Marchers were beaten into withdrawal, spoiling their first attempt to march from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery, Alabama. In the ensuing successful march in 1965 to Montgomery, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an address that predicted the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Nation’s Capital. To the cheers of the assembled throng, Dr. King issued a warning as much as a speech, the following excerpt sums up every rioter and sympathizer:
“He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man.”
The people who stormed the Capitol building sporting vile Nazi paraphernalia, marching through the Hall of Statues displaying the symbol of the Confederacy, and replacing the American flag with the Trump flag proved Dr. King’s point. The despicable marauders who claim their economic insecurity fuels their hatred and anger, ironically have more in common with black Americans than they do with conservatives, who use their anger as a pivot-point to stoke racial animosity and persuade them to vote against their best interests.
This morning I heard a white talk host lament the violence and speak in melancholy tones about the racial unrest in America. She realized that her neighbors, friends, and colleagues may hold racist views, and when she looks around, she is now wondering what they are thinking;
Welcome to my world… I have lived that reality for over 60 years; was I refused service because I am black? Did that cab pass me by because I am black? Is that salesperson following me? Was I stopped because I am black, am I dead because I am black…
Despite a boss who has embraced white supremacist groups and ignored the shootings of black men and boys and black women and girls, former Attorney General Bill Barr told us he does not believe systemic racism exists in America, “I don’t agree there’s systemic racism in police departments — or generally in this country” said Barr.
We have progressed, Dr. King’s birthday, which is actually January 15, 1929, has reached three-day holiday status—right alongside President’s day. Dr. King is most remembered for having a dream but America revisited his worst nightmares twelve days ago. The failed insurrection was an attempt at voter disenfranchisement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Reverend C.T. Vivian, and the recently departed honorable Congressmen John Lewis, among many, braved bullets, batons, and bites to make days like the day votes were cast in the hundreds of thousands by black Americans in one of the strongholds of the south [Georgia] a reality.
The last time I saw my hometown of Washington, DC occupied by thousands of National Guard troops was 4 days after the assassination of Dr. King in 1968. I was 12 and afraid I would die next because I was convinced that America only had evil white people. That was not true then nor is it true now, but like that tv host this morning, I keep an eye on my neighbors. Happy Birthday Dr. King, your legacy lives.
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