Saturday, March 07, 2015

Reflections on Selma--A Long Road Traveled

The president’s speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge by persons of color to secure voting rights was nothing less than magnificent.  If you did not hear it or see it I urge you to do so. 

The irony in the name of the bridge “Edmund Pettus” is not lost to history as the bridge is named after a general in the Confederacy and a distant cousin to the Confederacy president, Jefferson Davis.  In addition to that “illustrious” career, Pettus was named Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan and dedicated himself to the crushing, literally, of blacks in their quest for equal rights.  It is strange irony, indeed, that the commemoration of that march 50 years later is recognized in our time on that bridge named for a racist and that our first president of color delivered his speech on it.  It is, for me, immensely satisfying!

I thought, too, of my own trajectory to this day and waxed incredulous at the long road I and many who share my political views have traveled as well.  My earliest Civil War understanding was at age 10 when I learned the Confederacy wore a grey uniform and the Union a blue one.  At age 10 I won a trip to Disneyland in California.  In Disneyland they were selling Civil War military caps colored Union blue and Confederate grey.  I urged my parents to buy one for me but I could not decide on the color I wanted and did not understand the significance of it.  Incredulous to me now I believe I chose grey. 

At age 15 during the riots in the black urban ghettos of the mid-sixties I was told and believed those riots were inspired by Communists.  It could not be, of course, those riots were fueled by vicious racism and centuries of discrimination against blacks the etiology of which was fueled since the nation’s founding by deep racist principle and the money that could be made on the backs of slaves.  I never questioned what I was told – not once – during those years.

It was not until the late 1960’s that my educational experience at Boston University opened a window onto the national madness.  Our nation was founded on the backs of slaves, brought here chained against their will from Africa and treated not even as well as one would treat a beast of burden.  It was not until this time that one of my black professors told of his experience fighting in WWII only to be denied service at a “whites only” lunch counter when he returned home.  It was a rude awakening, indeed, one prefaced by an African American high school classmate running for class secretary.  She told me she did not have a chance.  When in my naiveté I asked why she said “Because I am colored.”  I did not believe her then but, clearly, she was right.  She could not win and did not. Four decades later a black man named Barack Obama won the presidency against John McCain, a white military man.

It has been a long road traveled through 1965 Selma, Alabama transcending the history of the slave trade to the first African American president of our time; a very long road, indeed!

An Unwelcome Guest

Fox No News News signed Alveda King, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s niece, as a contributor (see story below.)  There always seems to be some one in the family who somehow did not inherit the humanitarian greatness gene of their famous relative. 

Although gay rights was not a prominent issue when Rev. King fought for his humanitarian nation-changing work, he was always on the side of human rights no matter whose human rights they were. I think I can safely predict that Martin Luther King, Jr. never would have worked for Fox News nor would he say, as his niece did, that the gay rights movement was tantamount to genocide.  It is clear that his niece does not understand just what genocide means although one would think she certainly should.
It staggers me when a member of a much maligned, aggrieved and discriminated upon group as persons of color have been cannot translate that hurt to other groups who suffer the same unfair fate.

MLK's niece should be ashamed of herself for accepting Fox's No News News's offer , although I am sure money had something to do with it. Moreover, she should study up on the realities of human sexuality, psychiatry which long ago took homosexuality off its list of disorder s and genetics which in many cases has seen a genetic link to its occurrence.

Over and above those reasons MLK's niece should identify with the quest for all human rights instead of promulgating a toxic philosophy that has had for some suicidal consequences.  Perhaps, her purpose is to rid the world of homosexuals. If so she would find herself in good company with the anti-immigrant nativists , white supremest light Republican Whip Stephen Scalise and David Duke's KKK although she might find she would be a n unwelcome guest at their cross burning parties.


Fox News Signs Alveda King, Niece of Martin Luther King Jr., As Contributor


Fox News has signed Alveda King, the niece of civil-rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., as a contributor, Fox president Roger Ailes announced today. King will provide regular social and cultural commentary across the network lineup.

“Alveda has brilliantly carried the legacy of the King family to the next generation and has been a source of inspiration for many Americans," Ailes said in making the announcement. "Her passion and mission for social change will be a valuable contribution to our network.”

King is a prominent anti-abortion activist and serves as director of African-American outreach at Priests for Life. She has also courted controversy by speaking out against LGBT rights proclaiming in 1998 that "God hates homosexuality and comparing gay marriage to genocide in a 2010 speech.