Today Is A Holiday

Today is a holiday because we are celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was not a perfect person, but he was a visionary who did some things that needed to be done–and he did them peacefully.

LiveLeak has posted a transcript of the speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave in Memphis, Tennessee, the day before he was assassinated. My husband and I were in Memphis at that time, and it was a very tense place before and after Dr. King’s assassination.

Here are a few highlights from that speech:

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, “Are you Martin Luther King?”

And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that’s punctured, you drown in your own blood?that’s the end of you.

It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I’ve forgotten what those telegrams said. I’d received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I’ve forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I’ll never forget it. It said simply, “Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School.” She said, “While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am 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.”

And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I 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. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been down in Selma, Alabama, been in Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I’m so happy that I didn’t sneeze.

And they were telling me, now it doesn’t matter now. It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

This is the man that we are celebrating today.

I Guess I Just Don’t Understand

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article about Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. On July 7, the Memphis (Tennessee) City Council voted to exhume his body and move it from the place it has been for the last hundred years. They are moving his wife’s body as well. They also plan to sell the statue of Forrest

The article reports:

The Forrest family has made clear that they are “solidly opposed to digging up the graves and moving them any place.” They are opposed to moving the statue as well.

Some believe the Memphis City Council vote is another example of the anti-Confederacy hysteria that swept parts of the country after a photo surfaced of alleged Charleston gunman Dylann Roof posing with a Confederate flag. But city council member Janis Fullilove asked if the move has something to do with a rumored “$500 million [University of Tennessee] expansion” that would use the land where Forrest is currently buried.

I might believe that the move was about the expansion of the University if the Council planned to keep the statue. The fact that they are thinking of “selling the statue to anyone who wants it.” does make me wonder.

General Forrest was a wealthy businessman who joined the Confederate Army after the war started and became a lieutenant general.

The General and his wife have been dead for more than one hundred years–they are no threat to anyone or anything. The man was defending his home state. I guess I really don’t understand why he and his wife have to be relocated and his statue sold.

Memories Of A Horrible Time

This is a rambling article detailing some of my memories of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. There are no links–it is strictly my memories of the events–as I happened to be in Memphis at the time. Hopefully you will enjoy reading it.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I were temporarily stationed in Memphis at that time and were scheduled to return to his home port in Rhode Island the next day. During the time we were stationed there, I worked as a temporary office employee and made use of the city’s public transportation while my husband drove to the Navy base at Millington every day.

The city had been on edge since February due to a garbage strike and the death of some city employees who were taking a break in a garbage truck when the mechanism engaged.  Martin Luther King, Jr., had visited the city in March, speaking to thousands at Mason Temple.

I was working in downtown Memphis on the day that Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot. Things were tense that day–downtown had been declared ‘off limits’ to military personnel. City buses had been surrounded by crowds and ‘rocked.’  I don’t remember whether or not any buses were tipped over. My husband disobeyed the ‘off limits’ order and came into the city to get me because we were afraid that the bus would not be a safe way to get home.

The night of April 4 was even more tense. I don’t remember whether or not there was a curfew in the city, but I suspect there was. The next day we attended graduation ceremonies for the school my husband had been attending and then headed back to Rhode Island to his next duty station. That weekend we were supposed to visit a classmate of my husband who was part of the Presidential helicopter squadron. Needless to say, when Washington, D. C. had riots, we cancelled those plans.

We had a National Guard escort through Nashville, Tennessee, on the way home. The Guard would allow six or seven cars to go through the city with military vehicles ahead and behind the cars. We had bought a car in Memphis and had Tennessee license plates on the car, so I felt as if we blended in a little better than we might have with Rhode Island plates.

After two days of hard driving, we pulled into my husband’s parents’ house right outside of New York City. The next day we went into New York City and heard a story I have never forgotten.

New York Mayor Lindsay carries in his budget

New York Mayor Lindsay carries in his budget (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During this time, John Lindsay was the Mayor of New York City. I am making no comment regarding the success or failure of his term as Mayor. We went into the city to the recording studio where my husband had worked before joining the Navy and were talking with another employee who was also a pastor in a black church in Harlem. The Pastor told us what had happened in New York City after the shooting of Dr. King. The Pastor explained why New York City had not had the riots that several other American cities had gone through after the news of the assassination broke. When the news of Dr. King’s death came over the wire, Mayor Lindsay immediately called the pastors of the churches in Harlem and asked them to meet him in the street on the edge of Harlem. He went there with his driver, got out his megaphone and said something like ‘If you want to march, I will march with you.’ That march changed the fate of New York City from one of riots to one of relative peace. Leadership matters.

The next day we headed back to our peaceful home in Rhode Island. It was really good to be home.

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Once You Begin To Pay Blackmail It Never Ends

This photo is of the Gibbs family farm house c...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday in Memphis, Tennessee, The Commercial Appeal posted a story on the latest developments in the Pigford Settlement. I have posted a number of articles on the Pigford Settlement in the past, so if you are not familiar with it, use the search feature on this blog.

The article reports:

U.S. Dist. Judge Paul L. Friedman certified a class of plaintiffs aggregated in 23 separate complaints, including one made by the Memphis-based Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Inc., and its president, Thomas Burrell.

Burrell testified against the proposed settlement in a “fairness” hearing on Sept. 1, arguing that potential claimants should be able to access the much more liberal benefits of the earlier, 1999 settlement known as Pigford I. More than $1 billion has been paid out to more than 22,000 claimants in the first settlement.

Bottom line–there are some people in our society who have figured out a way to get money for nothing, and they want more!

Please take the time to read the article, but the part of the article that caught my eye was the comments.

One of the comments:

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH OUR GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM – – – –

The folks who are getting free stuff don’t like the folks who are paying for the free stuff
because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff.

And the folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop.
And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even MORE free stuff on top of the free stuff they’re getting already!

Now…..
The people who are forcing people to PAY for the free stuff have told the
people who are RECEIVING the free stuff that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff are being mean, prejudiced and racist.

So ….
The people who are GETTING the free stuff have been convinced they need to HATE
the people who are PAYING for the free stuff because they are selfish.
And they are promised more free stuff if they will vote for the people who force the people who pay for the free stuff to give them even more free stuff

And – – – – – that’s the Straight stuff!

This comment was posted by someone who calls himself tn_rebel. I think he pretty much sums it up. I am sorry that black farmers were discriminated against–that was wrong–but it does not give the people who were discriminated against an unlimited right to the wallets of people who had nothing to do with the discrimination.

 

 

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