Civil Rights Movement

FINALLY, LYNCHING IS DECLARED A FEDERAL CRIME, AND LEGISLATION NAMED AFTER EMMETT TILL!

The crime of lynching, the hanging and butchering of a human being by a mob, most often utilized against African Americans, and particularly in the Southern States, but sadly against other groups, including Jews, Catholics, and Hispanics, and in other parts of America, has existed since the Reconstruction period after the Civil War.

But finally, Congress has passed Lynching legislation, making it a federal crime punishable by 30 years in prison, and the law is named after Emmett Till, the 14 year old lynched in Mississippi in 1955, for the supposed crime of flirting with a white woman, with his body desecrated, and causing shock around the nation.

The vote in the US Senate was unanimous, and only three Republican Congressmen voted against the legislation.

The white woman who lied about Emmett Till making a pass at her is still alive, and she should face prosecution for what became a heinous crime, perpetrated by her now dead husband and another man, both of whom were found not guilty in a disgraceful mockery of a trial in Mississippi in 1955!

The Emmett Till lynching helped to motivate the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

And there is a museum which commemorates the Lynching issue, located in Montgomery, Alabama, the heart of the “Old South”, named the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement To Mass Incarceration!

Ron DeSantis More Dangerous Than George Wallace Ever Was To Be President

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is more dangerous than George Wallace ever was to be President.

Wallace, Governor of Alabama and the infamous racial white supremacist, became a nightmare to many, as he became a national figure when he tried to prevent integration of the University of Alabama in 1963, and started pursuing the Presidency.

In 1968, Wallace, after competing in Democratic Presidential primaries, ran as the American Independent Party nominee for President, and won 13.5 percent of the national popular vote, and five Southern states and 46 electoral votes.

This occurred during the heights of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Wallace ran again in Democratic Presidential primaries in the spring of 1972, until, sadly, he was struck down by an attempted assassination in Maryland perpetrated by Arthur Bremer on May 15, 1972, discussed in detail in this author’s chapter in his book “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama” (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015, Paperback 2017).

Wallace would be paralyzed for the rest of his life, but went on to be Alabama Governor again in the 1980s, and with a different tone, including apologizing for hie hateful behavior, and asking forgiveness from civil rights leaders. He had multiple surgeries to relieve his pain and suffering, and lived on for 26 years until his death in 1998 at age 79.

As horrible as Wallace was, he represented a state that was much less significant than Florida, in population and economic and social influence. And regarding a multitude of matters, Wallace was not promoting all kinds of other limitations as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is now doing, as he plans to seek the Presidency, and is appealing to the Extreme Right of his party, and seen by many as the inheritor of the MAGA (Make America Great Again) Donald Trump followers.

Wallace, despite his being a threat, was clearly never going to be President, but Ron DeSantis IS a real threat, representing the third largest state, and has a clear opportunity and possibility, to go all the way to the White House!

Texas Has Become The Pariah On So Many Issues!

The state of Texas has become a pariah on so many issues.

Its decision to ban all abortions after six weeks, and allow citizens to sue and win a bounty of $10,000 against anyone who helps a woman gain an abortion is outrageous!

Its decision to create the most stringent limitations on voting rights, designed to prevent people of color, the young, the disabled, and urban centers from access to voting with reasonable rules is also outrageous!

Its plans to gerrymander the state in such a way as to make fair elections impossible in the future is also outrageous!

Its refusal to allow masking to be required to protect children and staff in public schools is also outrageous!

Its allowance for open carry of firearms is a danger to everyone, and mass killings will increase, and is also outrageous.

The state has right wing elements that have spoken about secession and treason, and is very willing to do everything possible to promote white supremacy in a state that is more than ever a state in which people of color, particularly Hispanic and Latino, but also Asian American and African American, are being treated in a discriminatory manner!

Texas was one of the most horrific racist states before the Civil Rights Movement, and now it is reverting to extremism that is shocking and detrimental to the people of the second largest populated state, and the courts seem unwilling to do anything about it!

Texas should face boycotts, court cases, and other moves to hold the right wing extremist legislature and Governor Greg Abbott to accountability, as this is not a situation that can be overlooked, as the danger is that this cancer might spread to other states!

Remembering Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Lyndon B. Johnson, WEB DuBois,19th Amendment Anniversaries In Time Of Turmoil

Late August is a time to remember the contributions of three political leaders who were true statesmen, one civil rights leader and educator, as well as the celebration of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts died on August 25, 2009; Senator John McCain of Arizona died on August 25, 2018; President Lyndon B. Johnson was born on August 27, 1908; WEB DuBois died on August 27, 1963; and the 19th Amendment (Women Suffrage) was ratified and declared in effect on August 26, 1920.

These four individuals had a dramatic effect on American history, and the woman suffrage amendment has transformed American history as well.

Ted Kennedy is one of the greatest US Senators of all time, with his 47 plus years of service on all kinds of crucial issues.

John McCain is one of the heroic Senators, who also sacrificed years of torture and imprisonment in Vietnam, and was the true conscience of the Republican Party.

Lyndon B. Johnson promoted the greatest series of domestic reforms (“The Great Society”) since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, and those reforms still impact America today.

WEB Dubois was the most significant early leader of the Civil Rights Movement before Martin Luther King Jr. and impacted the concept of Black History, and holding America to a higher standard of racial advancement.

The 19th Amendment overcame the long discrimination against women participating in public life, and has had an immeasurable effect on the American promotion of democracy.

Donald Trump: George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, Pat Buchanan On Steroids!

President Donald Trump is a true nightmare, as he has brought to ultimate power the viewpoints and policies of Alabama Governor George Wallace, who ran for President on a third party line in 1968, and won 13 percent of the national popular vote, and 46 electoral votes from five Southern states at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

Donald Trump has also brought to mind the then South Carolina Governor and later US Senator Strom Thurmond, who won four Southern states and 39 electoral votes in 1948, also on an anti civil rights platform.

Donald Trump reminds us also of Pat Buchanan, journalist, commentator, and advisor to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who challenged President George H. W. Bush for renomination in 1992, and weakened his reelection campaign in that election year.

All three men were racists, hatemongers, Fascist oriented, and against civil rights.

Additionally, Buchanan was also a big time antisemite, who actually, indirectly, affected the Presidential Election of 2000. Four thousand Jewish voters in Palm Beach County, Florida, were confused by the so called “butterfly” ballot, and punched the hole for Buchanan, rather than Democratic nominee Al Gore, helping to influence the election result, with George W. Bush being declared the winner of Florida’s electoral vote by a margin of 537 popular votes statewide, and winning the Presidency!

All three of these candidates were obnoxious, disgraceful, and reprehensible, but while they all gained popular support to some extent, none was feared or became a dominant factor in leadership of the national government.

But now, we have a President who represents all of the evil and horrors promoted by Wallace, Thurmond, and Buchanan, but he was able to manipulate votes with Russian interference in 2016. Despite losing the national popular vote by a massive nearly three million to Hillary Clinton, he was able to win three states in popular vote combined of 78,000 (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania) and become President.

He has unleashed one horror and disgraceful action and utterance after another, doing massive damage to American domestic and foreign policy, and attempting to do everything he can to make himself an authoritarian leader on a level unimaginable in American history.

Donald Trump makes George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, and Pat Buchanan look like choir boys by comparison. He raises the historical profile of the President most reviled for his actions and behavior before now—Richard Nixon–to a higher level, with at least Nixon having accomplished some really significant goals that are seen as positive in historical retrospect.

But many of the accomplishments of Nixon are now either gone or being destroyed by this maniac, who if he is somehow reelected by manipulation and fraud, is a clear threat to the Constitution and Bill of Rights!

Death Of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, A True Inspiration For Nearly 60 Years

This blogger and author woke up today and was shocked to discover that Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman since 1987, had passed away at age 80 of pancreatic cancer.

Lewis was a great inspiration to all of us who believe in civil rights and progressive reforms, and he personally paid the price in the early to mid 1960s, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

He was arrested multiple times and bloodied and injured by Ku Klux Klansman all over the South, but he remained committed to nonviolent civil disobedience and basic human rights.

Lewis was the last speaker to survive, among those who spoke at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, and worked closely with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, even though he was just a young man in his mid 20s.

There is a movement on to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama after him, as he was injured on “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, when marching for voting rights at that site.

Pettus was a Confederate Army General in the Civil War, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, and a United States Senator from Alabama. It is time to remove his name from that bridge, and rename it after John Lewis.

Lewis will be remembered in the annals of history as a truly great man, and one of the most outstanding members historically of the House of Representatives.

John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon, Seriously Ill With Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer: Need To Pray For Recovery!

It is a shock to learn that revered Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights Icon, who marched with Martin Luther King Jr in 1965, is seriously ill with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.

Lewis is a true treasure, a giant figure, a model for what every member of Congress should be like in public service.

The fact that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg survived Pancreatic Cancer in 2009, and that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has survived 19 months since Pancreatic Cancer surgery is a sign of the potential for survival, but most people do not last more than a few months, and many celebrities have been taken from us over the years by this cruel disease.

We all need to pray for Lewis, that he will be able to recover and continue his priceless work in the Congress in 2020 and beyond!

The Reality Of Racial, Ethnic And Misogynistic Division On The Anniversary Of Martin Luther King, Jr’s Holiday And 90th Birthday Commemoration

Today is the celebration of the heritage and message of the Reverend Dr. Luther King, Jr, who was assassinated in 1968; had a national holiday established in his honor in 1986; and whose 90th birthday would have been last week on January 15.

King spent his life trying to unite people, and promoted the civil rights movement, but sadly, in the age of Donald Trump, the reality is one of racial, ethnic and misogynistic division, which is daily encouraged by the 45th President, who revels in dividing people, and disrupting society.

It is highly discouraging to see the kind of hatred that includes the murder of black churchgoers in South Carolina; the murder of gay men in Orlando, Florida; the death of a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia at a white supremacist rally; the slaughter of Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue; and the rampant antisemitism, Islamophobia, and misogyny being exposed daily of prominent public figures.

We are more divided now than we have been since the 1960s, and this after an eight year period where many thought there had been great progress in race relations and civil rights, and something must be done to defuse this dangerous situation which now exists in America.

We owe it to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. to do the best we can to bring down the temperature of the stresses and tensions which are destroying all internal civility in America.

50 Years Since MLK Assassination, And In Many Ways, Not Much Progress In Race Relations In America

It has been 50 years since the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

His death ended the most active and accomplished period of the civil rights movement, which occurred during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson.

No one ever came forth with the charisma and following of Dr. King, to succeed him.

As we look back a half century, we can say that the African American community saw great advances in education and attainment of the middle class by a growing percentage of their population.

We also saw political gains by the African American community, including what many thought was the most triumphant moment of all–the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

But looking back now, one can say that the Obama election brought the truth out of the ugly woodwork–that racism is still very much alive and thriving, and not just in the South, but nationwide.

We see young and middle age African American boys and men, in particular, being victimized by police across the nation at alarming rates, and a large percentage who are not killed being subjected to unequal justice and long periods in prison.

The violence in the cities is over the top, and yet nothing has been done to overcome the danger of growing up in an environment where those who just wish to advance themselves out of poverty are often the victims of people of the same color.

The dream of Dr. King that everyone would be judged by the content of their character, rather than their skin color, has not been fulfilled, and we have a long road toward true racial equality in all areas of life, including economic advancement, which was badly damaged by the Great Recession, more for African Americans than for the working class whites, who are still appealed to by right wingers and Donald Trump to see African Americans as the enemy.

New Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Besmirched By Presence Of Donald Trump, And Absence, Therefore, Of John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon

Today, in Jackson, Mississippi, a new Civil Rights Museum opens, to commemorate the sufferings of African Americans in the history of Mississippi discrimination and violence.

Mississippi is the state of the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955; of James Meredith needing National Guard intervention ordered by President John F. Kennedy in 1962-1963 to be able, safely, to attend the University of Mississippi; and of the three civil rights workers (Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney) murdered in 1964 by Ku Klux Klansmen, simply for the act of trying to register black voters. Also, the murder of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963 stands out as a deplorable moment in Mississippi history.

It is the state which has the worst image of all 50 states on racism, bloodshed, and violence in the Civil Rights Era, but also of its members of Congress historically, including Theodore Bilbo, John Stennis, and James Eastland, and Governor Ross Barnett, infamous for racism and advocating prejudice and denial of equal rights to African Americans.

The opening of this new museum is a wonderful event, but is besmirched by the presence of President Donald Trump, who has a long history of promoting discrimination, racism, prejudice, and hatred in his own life experience, and his promotion of setting back civil rights during his Presidency, including his appointment of former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General, and setting back civil rights enforcement as a policy.

Just as Donald Trump is advocating Roy Moore for the Alabama Senate seat, with his long record of racism, along with the record of Moore involved in sexual abuse of young women, including girls under the age of 18, now he is coming to an event which is pure hypocrisy on his part, and only promotes racial division ever more.

Therefore, civil rights icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the major events of the civil rights movement, and is much respected and honored by all decent people, will not be attending the opening of this museum on principle, a regrettable but understandable reaction by this great man.