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Happy MLK Day

chicago dyke's picture

Happy Martin Luther King day, peeps! Share your favorite quotes and stories about Black America* here. I'll go first, and this one is for you OFB folks who think it's ok to have homophobes on stage:

"There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity.... We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves."

When you leave me behind, that's not "unity." More here.

*And of course I don't mean to exclude anyone; I recognize that King fought for the rights of all Americans of any 'color.' I honor those who stood with him, and still fight for his dream, no matter who they are. I hope I'm not being too clever, but I meant "Black America" to include you too, paleface.

For as I'm fond of saying in the Age of Lawless Republican Authoritarianism, "we're all niggers now."

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

My parents considered MLK a hero, the Civil Rights struggle to be important, and progress long overdue.

Also, mainstream publications like Life didn't flinch from showing urban despair.

We lived in lily-white Northern suburbs where economics and quite possibly other insidious obstacles meant we didn't come face to face with many people who didn't look like us.

So was it "easy" to have that perspective from the coddled 'burbs? Sure. But I'm glad my head wasn't filled with hate and that people in the bickering 60s, most especially Dr. King, took a stand.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

for thanks to the esteemed Southern Beale we are going to learn History, as presented by this week's Tennessee GOP newsletter:

It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860's, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950's and 1960's.


Today, Democrats, in pursuit of their socialist agenda, are fighting to keep blacks poor, angry and voting for Democrats. Examples of how egregiously Democrats act to keep blacks in poverty are numerous.

Yes, they explicitly chose the anniversary of Dr. King's birth to spew forth the proposition that there is NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL between the political parties as constituted in the 1860s and those of the 1960s and those of 2008.

No mention that those "Democrats" who "fought to prevent passage of civil rights laws" were:

--in 1860 about to become "Confederates"

--in 1960 were "Dixiecrats", still using the name because their constituents still believed Republican=Abraham Lincoln=Satan (speaking of people who have trouble "getting over things"!)

--in the 1970s DID start to Get Over That Lincoln Thing and became first "Reagan Democrats" and then just plain Republicans

--which is where we stand today. Segretationists, White Power advocates, bigots of all sorts, and racists, "opponents of civil rights" for black people, brown people, immigrants, gays, women, the working class, members of any religion other than Evangelical Christianism--they are today Republicans.

If you've got time give a click on the link above and read Southern Beale's discourse on this matter. Some good licks there about the question of why we--Democrats, Progressives, DHF's in general--are somehow the only ones being asked to practice this "unity" shit.

We might be more inclined to "reach across the aisle" in harmony and hope of imminent ponies if we saw a few hands reaching out from their side, so that the hands would reach in the middle. The way it is we have to reach out so far that in order to touch them we have to get up from our seats and walk over to theirs.

Gee, you don't suppose that's what they intended all along....? Naw. Perish the thought. Fetch me a fainting couch, wouldja hon?

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

by my folks that "there are two kinds of people, Decent people, and the Uncivilized." we had plenty of Decent white neighbors and friends, but there were still wide patches lacking in the graces of a modern civilization. it's better now. not because so many black folks have moved to that part of rural america, but because of lots of immigrant labor that has put down roots in the community. that and the culture shift in which kids see sexy brown and black people on the teevee all day.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation."

Is that really how we want to get to negotiation? Shouldn't we do it by looking within, and recalling how abrasively partisan we've been, with our shrill demands for equality and justice?

Chicago Dyke, thanks for the kind words in response to a long comment I made on a FISA post a few days ago.

As a kid, I learned that MLK was a "black" leader. Only as an adult did I find out about his criticisms of racism, materialism and militarism.


"The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. ....
"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered. ....
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. (MLK, April 4, 1967)


There's a audio version of the speech on youtube here:

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i learned a long time ago that one way the establishment has kept its boot on the neck of true freedom for all, is to do what they do with king's message. that is, render it first to a "black" message (sublm: white folks don't need to listen), and then when that doesn't work, render it to "and he only wanted some blacks to vote" (subl: but not very often, or at any public expense, and quietly for white candidates), and if that doesn't work, try yet another tack and emphasize his message of "peaceful churchiness that was always Civil and God Fearing. condemn all black and brown people who shout, or demand things without first praising White Jeebus.

these narratives are all ways of undercutting king and his work while seeming to honor him. it insults us, to think we don't look at all of his work. of course, for many that's true- they go with the "post office" King and skip past his anti-materialism (darn Christian of him, if i may say) and his anti-imperialism (even to solidarity with lil yellow commies and such).

but i don't forget. they had to kill him, if he'd kept going we'd have had things like equality, and end to racism, civil rights for women and gays and the undocumented, peace....

that last one is a guarantee of death, in our political arena.