This will be a very short diary. It will not contain any links or any scholarly references. It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective. The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished. The reason I'm posting this is because there were dueling diaries over the weekend about Dr. King's legacy, and there is a diary up now ... entitled, "Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream Not Yet Realized." I'm sure the diarist means well as did the others. But what most people who reference Dr. King seem not to know is how Dr. King actually changed the subjective experience of life in the United States for African Americans. And yeah, I said for African Americans, not for Americans, because his main impact was his effect on the lives of African Americans, not on Americans in general. His main impact was not to make white people nicer or fairer. That's why some of us who are African Americans get a bit possessive about his legacy. Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy, despite what our civil religion tells us, is not color blind. [more inside]
From Protest to Politics by Bayard Rustin, the civil rights leader almost erased from history. "From Protest to Politics" talks about the difficulty of moving beyond symbolic victories into lasting justice for the Civil Rights Movement.
The King Center archive launched a new web interface this year, featuring online access to thousands of historical documents relating to Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.
NOW WE CAN TRAVEL WITHOUT EMBARRASSMENT was the advertising slogan used by the publisher of The Negro Motorist Green Book, a vital resource for African-American travelers in a period when sundown towns (previously) were still common. This slim volume was published annually until 1964 for the benefit of black motorists who needed to know where they could sleep, eat, or purchase fuel.
Explorations in Black Leadership is a collection of video interviews with prominent African-Americans, focusing on activists of one sort or another. 34 people are interviewed, including Nikki Giovanni, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Dorothy Height and Amiri Baraka. There are full transcripts of every interview. Here's an excerpt from the Nikki Giovanni interview: "The kids today have to have a voice. I'm amazed that they found it. I remember Sugarhill Gang with Sylvia, you know: "Uptown, Downtown, the Holiday Inn." You know, things like that. Then, of course, I remember the explosion of Tupac Shakur. Losing Tupac was a great loss for this generation. I have a tattoo--it says "Thug Life" --because I wanted to mourn with this generation. I don't see how people can knock the kids…paying so little attention. I had deep regrets--and I know Rosa Parks, you know, we don't hang out but I know her--I so regretted that she lent her name to be used against Outkast, because Rosa Parks is a wonderful--is a wonderful tune. And they were giving her problems. If people don't--if the younger generation doesn't sing the praises of the older generation they get forgotten."
Constance Baker Motley, civil rights lawyer and federal judge, is dead at age 84. (NYT; bugmenot). She was a brilliant lawyer in the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund when it was led by Thurgood Marshall, winning anti-segregationist legal victories against Alabama Governor George Wallace and many others, and defending the civil rights movement. A New Yorker, she was a state senator and borough president of Manhattan. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson appointed her to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and she became the first black woman federal judge in the United States. Speeches, writings and clippings.
Welcome to the Relativist Fallacy. Conservative blacks in the United States are objecting to recent comparisons between the gay marriage and the 1960s civil rights movement, which fought segregation against blacks, arguing that sexual orientation is a choice.