A Piece Of Trivia As We Observe 50 Years Since Death Of Martin Luther King, Jr.

While reading about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man some historians correctly call “a new founding father’, I came across this slice of trivia.

On the road in Indianapolis, Robert F. Kennedy, who was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, learned about King’s murder from R.W. Apple Jr. of the New York Times.

But this next line is what I had not known before.

Wearing an overcoat that had belonged to his brother Jack  RFK broke the news to an inner-city crowd.

“What we need in the United States,” he said, “is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness; but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

America’s Original Sin Examined On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I thought this article should be posted today, MLK Day, as it speaks to our history and the turmoil in which we find ourselves. THE LINK WILL WORK AS ONE READ IS FREE EACH MONTH AT FOREIGN AFFAIRS. I have listened to the author Annette Gordon-Reed and find her most grounded in history and also most gifted with the art of communication. Take a few minutes today and reflect on MLK, our history, and the way forward.

As a result, American slavery was tied inexorably to white dominance. Even people of African descent who were freed for one reason or another suffered under the weight of the white supremacy that racially based slavery entrenched in American society. In the few places where free blacks had some form of state citizenship, their rights were circumscribed in ways that emphasized their inferior status—to them and to all observers. State laws in both the so-called Free States and the slave states served as blueprints for a system of white supremacy. Just as blackness was associated with inferiority and a lack of freedom—in some jurisdictions, black skin created the legal presumption of an enslaved status—whiteness was associated with superiority and freedom.

An Answer From 9-Year-Old For The Needless Chaos Caused By Trump Administration.

Izola Ware Curry, Came Within A Sneeze Of Killing Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dead At 98

 

There is much to enjoy over a well-written and engaging obituary.    Such as this one.

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The letter opener Izola Ware Curry used to stab the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. protruded from his chest after the attack. Credit Vernoll Coleman/New York Daily News        

Izola Ware Curry, the mentally ill woman who in 1958 stabbed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a Harlem book signing — an episode that a decade later would become a rhetorical touchstone in the last oration of his life — died on March 7 in Queens. She was 98.

Ms. Curry died in a nursing home, the last stop in the series of institutions that had been her home for more than half a century. Her death, confirmed by the office of the chief medical examiner of New York City, was first reported by The Smoking Gun, the investigative website.

What surprised many observers at the time of the crime was that Ms. Curry herself was black, the daughter of sharecroppers from the rural South. Questions persisted about what could have moved her to attack Dr. King, then a 29-year-old Alabama preacher who had assumed the national stage amid the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56.

The stabbing nearly cost Dr. King his life, requiring hours of delicate surgery to remove Ms. Curry’s blade, a seven-inch ivory-handled steel letter opener, which had lodged near his heart. If he had so much as sneezed, his doctors later told him, he would not have survived.

Dr. King, who said afterward that he bore no animus toward Ms. Curry and did not want charges pressed, memorialized the attack in “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” That speech, delivered in Memphis on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated, endures as one of his most famous.

“The X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery,” Dr. King said in the speech. “And once that’s punctured, you’re drowned in your own blood — that’s the end of you.”

Of all the letters of consolation that poured in to the hospital, he continued, there was one that “I will never forget.”

“Dear Dr. King,” it read. “I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School. While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I’m a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I’m simply writing you to say that I’m so happy that you didn’t sneeze.”

To impassioned applause, Dr. King went on: “And I want to say tonight — I want to say tonight that I, too, am happy that I didn’t sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting in at lunch counters.”

If he had sneezed, he continued, he would not have seen the Freedom Rides of the early ’60s, nor given his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, nor seen the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, nor been involved in the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965.

And so, Dr. King concluded, “I’m so happy that I didn’t sneeze.”

He was shot to death by James Earl Ray in Memphis the next day.

On Eve Of Spring Election Madison Honors Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson Pays Tribute With Call To Vote

There was no way not to feel the tug of history Monday night at the Wisconsin State Capitol.  The broad sweep of history was on display and acted as a backdrop to the political events that are unfolding in the state.  

A large crowd had gathered while gray clouds passed overhead spitting some ice pellets.  In spite of the weather it was clear that those assembled  were in a reflective mood.  While collective bargaining rights and hopes for the spring election on Tuesday were very much a topic of discussion, the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the dreams not yet realized had also settled over the crowd.

There was no way not to feel the religious spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. as the opening music allowed for a spiritual quality to the evening.  More than one person must have experienced goose bumps as the bagpipes played and the crowd sang “Amazing Grace.”  There are times when ‘the moment’ just moves a crowd, and I think that was the case at the Capitol.  I noticed some wet eyes at times in the crowd around me.

The backdrop to the event was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The murder of King took place in Memphis on April 4, 1968.  On the balcony of the  Lorraine Hotel that night was Jesse Jackson.  At the same hour King was killed 43 years ago Jackson stood before those assembled  in Madison and solemnly, but earnestly spoke from the heart.  

“Dr. King is alive because he lives in us,” Jackson told the crowd.

King had been in Memphis to stand with the sanitation workers, and so it was touching to have Jackson bring out two of those workers from 1968, and have them stand alongside him. 

The rich background of history weaved an amazing tapestry on the steps of the Capitol.  I have never seen anything quite like that before at the Statehouse.  The past rose up and spoke to the fight we still need to undertake to complete the vision that King laid out for this nation.

I have watched and heard Jackson many, many times since 1988, but this was the most meaningful.  There was no way to look at Jackson and not see the mental images of the news stories from Memphis.  There was no way to hear Jackson call for a better nation, the need for all citizens to exercise their right to vote,  and the need for racial barriers to be lowered and not hear the voice of King.

This was a special night in Madison.  One I hope that deepens our commitment to the shared values of making this city a better place to live, and our state a more fair place for all our workers.

Massive Rally Monday Night In Madison To Honor Martin Luther King, Jr., Energize For Election Day

This will be intense.  (Someone should alert Governor Walker so he can be out of the statehouse…there may be some tough words that might bother him if he sticks around to hear them.)

One of the men on the Memphis balcony on April 4th, 1968, the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, was Rev. Jesse Jackson.  Monday night Jackson will be in Madison at the Capitol for a massive event to honor King and his legacy, energize the union members in Wisconsin, and drive up the enthusiasm for Election Day on Tuesday.  Though Jackson has been here many times to speak, it will be especially timely and moving to have Jackson in our city at this time.

There is no doubt that King would have championed the workers in Wisconsin and united with them in the struggle we now experience.  There is no doubt King would have strongly encouraged every voter to cast a ballot in the Spring Election on Tuesday.

Those themes will ring out for the thousands that will join together and honor King Monday evening at the Capitol.

There will be eight different marches that will all wind their way to the Capitol Square.

Starting at 4:30, groups will gather at eight separate locations, based on your membership or interest, and a “feeder march” will begin at each location at 4:50, arrive by all eight streets approaching the Capitol for the rally that follows:

  • CWA & Private Sector Workers & Building Trades Feeder March begins at 316 W. Washington, marching to the Capitol up West Washington.
  • Immigrant Rights Feeder March begins at Monona Terrace, marching to the Capitol up MLK.
  • University Students, Staff and Faculty Feeder March begins at Library Mall, marching to the Capitol up State St.
  • Healthcare Feeder March, including healthcare workers, seniors, Badger Care Recipients, and the disabled begins at the Concourse Hotel, 1 W. Dayton St., marching to the Capitol up Wisconsin Ave.
  • Environmental Protections Feeder March begins at James Madison Park on E. Gorham St., marching to the Capitol up N. Hamilton.
  • Public Safety  & Public Workers & Service Cuts Feeder March begins at the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, marching to the Capitol up S. Hamilton. 
  • K-12 Teachers and Students Feeder March begins at the Wisconsin State Dept. of Education, 125 S. Webster St. marching to the Capitol up King St.
  • Anti-Corporate Feeder begins at the parking lot at E. Washington Ave. & Butler Street, marching to the Capitol up E. Washington.
  • Beginning at 5:00 is the “From Memphis to Madison” Rally, featuring performances by Michelle Shocked and Michael Franti, and speakers will include Rev. Jesse Jackson.

    40 Years Ago Tonight…April 4, 1968….Assassination Of Martin Luther King, Jr.