Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 15, 1929 to April 4, 1968
Our nation will celebrate Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the first convenient Monday that means if his birthday doesn’t fall on a Monday it will be the next Monday. I am so proud that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has a holiday. His holiday is a well deserved holiday as one of those great men who have historically changed America.
Montgomery Bus Boycott
December 5, 1955 was the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott was a social and political protest against racial segregation in Montgomery, Alabama bus system. This was a very important action of Black solidarity the Monday after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Did you know, Rosa Parks history included being told by white bus driver to board at the back then he drove off without letting her through back door. Yes, Rosa Parks had that experience of being treated poorly like others and probably many more experiences that destined her action.
Before the boycott, Blacks were to sit in the back of the bus and had to give up their seat if a white person needed one. Some white drivers mistreated their Black passengers and would short-change them and leave them stranded. Some believe the bus drivers acted this way because of the Brown vs Board of Education leading some to join the White Citizens Council(white supremacists). Another example of concerted racial efforts is the Jim Crow laws, the bus ridership was 75% Black but the bus system did not employ Black drivers.
A federal law suit filed in U. S. District Court ruled that “the enforced segregation of black and white passengers on motor buses operating in the City of Montgomery violates the Constitution and laws of the United States” because the conditions deprived people of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment (Wikipedia). On June 13, 1956, the U. S. District Court ordered Alabama and Montgomery from continuing to operate segregated buses. Of course, the decision was appealed by the state and city and heard in the Supreme Court. On November 13, 1956 the Supreme Court upheld District Court ruling and ordered Alabama and Montgomery to desegregate the bus system. It was not upheld until on December 20, 1956 when federal Marshalls delivered the order to desegregate.
August 29, 1957 Civil Rights Act
After the Civil War Blacks were no longer slaves but citizens and had rights and including the right to vote. There were states particularly in the south that hindered our voting right with poll tax and other pervasive ways. Unfortunately for us, Jim Crow laws as well as violence kept us disenfranchised .
With the above conditions we were shackled as we were slavery. Congress didn’t consider civil rights act legislation until 1957. From 1875 until 1957 there was decades of no civil rights legislation. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was signed by President Eisenhower.
1957 – The Civil Rights Act of 1957 is passed by Congress. It is
the first civil rights legislation since 1875. The bill
establishes a civil rights commission and a civil rights
division in the Justice Department. It also gave the
Justice Department authority to seek injunctions against
voting rights infractions.
President Kennedy in June 1963 proposed legislation saying the United States “will not be fully free until all of its citizens are free.”
After the death of President Kennedy, President Johnson took up the cause of the Civil Rights legislation. “Let this session of Congress be known as the session which did more for civil rights than the last hundred sessions combined,” Johnson said. The passing of this legislation was not an easy feat. There were ‘good ol boys’ in Congress who did not want this legislation passed.
A Virginian segregationist introduced bill to ban employment discrimination against women. Eventually, the bill passed the House by vote of 290 – 130. The bill moved to the U.S. Senate. Where there was great opposition by southern and Border States. They filibustered for 75 days. This was one of longest filibuster in history. Robert Byrd from West Virginia former Ku Klux Klan member spoke for over 14 consecutive hours.
The Senate voted 73-27 in favor of the bill, and Johnson signed it into law on July 2, 1964. “It is an important gain, but I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come,” Johnson, a Democrat, purportedly told an aide later that day in a prediction that would largely come true. –expert from History Channel.
Oct 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017
My First Hero
In my youth, I was consciously aware of the Black and white divide by living in a predominately white middle to low-income neighborhood. Have I been called a “nigger” in this environment? Yes. I have two distinct memories as a child under the age of 8 years old being called “nigger” by little chubby white girl with red hair, Susie. And by the way, she was the same age as me. Just saying!
Moving forward to the civil rights movement, I was a young teenager who didn’t really believe in turning the other cheek but I wasn’t for violence meeting with more violence. My eyes were opened to the country I lived in by Dick Gregory. His cowboy analogy, I cleaned house by. “When mother America forgets ….”, “ … the cowboy always needs an Indian” and “… history repeats itself and 4 lay dead…” Awesome man, comedian, and activist.
ELLA JOSEPHINE BAKER
1903 – Ella Baker is born in Norfolk, Virginia. A civil rights
worker who will direct the New York branch of the NAACP,
Baker will become executive director of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference in the 1960’s during
student integration of lunch counters in the southern
states. She also will play a key role in the formation
of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and its
voter registration drive in Mississippi. She will join
the ancestors on December 13, 1986 in New York City. Strange
but true, she died on her 83rd birthday.
1932 – Richard Claxton Gregory is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
He will be better known as “Dick” Gregory and in the
1960’s will become a comedic pioneer, bringing a new
perspective to comedy and opening many doors for Black
entertainers. Once he achieves success in the
entertainment world, he will shift gears and use his
talents to help causes in which he believes. He will
serve the community for over forty years as a comedian,
civil and human rights activist and health/nutrition
advocate. On October 9, 2000, his friends and
supporters will honor him at a Kennedy Center gala,
showing him their “appreciation for his uncommon
character, unconditional love, and generous service.
Munirah Chronicle is edited by Mr. Rene’ A. Perry
“The TRUTH shall make you free” _______________________________________ Munirah(TM) is a trademark of Information Man. Copyright 1997 – 2016,
All Rights Reserved by the Information Man in association with
The Black Agenda.