Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Martin Luther King actually did - Hamden Rice

Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, John Lewis
This is a great essay by a Black man, six generations American, tracing ancestry back through slavery to Africa Jones and Mama Suki.  I remember my parents went to Charleston, South Carolina in the fifties because my father had a job interview.  They came back saying they could not live there because Black men stepped off the sidewalk into the street when they - a white couple - approached.  It is that world that Hamden Rice recalls.  It is that world that Martin Luther King led us out of. Read the whole thing.  Its power grows as you read. 
Daily Kos: Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did:
by Hamden Rice
This is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.I'm guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing The Help, may not understand what this was all about. But living in the south (and in parts of the midwest and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.  It wasn't that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn't sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.  You really must disabuse yourself of this idea. Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement used to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth's.It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them. You all know about lynching. But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.  This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running. It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.

'via Blog this'

No comments:

Post a Comment