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who seem to be in it for the money and the message is secondary. I am so turned off by the fact that Jesse Jackson got the blacks to boycott Budweiser and was rewarded with a distributorship for Budweiser for he and his sons. Sharpton blatantly lied about Tawanna Brawley and got a radio/tv show for his efforts. But then again I guess no white man has ever committed a crime. Sure he did but just dressed a little differently and working out of a gated community instead of a ghetto storefront. That makes it alright.
Now except for this week the blacks have been in the background. The Latinos are now front and center. We want to deport them. We want to cleanse our land to make it right. Get them sons of bitches out of here so honest Americans can get a job. Really? Okay I will play your game. Just let me know in a year or so how you like making your own bed or cutting your own lawn. Or if you have help what is it really going to cost you to attract the “right” kind of person.
I am not a cross burner nor am I a cross waver.I am not apologizing for who I am or what I have. But to say I got here completely on my own is BS. There is a thing called the Lucky Sperm Club and I am a member.I could have been black or Latino or poor and destitute living in Somalia. I am not the cat’s meow.And neither are you.
The black community like the Latinos have to take responsibility for themselves. The rappers and movie moguls as well as sports stars and reverends have to stand up and take their own to task along with white America. But we as everything sane can’t keep coming up with vapid excuses to justify our right to throw stones and plain ignore the problem.
I have a dream. That I will be a better person and not be patronizing to less fortunate people but really try to get my ass in gear to help them. That when I see a young black or Hispanic I won’t say isn’t he or she cute but look and see a human being with incredible potential with as much right on the planet and in this country as I do. As I look at my kids and grandkids. That’s a dream and I have along way to go but I have to start somewhere. Care to join me?
Ted The Great
The slave trade in Africa was set up and maintained by blacks. You had to get the poor devils from the inland regions to the coast and waiting ships. Millions went to Europe, South America and the US. They were stacked like cord wood and on the overall journey throughout all corners of the globe a vast majority of them died. Made the “survivors” all the more valuable.
Gospel music as well as the blues are an outgrowth of slavery. At night they would sing to soothe the soul and pray to God. The blues were just that and a tribute to the poor times.
72% of African American babies are born out of wedlock. 90% of blacks killed are at the hands of other blacks. Now you can view this as a cancer or a pimple. Cancers kill if left untreated. Pimples can kill also if left untreated. Just takes longer. Name your poison.
Gangs are the new black and Hispanic “family”.
Ken Malloy and several white men got together and ponied up Jim Brown’s first year tuition at Syracuse because he WAS NOT offered a scholarship!
Ken coached me in Little League and was a classy guy.
MLK was rather boring through the first part of the speech. Mahalia Jackson told him to ramp it up and he did, pretty much off the cuff.