Martin Luther King Jr

The March On Washington 1963, Plus 54 Years: Backtracking On Civil Rights And Civil Liberties!

Fifty four years ago, The March on Washington occurred, with the most famous moment being the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivering his “I Have A Dream” speech before a crowd of whites and African Americans estimated at a quarter of a million people.

The march was impetus for the passage in the following two years of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights, with Lyndon B. Johnson picking up where John F. Kennedy left off.

Now, a half century later, the great progress on civil rights and civil liberties has suffered backtracking, partly by the right wing Supreme Court, and partly by the policies of President Donald Trump.

It is very disconcerting and even tormenting that the progress made has been reversed.

But that means the battle to restore and expand what makes America a democracy must not be abandoned because of setbacks, but rather pursued with renewed energy and commitment, in order to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Donald Trump Has No Concern For Human Rights Or Civil Rights On 49th Anniversary Of Martin Luther King Jr Assassination

Donald Trump clearly has no concern for human rights overseas or civil rights at home.

He embraces all the authoritarian dictators in other nations, including Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, and of course, Russia, while showing disrespect for the leaders of Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.

He has nothing to say when his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, moves to undermine reform of police departments in many American cities, to prevent the victimization of racial minorities, and instead claims crime is at an all time high, when it has been rapidly declining for many years.

Trump’s clear racism and white supremacy views are helping to cause growing tension among racial and religious minorities in America.

Decades of civil rights advancements are being summarily revoked, as we move back to the era of America before the civil rights movement made such great progress in the past fifty years.

Instead of uniting Americans, Donald Trump is moving to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, religion, gender and even sexual orientation.

And ironically, today is the 49th anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and one can be assured, that were he alive today, he would be promoting mass marches by Americans to protest the massive reversal of human and civil rights.

Historic Changes In American Currency A Great Movement Forward!

It is very inspiring to see recognition of race and gender on American currency for the first time in modern American history!

It is appropriate that Harriet Tubman be on the front of the $20 bill, with Andrew Jackson moved to the back.

It is also great that Alexander Hamilton remains on the front of the $10 bill, with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, and Sojourner Truth put on the back as a group, to mark their importance in the women suffrage movement.

And the back of the Abraham Lincoln $5 bill will have Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King. Jr on it.

The only truly controversial part is Jackson being switched from front to back on the $20 bill, but realize that Jackson destroyed the National Bank; condemned abolitionists working against slavery and was a slave owner himself; and forced the removal of five native American tribes to Oklahoma, the infamous “Trail of Tears”, which caused the death of more than 10,000.

So he is not being removed, but instead being placed on the back, with Harriet Truman, the heroic former slave who saved hundreds of slaves, being given recognition that is proper.

It is important that we give tribute to more than just white males on our currency, and show our appreciation of the sacrifices of these heroes and heroines!

Israeli Statesman And Humanitarian Shimon Peres Receiving Congressional Gold Medal Today In Capitol Rotunda!

Two days ago, Congress honored the late Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, the late Coretta Scott King, with posthumous gold medals, given to their children.

Today, Israeli statesman and humanitarian Shimon Peres will be honored in the Capitol Rotunda with a Congressional Gold Medal, as he retires from the Israeli Presidency at the age of 90 after more than 50 years of service to the Jewish nation, as Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense, and in other positions.

Peres always promoted peace and rational discussion, rather than war, and he stands out as a true man of principle and decency, and a model for all of us!

What a wonderful occasion to celebrate!

Congressional Gold Medal For Martin Luther King, Jr. And Coretta Scott King Today In Capitol Rotunda!

Today, Congress held a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the Capitol Rotunda.

Congressional Gold Medals were posthumously given to the children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Speaker of the House John Boehner and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both trying to limit the right to vote in GOP state run governments, either by their silence or direct collusion, both looked very awkward as they jointly held hands with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, all of them singing “We Shall Overcome”.

It was an important commemoration, and my older son, David Feinman, was privileged to be one of those who was present for the event, a treasured moment!

Five Years Of President Barack Obama, And Three Years To Go!

Today is Inauguration Day, if an inauguration was to take place, as it did in 2009 and 2013, for President Barack Obama. It is also, this year, the commemoration of the birth of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was actually born on January 15, but whose birthday is celebrated on the third Monday of January every year since 1986.

If Martin Luther King, Jr. were here today at age 85, he would be very proud of the performance of a man who has seen as much racial hatred and venom, if not more totally, than King faced in his short 39 years of life.

Obama has suffered an average of 30 death threats per day, over 10,000 a year, and 50,000 in five years, more than any President in American history, even likely Abraham Lincoln, who suffered the most vicious hate of any other American President.

Obama has been called a Socialist, a Communist, a radical, all terms used against King five decades ago. It was also used against Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. He has been accused of being “unAmerican”, because he has a mission to provide equal access and opportunity, and the protection of human rights of all minority groups, women, immigrants, labor, as well as protect the environment and promote economic and social justice for the vast middle class and the poor.

If Obama were white, he would be attacked by the right wing, but not with the viciousness that he faces because he has an African American appearance, due to the genetics that made him look more black like his Kenyan father, than white, despite his white mother and the greater impact of her and her parents on his upbringing.

Barack Obama has proved to be a man of calmness, coolness, strength, confidence, class, dignity, and he has accomplished a lot more than his critics are willing to give him credit for, since they consider the fact that he breathes to be a fault in itself.

History will look kind on Barack Obama, while acknowledging his mistakes and shortcomings. which every President and every human being possesses.

Obama’s critics will look terrible, horrible, short sighted, hateful, and wrong in the long run of history, and future Americans will be appalled at the racism, nastiness, viciousness, and wishes to harm him, so common among the right wing talk shows on radio, Fox News Channel, conservative organizations, and the Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, an embarrassment to the long and proud history of Republicans in the past, who often were correct and contributory to the nation’s history.

Obama will outdo his critics, and go down as an above average President, maybe even near great, who was a path breaking President who made a dramatic difference in American history for the better!

Pope Francis An Inspiration, But Like Barack Obama, He Will Have Major Critics Who Fear Change And Reform

Pope Francis is a true inspiration to anyone who believes in the true teachings of Jesus Christ, concern for the poor, compassion for the sick, condemnation of materialism, and the understanding that all people, of whatever race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation, deserve equality and justice!

In so many ways, Pope Francis can be compared to Barack Obama, and just like Obama, he will engender hate and condemnation because he fights against prejudice and the evils of wealth, and the selfishness and greed which has arisen yet once again, on the basis of laissez faire capitalism and Social Darwinism, prevalent in the Gilded Age (late 19th century), the age of Imperialism, and resisted by the forces of change and reform in many nations in the 20th century.

But now, those evil forces have reared their ugly head again, and so the battle for progressivism is engaged in a great fight to combat those forces, within the Catholic Church, within organized religion in general, within the capitalistic economy which, in America, has no apparent problem , with the mounting acquisition of wealth by the top one percent, as poverty and the collapse of the middle class continually occur, with no conscience or concern by those who have the stack decked in their favor.

So the right wing forces, that include those who wish death on Barack Obama, will now focus also on the Pope, just as has always happened for those who promote reform and change, including in America, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and also Senator Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We should give thanks for the courage and compassion of our President, and even if we are not Catholic, the Pope, and pray for both men, that they will not fall before any attempted assassination threats of which Obama faces dozens every day!

We live in an age of great hate, and so much of it coming from so called “religious” people, who have no clue as to the true teachings of their faith, and are only out to enrich themselves!

The 15 Greatest Speeches In American History

Trying to come up with a list of great speeches in American history is a difficult assignment, as our Presidents and other public figures have given us great riches in their oratory, but here the author will attempt to give a list of 15 speeches that impacted American history, and have stood the test of time! There is no ranking order possible, so they will be listed chronologically.

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address 1863
Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address 1865
Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Address 1918
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address 1933
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech, State of the Union Address, 1941
John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address 1961
John F. Kennedy’s Berlin Speech 1963
John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Speech 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr’s I Have A Dream Speech 1963
Robert Kennedy’s Speech After Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination 1968
Ronald Reagan Challenger Disaster Speech 1986
Ronald Reagan Berlin Wall Speech 1987
Bill Clinton Oklahoma City Speech 1995
Barack Obama Speech at Democratic National Convention 2004
Barack Obama’s Theodore Roosevelt Speech in Osawatomie, Kansas 2011

Debate and discussion on this is welcome!

The “New” South Vs. The “Old” South

The American South has undergone a lot of change in the past half century since the March On Washington in 1963.

Many Northerners have moved South; many people of African American and Latino heritage have grown up in an environment where segregation and open prejudice is gone: and we have seen Southern Presidents who completely represented a different image of the South.

So we have President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who overcame his past and his heritage, and promoted the Civil Rights Revolution, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

We have Jimmy Carter of Georgia, the first Southerner elected from outside since Zachary Taylor in 1848, representing the “New South” Governors elected in 1970, including Ruben Askew of Florida and Dale Bumpers of Arkansas. Carter promoted advancements in civil rights and human rights, and demonstrated then, and right up to this moment, that he is a very principled, decent man.

And we have Bill Clinton, elected Governor of Arkansas, representing the New South tradition after Dale Bumpers had initiated it in Arkansas, and being a major promoter of civil rights and equality during his Presidency, as much as Johnson and Carter.

And we have John Lewis, the only surviving speaker at the March on Washington, now 73 years old, and carrying on the tradition of his mentor, Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been an exemplary Congressman from Georgia, and truly the conscience of the nation on civil rights!

These four gentlemen, three Presidents and a Congressman, represent the best of the “New South”!

The “Old South” was thought to be overcome, particularly over time with the death of Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and others of their ilk.

But as it turns out, the “Old South” mentality has survived even past these two GOP leaders who promoted segregation and hate, as the 2013 Republican Party, with the evil influence of the Tea Party Movement, is working very hard to back track on racial equality, racial progress, racial justice, and using code language to appeal to the bigots and racists who remain in America, whether in the South or Midwest or Great Plains areas of the nation, and hoping to repeal the progress of the past half century.

They do this without shame or embarrassment, and that is what is most troubling, and they even have their talk show hosts on radio and television and cable, who spew forth hateful and divisive propaganda with no apologies–Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity et al—and make millions on promotion of hate and division, rather than trying to bring us together and move forward!

So the “Old South” is, ironically, surviving in the party of Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and the other principled Republicans of 150 years ago, who fought against the “Old South” and slavery, and would, if they were here today, hold their heads in their hands, and weep over what the Republican Party they loved, has become!

Three August Birth Presidents, And Civil And Human Rights Advocacy!

Here we are, on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in the month of August, and we have the reality of three August Birth Presidents, in the past 50 years occupants of the White House, and all three of them have promoted civil rights and human rights as their ultimate legacy in the Presidency!

Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961; Bill Clinton on August 19, 1946; and Lyndon B. Johnson on August 27, 1908.

Their births span a half century, from the early 20th century to the post war years and the early 1960s.

And all three have a record they can be proud of on civil and human rights, and the two surviving ones will be speaking today, and the older daughter of Lyndon B. Johnson, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, will be speaking in her father’s name, to celebrate the historic event of the March on Washington.

This is a day to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr, but also Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama as well!