and the most dangerous negro award goes to…

mlk hands

Every January, Martin Luther King, Jr. is universally honored as a national hero who preached a peaceful fight against racial injustice. This saintly image is quite a departure from the kind of attacks the reverend endured over his lifetime. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover famously called King “the most dangerous Negro” and “the most notorious liar in the country” while keeping him under close surveillance. Over the years, Dr. King’s more controversial edges have been smoothed over, burying his more radical teachings….

Read More of the  4 Ways Martin Luther King Was More Radical Than You Thought

I mean, that is quite an accomplishment, MLK.  The most dangerous negro!? Everyone knows all negroes are dangerous, so…

Why else would it be socially acceptable to make post-game interview commentary like these comments below?  Admitedly, the anger unleashed in Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman’s post-win interview falls into the category of unsavory.  But must we wonder why he might be so sensitive?  I know haters gone hate and all, but you try to let comments like these roll off your back. It’s not for the faint of heart and could understandably lead to a kind of hypervigilance pertaining to perceived disrespect.  I highly doubt this is the first time Mr. Sherman has been on the receiving end of jabs such as these.  Even without an angry interview as catalyst.  This happened yesterday. So very post-racial…note #noracismintended.

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Lol don’t mess with Richard Sherman, he will go bananas. Guys a fricken jungle monkey.

— Zack Grenon (@g_g_g_grenon71) January 20, 2014

Richard Sherman’s an ignorant ape

— GC (@TropicanaCEO_15) January 20, 2014

Someone put Richard Sherman in an animal hospital because he is a fucking gorilla #noracismintented

— Michael Mortellito (@mmortellito) January 20, 2014

Richard Sherman is a nigger, fuck that.

— Rob Falotico (@Robadob561) January 20, 2014

Richard Sherman deserves to get shot in the fucking head. Disrespectful nigger.

— Adam Costello (@AdamCostello128) January 20, 2014

Richard Sherman is a straight irrogant nigger. Manning is going to rip him apart

— Christian Parafati (@C_parafati_one3) January 20, 2014

You can read many more comments like this HERE

hatepotate

Happy Most Dangerous Negro Day to you!

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85

Guess who would have celebrated 85 years today….

Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for doing work to end racial segregation and discrimination in 1964.

That was 50 years ago!! Imagine what he would have done if he had lived to be 85!

haven't learned to wald as brothers and sisters mlk

mlk-peace represents

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peaceful changemakers

Basically, I think that Madeleine Rogin is a genius and I hope this curriculum (and others like it) spreads like wildfire.  To know that there are people working so diligently to affect positive change at a core and fundamental level is truly invigorating to me.  It makes me enthusiastic about life. That children are being thoughtfully led to consider social justice, peace, and change and to recognize, then interrupt bias…well, that opens up more space in my heart.  For real.

I only wish I had experienced first-hand the benefit of this kind of education.  As a student, I mean.  I am totally looking forward to experiencing the benefit of communing with citizens who are a product of this type of conscientious education.  But even more selfishly, I cannot help but feel a twinge of envy when contemplating the vast difference between how it felt to be a speck of color in a classroom where exclusivity was a priority (as were the classrooms of my youth), and how I imagine it feels to be in a millennial classroom where inclusivity is a priority.  It gives me hope that this is concrete evidence that we are indeed moving from a country where exclusivity is a priority to a country that takes more pride in inclusivity.  At high levels.  Where it counts.

So, on this 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, I contemplate:

What was the problem he faced?

Who was involved or affected?

Why was it hard to solve this problem?

And was it solved?

How to Teach Kids about Race and Social Justice: One Teacher’s Approach

By    via

Kindergarten

When it came time to talk about Martin Luther King Jr. to my Kindergarten students, I found myself struggling to communicate who he was. I wanted to convey the themes that stood out to me the most about Dr. King: courage, standing up for a community, and using peaceful means to bring about big, important social changes. But I didn’t know what was developmentally appropriate for five and six year olds. Should I tell them about his assassination?  Should I talk to them about race and racism? Would learning the truth about racism and segregation be too much for them to handle and create divisions in my diverse classroom? Would my students feel burdened or overwhelmed with this information?

For years, I tried to talk about Dr. King without talking about racism. I thought my students would understand the themes of courage, social justice and empathy by talking in general terms about Dr. King’s dream of an inclusive world. But our conversations in class did not convey these themes and my students did not seem to understand the significance of who Dr. King was and what he did. And, inevitably, some of the truth would come out—through a comment from a student who had prior knowledge about the story, or a conversation on the playground between a kindergartener and an older child. I realized that it was my responsibility to tell this story in a way that would effectively communicate the themes I most wanted my students to understand and, in order to do that, I would have to look deeper into our curriculum and face my own discomfort around talking about racism with my students.

I met with my kindergarten team and began an inquiry into our curriculum.  We asked ourselves:  how can we teach the themes of courage, justice, inclusivity and making change through peaceful means to our young students? And how can we do this in a way that is developmentally appropriate and includes all the voices in our classrooms?

The result of this inquiry has led to the “Peaceful Changemakers” curriculum in kindergarten, and, now, influencing the way that first through fourth grade teachers talk about issues of environmentalism, civil and human rights. Through this curriculum, students learn about many people who work toward making the world a better place through peaceful means.  We realized that in order for our students to have a deeper understanding of Dr. King we would need to integrate the ideas around making big, important changes into our curriculum. We would need to start talking about these themes months before Dr. King’s birthday, so that our students could practice exploring the ideas and having conversations about what it means to stand up for a community and make change before they learned about Dr. King.

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We start by studying Dr. Seuss’s the Lorax, and we call the Lorax a “changemaker” because he spoke for the trees. Students answer the following questions about the Lorax: What was the problem he faced? Who was involved or affected? Why was it hard to solve this problem? And was it solved? From there, we learn about Dr. Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan scientist who won the Nobel Peace Prize for planting trees in Kenya. As we learn about these changemakers, students take action to solve problems in their local community.  We work to restore the watershed by planting native trees at a nearby creek and go on trash walks through the local parks. We hang signs around their school educating our school community about how trash on the ground eventually makes its way into the ocean.

Students also honor changemakers from their own families and communities, and family members come into the classroom to present their changemakers. Some of these changemakers are tutors in schools, work in orphanages in other countries, educate others about the importance of reusing and recycling, or turn parking lots into neighborhood parks.

There were also important changes we made to the discussion of Dr. King himself. Through our research, we discovered that it is developmentally appropriate to skip the part of the story around Dr. King’s death; students do not need to know that he was assassinated in order to appreciate his work. I had noticed that when my students learned he was killed, they would often focus on this violent image more than on any other aspect of his life work. And, without the larger unit in which we explore many people who work for change, students would feel burdened and overwhelmed with this information. Now, if my students learn about the assassination from an older sibling or from an outside conversation, I can point to our Changemaker Wall on which we display all the changemakers we have learned about, both famous and not, and remind them that there are so many people working, as Dr. King did, to make a difference.

We also learned it was important not to skip the part about racism and segregation. Using our changemakers framework, where we ask specific questions of each of our changemakers, our students need to know what the problem was in order to think about how to solve it. There is a universality among all the changemakers in that they all work to make a difference and solve big problems, but in order for our students to grasp the significance of this universality they also have to understand the specific problems. Otherwise, they cannot appreciate the courage it takes to solve the problems we face.

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We also discovered that our students needed support in developing a basic understanding of skin color differences and language they can use to be inclusive with one another. To this end, students mix paint to find their skin tones, write poems about their skin, and listen to many stories about the different shades of our skin. Talking openly about race and racism with our students is also important so that they can recognize and interrupt bias when they see it. They can also more fully appreciate the work of Dr. King and other changemakers in fighting against segregation and racism.

Now, when it comes time to talk about Martin Luther King Jr. in kindergarten, the students are able to focus on the big ideas around courage, social justice and making peaceful change. They have a deeper understanding of their similarities and differences and a greater appreciation for the importance of standing up for a community and working toward inclusivity and equality.   They recognize they can be changemakers too.

inter-related

universe of souls

In a real sense all life is inter-related.  All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.  I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.  This is the inter-related structure of reality.“- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

responsible?

So, I’m sitting here completely stunned by this and unsure how to process it.  It’s not the “possibility” that the government was involved in the assassination that has me floored, but that I have never heard of this trial before.  I wasn’t sure I could believe that the trial even happened.  I came across this on April Fool’s Day after all.  But it seems to be no joke.  The King Center seems to be legit.  The NYTimes made some brief mention of the trial.  However this is not common knowledge.  At least, not to the best of my knowledge.  I can only say that I am truly befuddled.  Yep, befuddled.  The 45th anniversary of the assassination is days away: 6:01 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, 1968.

mlk assassination suit

Assassination Conspiracy Trial

Martin King’s family: share civil trial case that US govt assassinated Martin

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Coretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.” – King Family Press Conference, Dec. 9, 1999.

From the King Center on the  family’s civil trial that found the US government guilty in Martin’s assassination:

After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. In a press statement held the following day in Atlanta, Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict, saying , “There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court’s unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family, but also a great victory for America. It is a great victory for truth itself. It is important to know that this was a SWIFT verdict, delivered after about an hour of jury deliberation. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband. The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame. I want to make it clear that my family has no interest in retribution. Instead, our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law… My husband once said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” To-day, almost 32 years after my husband and the father of my four children was assassinated, I feel that the jury’s verdict clearly affirms this principle. With this faith, we can begin the 21st century and the new millennium with a new spirit of hope and healing.”

mlk w:father and son 1963

1963

TRANSCRIPTS

View Full Trial Transcript>

View Transcript of King Family Press Conference on the Verdict>

KING FAMILY STATEMENT ON MEDIA REQUESTS REGARDING THE MEMPHIS VERDICT

The King family stands firmly behind the civil trial verdict reached by twelve jurors in the Memphis, Tennessee courtroom on December 8, 1999.

An excerpt from remarks made by Mr. Dexter Scott King, Chairman, President, and CEO of The King Center, during the December 9, 1999 press conference regarding the verdict that may be used in support of this family decision:

“We can say that because of the evidence and information obtained in Memphis we believe that this case is over. This is a period in the chapter. We constantly hear reports, which trouble me, that this verdict creates more questions than answers. That is totally false. Anyone who sat in on almost four weeks of testimony, with over seventy witnesses, credible witnesses I might add, from several judges to other very credible witnesses, would know that the truth is here.”

The question now is, “What will you do with that?” We as a family have done our part. We have carried this mantle for as long as we can carry it. We know what happened. It is on public record. The transcripts will be available; we will make them available on the Web at some point. Any serious researcher who wants to know what happened can find out.”

The King family feels that the jury’s verdict, the transcripts of the conspiracy trial, and the transcripts of the King family’s press conference following the trial — all of which can be found on The King Center’s website — include everything that that family members have to say about the assassination.

Therefore, the King family shares the conviction that there is nothing more to add to their comments on record and will respectfully decline all further requests for comment.

destined to repeat history

Memphis Jury Sees Conspiracy in Martin Luther King’s Killing

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By EMILY YELLIN
Published: December 09, 1999

A jury in a civil suit brought by the family of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decided today that a retired Memphis cafe owner was part of a conspiracy in the 1968 killing of Dr. King.

The jury’s decision means it did not believe that James Earl Ray, who was convicted of the crime, fired the shot that killed Dr. King.

After four weeks of testimony and one hour of deliberation, the jury in the wrongful-death case found that Loyd Jowers as well as ”others, including governmental agencies” had been part of a conspiracy. The jury awarded the King family the damages they had sought: $100, which the family says it will donate to charity.

The family has long questioned Mr. Ray’s conviction and hoped the suit would change the legal and historical record of the assassination.

”This is a vindication for us,” said Dexter King, the youngest son of Dr. King.

He said he hoped history books would be rewritten to reflect this version of the assassination.

Mr. Jowers, 73 and in failing health, owned Jim’s Grill in 1968, a restaurant opposite the motel where Dr. King was shot and just below the second-floor rooming house from which, according to James Earl Ray’s confession in 1969, Mr. Ray fired the single shot that killed Dr. King. Mr. Ray, who recanted his confession, hinted at a conspiracy. He died in prison last year while serving a 99-year sentence.

Mr. Jowers, in a 1993 television interview, said that he had hired a Memphis police officer to kill Dr. King from the bushes behind his restaurant. Mr. Jowers said he had been paid to do so by a Memphis grocery store owner with Mafia connections.

In an unlikely alliance, the King family was represented in the case by William Pepper, who had been Mr. Ray’s lawyer. The King family maintains that Mr. Pepper’s version of the assassination is the one that gets at the real truth behind Dr. King’s death, not the official version with Mr. Ray as the gunman.

Mr. Pepper said federal, state and Memphis governmental agencies, as well as the news media conspired in the assassination.

Mr. Jowers’s lawyer, Lewis Garrison, had said since the trial began that he agreed with 80 percent of Mr. Pepper’s conspiracy theories and disagreed only on the extent of his client’s involvement. In his closing argument today, Mr. Garrison repeated what he had said through the trial that his client participated in the conspiracy but did not know that it was a plot to kill Dr. King.

One juror, David Morphy, said after the trial, ”We all thought it was a cut and dried case with the evidence that Mr. Pepper brought to us, that there were a lot of people involved, everyone from the C.I.A., military involvement, and Jowers was involved.”

John Campbell, an assistant district attorney in Memphis, who was not part of the civil proceedings but was part of the criminal case against Mr. Ray, said, ”I’m not surprised by the verdict. This case overlooked so much contradictory evidence that never was presented, what other option did the jury have but to accept Mr. Pepper’s version?”

And Gerald Posner, whose recent book, ”Killing the Dream” made the case that Mr. Ray was the killer, said, ”It distresses me greatly that the legal system was used in such a callous and farcical manner in Memphis. If the King family wanted a rubber stamp of their own view of the facts, they got it.”

a rare testament of harmony

This is a fascinating story of interracial marriage, institutional racism, blended families, and mixed race ideology.  I am inspired by the courage of conviction this woman maintained in the face of so much opposition.  Oh! And… um…. excuse me South Carolina… 1998!?!?  Yes, Michigan!

How one woman overcame the racial barriers that divide us

By DAVID LAUDERDALE

Laura Markovich came to Beaufort County in 1965 because it had one of the few places in the South where whites and blacks could gather.

She came from Michigan to attend a religious “summer school” of her Bahá’í World Faith at Penn Center on St. Helena Island.

What unfolded here became a rare testament of harmony in the messy struggle of race relations in America.

At the secluded Penn Center, on sandy soil where the first school for freed slaves was erected in 1862, the young white widow met a tall and striking black widower.

On the surface, the only thing they had in common were children underfoot. Laura had four children, all white, and Elting B. Smalls Sr. of St. Helena had six children, all black.

Three years later, they were married. They lived in the Tom Fripp community on St. Helena and together had four more children.

Laura and Elting Smalls, center, on St. Helena Island with two of her daughters, one of their sons, and two family friends.

It was a life so odd for that era in the Deep South that it demanded hard-to-reach courage, resolve and unity.

Those characteristics — and Laura Smalls’ devotion to her faith, early childhood education and family — were cited Tuesday when a standing-room-only crowd gathered back at that same Penn Center for her funeral. She died Feb. 27 at age 79.

Her children composed a eulogy that makes it sound like they were raised in the world of Ozzie and Harriet:

“Her greatest loves were arts and crafts, playing and teaching children, talking to everyone and anyone, and dancing. You can see this evidenced through her children’s passions….Can’t you yet see her sweet smile?”

‘WEDDED WIFE’

That smile was a triumph of the spirit over harrowing details.

To set the stage, their marriage took place days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and America’s streets erupted into racial violence. King himself had gathered his troops for retreats at the Penn Center for the same reason the Bahá’ís did. They believed in unity, and this was one place they could find it. Just months before he died, King stood at Penn Center to ring home a point to the antsy civil rights activists: “So I say to you tonight that I have taken a vow. I, Martin Luther King, take thee, nonviolence, to be my wedded wife.”

For Elting Smalls to take Laura Markovich to be his wedded wife was not much easier.

Her faith required written permission from her father, and he didn’t want to give it. It took her three years to get it. Her father never did agree to meet Smalls, a Penn School graduate and career civil service worker at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

And then there was the matter of the law. In June 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state laws, like South Carolina’s, that banned interracial marriage. But it took South Carolina until 1998 to officially amend the state Constitution to remove what had been ruled a violation of the 14th Amendment. The Smalls wedding was a quiet affair in the home of one of the bride’s closest friends — in Michigan.

Thus a family of whites from up North and a family of black Sea Island Gullahs became one. They lived united, years before integration was forced on the local schools, much less accepted in the home.

BLACK AND PROUD

Sometimes Laura Smalls would take her troupe of white, black and mixed-race children into the historically white waiting room at the doctor’s office, and sometimes into the historically black waiting room, and always let the odd stares fall where they may.

Family members say the white community in town had a stand-offish attitude, but the blacks of St. Helena welcomed them all, as family.

“She didn’t do it to make a statement,” said daughter Lynn Markovich Bryant of Lady’s Island. “She fell in love with Elting and she wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way.”

Bryant gives the world a look at race it rarely sees in her 2002 autobiography, ” ‘I’m Black and I’m Proud,’ Wished the White Girl.”

As a child she was stunned by the ingrained racism she saw in her little classmates. She struggled with white attitudes toward blacks because in her world, there was no racial divide. She chose to attend the predominately black St. Helena Elementary School, where she felt welcomed as a fifth-grader. Today, she has taught there for almost 30 years after finishing second in her class at Beaufort High School, earning a full scholarship to Clemson University, graduating with honors and earning a master’s degree with a 4.0 grade point average.

She sounds like a black person, and she married a black man, joking that she would have had to marry a white for it to have been considered an interracial marriage. Her husband, Wilbert Bryant, teaches at Battery Creek High School.

One day as an adolescent, Lynn Bryant blurted out, “Mama, I hate white people.”

In her book, Bryant writes: “Being a mother to such a multitude of children, this was hardly her first or last problematic situation to resolve. … She ever so warmly and calmly responded as only she could, ‘Well, Lynn don’t you love the Bahá’ís? There are white Bahá’ís.”

EMBRACED

…Smalls was embraced on St. Helena because she was not a white who ignored the natives or said, “My way is better than your way — move over.”

She saw racial progress, her daughter said, but not the level of social interaction that’s necessary for people of different races, cultures and beliefs to quit being so judgmental.

“She taught us that we have more commonality than differences,” Bryant said.

Together, Laura Smalls’ 13 surviving children and stepchildren of all colors wrote: “Our mother did not tell us how to sacrifice and serve others; instead she showed us how to walk the walk.”

SOURCE

remembering king

newfilosofee:think4yourself:julyshewillfly:      King said in an interview that this photograph was taken as he tried to explain to his daughter Yolanda why she could not go to Funtown, a whites-only amusement park in Atlanta. King claims to have been tongue-tied when speaking to her. “One of the most painful experiences I have ever faced was to see her tears when I told her Funtown was closed to colored children, for I realized the first dark cloud of inferiority had floated into her little mental sky.” (TIME)

King said in an interview that this photograph was taken as he tried to explain to his daughter Yolanda why she could not go to Funtown, a whites-only amusement park in Atlanta. King claims to have been tongue-tied when speaking to her. “One of the most painful experiences I have ever faced was to see her tears when I told her Funtown was closed to colored children, for I realized the first dark cloud of inferiority had floated into her little mental sky.” (TIME)

Back on the BusLife photographer Don Cravens documented Rosa Parks’ first ride on the integrated bus system. Of the strike, King wrote, “We came to see that, in the long run, it is more honorable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation.” Time

Back on the Bus
Life photographer Don Cravens documented Rosa Parks’ first ride on the integrated bus system. Of the strike, King wrote, “We came to see that, in the long run, it is more honorable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation.”
Time