Please sign my Guestbook.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today was Martin Luther King Day of course. I wrote a short post for the other blog but hadn't said anything here except to talk about a 3 day weekend.

I don't know if I ever mentioned that my birth mother was married to a person of color. They met during WW II but had to wait to marry until California rescinded its miscegnation law in 1948. I met him for the first time when I moved to CA in 1958. Wonderful man who died not long after I came out here.

Henry and my mother were stopped on the street by police both before and after their marriage and made to show i.d. The police assumed that only one type of woman would be walking with a black man. She didn't tell me about all the incidents of harassment but I'm sure there were many. They were restricted to certain neighborhoods of course.

And this was San Francisco, CA.

The country has changed greatly since then but not nearly enough.

Doctor King died for his beliefs. There were many others as well as innocents who were killed simply because of the color of their skin. Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo, the three young men who died for helping blacks to vote, and 4 little girls in a Birmingham Sunday School. That is just a sample, not a complete list. Racism was (and is) the shame of our nation and we must never forget the people who paved the way for children like my great-granddaughters. They may not grow up in a perfect world but it's certainly an improvement over what went before.

Here's what I wrote over on Is America Burning:

I was a mile or two away from that motel in Memphis in April 1968 buying groceries with my then mother-in-law. I'd gone out to bring the car around and turned on the radio to hear the breaking news. I walked back and got the store manager and he shut it down. We went back home and listened in horror. My mother in law was a product of her time and place in some respects but she was weeping along with me.

It would have been a tragedy no matter where I lived at the time. I was in California for JFK and Memphis still (in hospital giving birth) for RFK. There's no good place to hear something like that. But there's something about being right there that's different. It's still like it was yesterday.

Here is Tom Paine today reminding us all to not lose sight of Doctor King's other goals which he did not live to achieve



Lindsay Lobe said...

I think discrimination has flourished in very society, as one groups concept of superiority justifies de humanisation practices, and becones part of the culture.

In Australia up until fairly recently government policy relating to Aboriginal people was enacted "for their own good" in a paternalistic self serving notion.

Hence the Policies of protection, assimilation, self-determination and reconciliation were determined in isolation of those commuinities who they were designed to help.
Poor living standards for many indigenous Australians continue to day,a legacy of those flawed policies.

Paternalism and restrictions flourished right up to 1967,when Aboriginals for the first time were included in the census as peoples of Australia, a few years after they were given the vote ......for the first time.

It took over 60 years since Federation for Aboriginals to be given a vote in their native country and included in the Census as real people.

They were excluded at the time of Federation, since they were thought to be a dyeing race.
The Census did however think it was important to make provision to include the number Of heads of cattle.

Best wishes

Badoozie said...

well, i had the privilege of learning the "real" truth at college last year in my social work history class. many classes, i just sat there with my mouth hanging open. sometimes words would come out, and in the form of questions, like WHAT THE HECK

i remember that black men were not allowed within a 10 mile radius of a white women, it was thought that they would not be able to control themselves, and that they were not "clean" people, so we couldnt' have our good southern white women being tainted. idiots, didn't they know about the forbidden fruit thing?

what was the name of the young man from New York, who was murdered for simply speaking to a white woman, in a local store down south? i hope you know this, and i don't have to dig out that textbook. its gonna bug me til i remember.

Sp00kalot said...

Excellent post. Excellent comments. We have a long way to go, this country of ours. In order to rid this land of racism, EVERYONE has to stop it. Every race, every color. Has. To. Stop. It.

Aunt Jo said...

Hi Granny....I saw you on Susie Gobhole's blog and decided to pop in and not just lurk!

I enjoyed your post. We do have a long way to go in our country and I pray that someday we will make it.

Come and see me sometime.....

PS I like your apples too.

Neets said...

i am an indian girl, a software engg in India. discrimination has been around for ages. there are ppl who consider it a fact of life, then there are some who fight against it, then some who believe that they are different from the others. India too has a fetish for the fair skin, though not in an agressive form to be called racism. parents want their kids to marry fairer ppl. then there are youngsters who go ga-ga at the sight of a fair person.i personally detest any system of discrimination. its such a cheap thing to do. we, as the human civilisation have reached a point in time where science rules every aspect of our lives- satellite communication, microwave cooking, cellular phones, Invirto fertilisation,silicone-implants... meaning logic has taken over blind-illogical-believes. then how is it that there are still some morons(sorry about the language granny, cant help my feelings) who still believe in people with more melanin pigmentation being lesser beings?!!! more over there is a theory by genetist Spenser Wells which he arrived at by studying the DNA of people around the globe thats gonna put all the rascists to shame..... the theory says that all the humans on earth irrespective of colour are the descendants of an african man- meaning whether you are pink,brown,yellow,white,albino,... you are all the descendants of a black man.- all the racists can very well prepare them selves to push the racism crap up their...
(sorry again granny.)
i love you and your blog
a grandchild from the other side of the globe.

Elizabeth Green said...

This is interesting, Granny. I am assuming this man wasn't your father? I was getting my car repaired one time in Oxford, MS. It was ready to be picked up. I got a ride to Oxford with a black male colleague of mine who was taking a class at Ole Miss. When I showed up to pick up my car, everyone in that garage came out to stare because I rode over there with a black man. That was just a few years ago. Until people stop teaching their children these things, they are never going to learn.

Marigoldie said...

I just wanted to say, in reference to Susie's question, I think the young man she's talking about is Emmett Till.