Monday, January 15, 2018

An Introduction to Art

More on Dr. King

Celebrating the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in 1968

Related imageImage result for dr king coretta in colorImage result for dr king coretta in color

On this day, we express a great remembrance of the heroic man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He lived his life in service to the creed of justice for all. From being born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929 to his passing in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, Dr. King encompassed courage, strength, and determination. Many of us know of him from books, movies, TV, and other items. Yet, many of his friends and allies give constant stories about his sense of humor, his great intellectual curiosity, and his love of humanity. He expressed an excellent description of what love truly is. Love is more than an emotion. As he has eloquently stated, love is a form of genuine goodwill towards humanity which can transform an enemy into a friend. Dr. King wanted to transform the lives of people to recognize the humanity of others, so they can fully appreciate the human value found within themselves. Dr. King was born in a middle class family in Atlanta. His father was a great preacher named Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. and his father was an advocate for racial equality. His mother worked hard and instilled in values of love and honor onto him too. Dr. King graduated from high school when he was 15 years and came into college. He received his bachelor and doctorate degrees from Universities across America as well. He loved philosophy and theology. That is why evaluated the views of Personalism. He married Coretta Scott King, who was his equal. Coretta was just as committed to human equality as he was. Coretta opposed nuclear testing, she believed in peace, she fought against the Vietnam War, and she was a strong, progressive black woman from Alabama. Dr. King worked heavily in the South since he was from the South and he used his religious sermons to reach human beings throughout the South. The Montgomery Bus Boycott propelled him into more prominence. He was a young preacher and he wasn’t sucked in by the establishment over there, so leaders in Montgomery, Alabama had chosen him as a new leader to end the mistreatment of African Americans involving buses in Montgomery. This boycott was successful with men and women refusing to sit on buses, organizing carpools, and standing firm in their goal of human freedom. Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin had a great involvement in the movement too.

After the success, Dr. King wrote a book and traveled into India to be totally committed to the philosophy of nonviolence. He and others created the SCLC or the Southern Christian Leadership Council as a means to promote justice nationwide. The SCLC was based in Atlanta and it used rallies, protests, and fundraisers in their activities. He supported the sit-in movement, the Freedom Riders, and desegregation. Segregation was the evil system enforced by the government that violated the freedom of association and it advanced racism plus discrimination against black people (plus against people of color). Segregation existed nationwide not just in the Deep South. My parents experienced segregation growing up. Dr. King supported many causes. He opposed the death penalty and he wanted nuclear disarmament. He wanted change in health care in expanding coverage and he believed in the separation of church and state. He traveled the world to preach the Gospel of nonviolence. He came into London and the Netherlands too. During the early 1960’s, SNCC was formed. The Mother of SNCC was Ella Baker, who wanted democratic power and independent organizing in getting solutions accomplished. Ella Baker was another hero who fought for social change for over 50 years in her life. SNCC was younger than the SCLC and they clashed on issues, but they worked on the same goal of justice for black people. Dr. King wasn’t so successful in the Albany, Georgia movement, but he was successful in the Birmingham movement.  In that movement, Bull Connor used dogs, and water hoses against black men, black women, and black children. Public opinion was totally against that action of brutality. In that year of 1963, Dr. King gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington where he wanted freedom to ring everywhere and he called on all people to fight for social justice and equality. Immediately after that march, 4 little girls were murdered by racists via dynamite bombs in the 16th Street Baptist church in Birmingham. These 4 little just wanted to sincerely worship God, but they were murdered by cowards (from the Klan). Dr. King in his eulogy of them held back tears.

Their names of the children murdered are Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. The movement never forgets those children’s names. Dr. King continued in fighting for justice and he lived through the assassination of John F. Kennedy (who evolved to be stronger on Civil Rights by 1963). Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He or Dr. King also worked continuously in St. Augustine, Florida in their movement for social change. By 1965, he supported the Selma voting rights movement. Through demonstrations, protests, and activism, they or the activists won. Selma included men, women, and children marching, working together, and getting the courts to allow them to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. They desired an end to poll taxes and an end to voting rights discrimination on the basis of race. On Bloody Sunday in Selma, cops brutally assaulted peaceful demonstrators. TV footage of this was displayed worldwide. LBJ knew full well that footage of racist cops harming innocent black and white protesters ran in contrary of his capitalist views and his aim of showing the image of democracy in the world. LBJ also came out in support of the Selma movement and he spoke in a speech using the phrase “We Shall Overcome.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were some of the greatest progressive legislation in human history. These laws weren’t created by one man. They were created by the blood, sweat, and tears of many people (among many colors) who courageously resisted Jim Crow tyranny. After Selma, the movement was in its zenith (in terms of unity of purpose). A new era came about which dealt more with economics, de facto segregation (that means segregation by policy not necessarily by law), Black Power, and other issues in the North, the Midwest, and the West Coast. In 1965, the Watts rebellion happened. It existed after years of racism, police brutality, and economic exploitation against black human beings in Los Angeles. Black people were tired and Dr. King came into Watts to listen to the people’s concerns. He was booed, which was rare during that time. Dr. King was hurt, because he had done so much for black people, but he later understood why. He knew that the booing wasn’t necessary aimed at him, but it was an expression of despair and anger that the system which mistreated black people for decades and centuries in America. Therefore, Dr. King realized that complex causes must be addressed in order to end the oppression in the ghettos (which Dr. King said was akin to domestic colonies, which he’s right on). He worked in Chicago in 1966 which had millions of people. Dr. King wanted to end housing discrimination and to end slums, so poor and black citizens of Chicago can experience great housing plus excellent educational services. Chicago had the Democratic Daley machine and that machine was hesitant in instituting real housing legislation and radical policies. Dr. King was hit in the head with a rock during one demonstration in the Chicago area.

That experience changed him and seeing how civil rights laws aren't enough. He wanted a radical redistribution of economic and political power in order for the poor to have economic justice. Dr. King also saw Kwame Ture promoting Black Power in Mississippi by 1966 too. Dr. King believed in black people growing economic and political power, but he rejected separatism. Kwame Ture would agree with Dr. King on disagreeing with the Vietnam War. He spoke about promoting democratic socialism and he opposed the Vietnam War. By the late 1960’s, he traveled into Philadelphia, New York City, Milwaukee, and other places that weren’t in the South. Involving Vietnam, Dr. King felt that the war crippled Great Society anti-poverty programs. He believed that billions of dollars spent in the Vietnam War could be better spent in rebuilding suffering communities of America. After seeing the Rampant magazine of children being harmed with napalm, Dr. King took an increased role in opposing the Vietnam War.

 Image result for dr king riverside speech in colorImage result for dr king riverside speech in color

He opposed the Vietnam War in 1965, but he was in public in opposition to it in a higher level by early 1967. Dr. King said these great world about his own government being the most vicious purveyor of violence in the world by 1967 in his Riverside Church speech:

"...As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. (Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence,” Rev. Martin Luther King, Riverside Church, April 4, 1967)

After his historic speech in Riverside Baptist Church (in the great city of New York City) in opposition to the Vietnam War, he was criticized by LBJ (and some black bourgeois people like Carl Rowan), far right extremists, many liberal establishment figures, and those who wanted the status quo. SNCC issued an anti-imperialist, anti-Vietnam War policy position before 1967 too. Even some of his allies like Wilkins and Whitney Young criticized him, but he persisted. Ironically, Wilkins and Young would oppose the Vietnam War after Dr. King was assassinated. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  allied and was a friend to Muhammad Ali, who also opposed the Vietnam War. Dr. King wanted the Poor Peoples Campaign to make the government to send billions of dollars to help black people, Hispanic people, Asians, the white poor, and others who experienced massive poverty. He was inspired by anti-poverty activist and children's rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman (who went into Spelman). Dr. King wanted to march on Washington D.C. by the Spring of 1968 in a way similar to the Bonus March of the 1930's as a way to demand the government to help the people. Dr. King rightfully said that a person can have civil rights, but if he or she doesn’t have enough money to eat bread, then we have a problem here. So, he understood that we must have both civil rights and economic justice too. That is why he proposed a guaranteed annual income for Americans. He rejected the bootstraps philosophy (in saying that it was a cruel jest to tell a bootless man to get up by his own bootstraps) and worked with Memphis sanitation workers by 1968. He wanted the workers to organize a union, use an economic boycott if necessary, form a workers' stoppage, and fight for social justice. He was with his friends from Dorothy Cotton, Hosea Williams, Levison, Andrew Young, and to Ralph Abernathy. He also worked with the then younger activists like Jesse Jackson.  At first, one demonstration ended with violence in Memphis. This caused Dr. King to be sad. Dr. King wanted a second march to be peaceful. So, he organized the SCLC to talk with the Invaders (or a Black Nationalist group based in Memphis) to promote nonviolence in a future march. He also fought the injunction against them to march in Memphis. He gave his final “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech in April 3, 1968 which was prophetic. He said that we won’t live to see the Promised Land, but black people will witness it in the future. He inspired the crowd in Memphis to continue onward in their protests for workers' rights.

During the morning of April 4th, 1968, he played around, called people, and enjoyed himself. He planned to go into a dinner later during that day. After speaking with people on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel, he was shot and killed by a rifle bullet to his jaw at 6 pm. on April 4, 1968. Cities erupted in rebellion, people sent condolences, and many of his haters send more positive messages to him. Dr. King was buried later and the Memphis sanitation workers were successful. The Poor Peoples Campaign didn’t go exactly as planned, but more people have awareness about poverty issues. Dr. King inspired America to look at itself and change. Dr. King confronted racism, intolerance, and many other injustices too. Today, we still have racism (as shown by Trump, who is a racist), discrimination, sexism, economic inequality, and other evils. Yet, more people are speaking out in favor of human freedom. We are still defending the rights of immigrants, refugees (as millions of refugees right now in 2018 experience abuse, slavery, xenophobia, and racism), women, and all oppressed people. This fight isn't just about opposing the agenda of far right extremists like Trump and Tea Party folks (which we will continue to do). It is also about opposing the agenda of neoliberalism and New Democrats who seek compromise with an oppressive system instead of ending that evil system. The black freedom movement continues today as our Brothers and our Sisters live out what Dr. King stood for every day. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. questioned capitalism and we don't need capitalist exploitation period. Dr. King taught all of us that nonviolence is a legitimate act in fighting evil, that opposing imperialism is righteous, volunteerism is sacrosanct, and helping the poor is our absolute human duty. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was right to say that Black is Beautiful too in 1967 and he was right to call for a radical redistribution of economic and political power in 1968 as well. He wanted international change in seeing the peoples of the world from Johannesburg to Accra to witness true freedom in their own lives. He desired the unjust Vietnam War to end, he wanted Africa plus Asia to experience no colonialism, and he wanted the human race to be filled with tranquility. Therefore, on this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, we are committed to the goal of peace and social justice. In the end, we shall overcome.

By Timothy

5th Grader's Inspiring Speech in honoring Dr. King.