Although the “I have a dream” and the “content of their character” bits tend to get top billing in these remembrances, the event was called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom — and it’s worth noting that the word “jobs” comes before “freedom.” Martin Luther King, Jr., the NAACP, and the march’s organizers were calling for some very specific economic policies they thought would improve the material well-being of black folks in America.
Well, according to a report released by the Census Bureau on the eve of the march’s anniversary, the median income of blacks has nearly doubled, the poverty rate has fallen by 14 percent. Twenty-six percent of blacks had high school diplomas in 1964; 85 percent did in 2012. And over that span, the number of black folks who completed four years of college jumped from 4 percent to 21 percent.
But despite those dramatic gains, the economic picture over the last 50 years for blacks has been a mixed bag: incontrovertible, substantial progress — a lot of it due in part to policies the march helped enshrine — while some troubling disparities remain stubbornly in place.
Here’s some of what the original marchers called for, and here’s what happened since then.
Mark’s article is highly instructive, please click out since there are several sublinked reports and articles to explore.
Over at Newsbusters the other day they got upset that Mark Potok pointed out that it wasn’t likely that the bombers were radical right extremists because the Marathon bombers didn’t target blacks, Jews, or gays. They are upset even though Mark got it exactly right. Indeed, the last failed attempt to bomb a large public gathering in the US targeted blacks at a Martin Luther King March in Spokane.
The wingnuts on the right continually try to portray the left as soft on terror because the leaders on the left are adult and don’t make sweeping claims about terror and terrorists. Instead they point to specific hate leaders, individuals, and groups, rather than whole segments of population, ethnicities, or religions - a policy that’s good to follow if you want to combat hate and terrorists effectively instead of strutting and blustering about it.
With the news that the Boston Marathon bombers may have Chechnyan roots, attention is turning to the threat of “self-radicalized” Muslims in the United States. In the fall of 2011, the Intelligence Report ran a cover story and several sidebars on that phenomenon that may be useful to readers.
Our lead story explored the changing nature of the jihadist threat as extremists living in the country have become at least as dangerous as operatives from abroad. We also published a timeline of 30 attacks by homegrown jihadists since 9/11 and profiles of 10 extremists. I also wrote an accompanying editorial.
More: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King would be spinning in his grave if he knew how he was being exploited by the bigots, Jew-haters, racists, demagogues he fought so hard against. If only those who so egregiously use him would heed his words and wisdom.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was an opponent of the jihad against Israel. While there are some disputed quotations circulating in this connection, here are some key and authenticated MLK quotes. Take them to heart today:
(a bunch of fake quotes)
Well, as it so happens, I own the website where Pamela (& her sidekick Poison Shorty) claims these quotes are “authenticated.” In 1999, back in the dawn of Teh Interwebz, “Letter to an Anti Zionist Friend” was circulating on Usenet and in SPAM emails. One of the very first debunkings done by CAMERA (before they turned into a propaganda spam machine) was proving that this “Letter” was never published in the Saturday Review, and never written by MLK.
Anyone clicking from Pam’s site, or Jihadwatch, or anywhere, will find this message:
It has been brought to our attention that this page is being linked by some questionable sites. Therefore we have removed all quotes and reminiscences that we have not been able to personally verify.
Jewish-History.com has attempted to track down the source of this Internet hoax and find out who could have composed this bogus letter, without success. There is no evidence that Dr. King uttered these words at a speech given at Harvard, and whether or not he may have said something like this to someone in a private conversation is impossible to verify.
The hoax appears to have originated with either Marc Schneier or Michael Salberg in spite of vehement denials from CAMERA and the ADL. Somebody obviously thought it would be cool to make up a bogus MLK quote in support of a cause that he may or may not have endorsed.
We warn everyone to be wary of “quotes” from famous people that they may encounter on the Internet.
Unfortunately, the communication from CAMERA, which we received in 1999, also contained a number of unverified, bogus quotes attempting desperately to link MLK to the cause of Israel. Look, we know that he had a bunch of Jewish friends, but he had his own battles. He did not have the time or the energy to embrace someone else’s agenda. We have removed those quotes from our website and apologize to anyone who may have been misled by them.
I am deeply sorry that I did not check my referer logs earlier, or correct the letter that I received 14 years ago from CAMERA which debunked the “Letter” but then included a bunch of other fake quotes.
UPDATE: Pamela is no longer linking to Jewish-history.com, but has replaced Authenticated MLK Quotes with three links to three different sites (all of which rely on the same sources which I removed from Jewish-history.com as unreliable). Musta done a bunch of frantic drunk Googling.
A former leader of one of the country’s most prominent liberal Protestant churches told residents on Sunday, weeks after one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words “are needed now more than ever before.”
The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr., the first black minister to lead New York’s historic Riverside Church, spoke Sunday night at the Newtown Congregational Church in a service honoring King and the school shooting victims.
About 300 residents filled the church for the community worship service, called “For the Healing of Newtown.” Forbes delivered a sermon calling for a transformation and healing of communities.
“The saddest face I ever saw on Martin Luther King was at the funeral of the four little girls slain in Birmingham, Alabama,” he said. “We ask today, as King did then, `Lord, what can come out of this that will honor those lost in this tragedy?”’
Twenty Sandy Hook Elementary School first-graders and six school officials died in the Newtown shooting last month. The gunman who killed them had killed his mother at home before going to the school and later committed suicide.
Harvey Shapiro would have likely preferred to be remembered as a poet, and perhaps also as one of the better editors of the New York Times Book Review. But his Jan. 7 Times obituary plays up another aspect of his life of which I was previously unaware. It was Shapiro, then an editor at the New York Times Magazine, who assigned Martin Luther King Jr. to write his 1963 “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” which today ranks as one of the preeminent literary-historical documents of the 20th century.
The assignment would have assured Shapiro a place in magazine-editor heaven if the Times Magazine had published the result. But it didn’t. Rejected, the letter ended up (under the headline, “The Negro Is Your Brother”) in the Atlantic. The Times Magazine’s role here ranks well above William Styron’s rejection, as a reader at McGraw-Hill, of Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki as one of the great busted plays in American publishing.
US presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which is a problem for some voters. But, says Andrew Preston, so was the Catholicism of John F. Kennedy and it did not stop him winning the 1960 election.
The Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been beset by problems, but few are as intractable as his religion. Romney is a Mormon, more properly a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that makes many Americans uncomfortable. With a stricken economy, high unemployment, and an unpopular health-care reform plan bedevilling President Obama, Romney should be coasting to victory. But questions about him persist, even among Republicans, and the election will likely be a close one. In such a tight contest, doubts about Romney’s religion could even cost him the White House.
Conventional wisdom about US politics holds that religion is a conservative issue, while liberals are more secular. Of course, many liberal Democrats are religious. Historically, moreover, Democrats, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, have been among the more religious presidents, while many of the most liberal reformers, such as the civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., grounded their politics in faith. But the party has changed and few Democrats today espouse faith.
Ever since Ronald Reagan officiated over the marriage of the Republican Party to the Religious Right during the 1980 election, faith-based politics has been the Republicans’ strong suit and the Democrats’ Achilles heel. Democrats hold views on abortion, stem-cell research and the teaching of evolution that Christian conservatives find anathema. Pollsters have found that the most accurate predictor of voting patterns is not income, profession or gender, but religion: the more religiously observant the voter, the more likely he or she is to vote Republican.
This trend shows no sign of slowing down; if anything, it is accelerating. According to a recent Pew poll ‘partisan gaps in religious values have arisen over the past 25 years’. For example, in 2012 92 per cent of Republicans and 77 per cent of Democrats said they believed in God; in 1987, the figures were 91 and 88 per cent respectively. While conservatives have kept alive that old-time religion, liberals have begun to lose the faith.
Mitt Romney’s appearance at the NAACP convention in Houston was the occasion for much media tittering—after all, the candidate’s prior attempts to ingratiate himself with African-Americans had produced some awkward moments. The speech did not disappoint in the awkwardness department — Romney opened with a cringe-worthy line of praise for the convention’s organ music, and the same organ later tried to prematurely usher him off the stage, like a verbose Oscar recipient. All in all, though, it was hard to find the speech amusing, because when it comes down to it, there is something about Mitt Romney’s relationship with African-American voters that is just uniquely depressing.
The story of the Republican Party’s arc on race is well known—from the party of the abolitionists and the Emancipation Proclamation to the party of the “Southern Strategy” and Willie Horton. What helped make Romney’s appearance in Houston so charged is that he himself personally embodies that shift more explicitly than many of his fellow Republicans. His father George retained the progressive outlook on race of the moderate northern Republican—he walked out of the 1964 GOP convention over the rejection of a civil-rights plank and marched in Detroit in support of Martin Luther King Jr.’s marches hundreds of miles to the South. His noble instincts were challenged by the reality of the 1960s—the Detroit riots broke out while he was governor of Michigan, and his subsequent attempt to grapple with black anger, on a quixotic inner-city tour during his ill-fated 1968 presidential campaign, had a pathetic quality to it, captured so well by Ben Wallace-Wells:
Standing in the cold with 2 million others near the Capitol as Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address, I couldn’t help but recall another crowded day 45 years earlier, when I heard Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” oration at the other end of the National Mall, in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
A 19-year-old college student at the time, I was moved by his words but had no idea that his speech would soon rank as one of the greatest oratories in American history. My view of King and his rhetoric would be profoundly affected in unexpected ways by the changes the march had set in motion. I wondered how Obama’s speech might affect the lives of the many young people that I saw in the crowd at the Capitol but appreciated how difficult it is to predict the enduring impact of even the most moving oratory Nonetheless, my study of King, especially since becoming editor of his papers, has convinced me that King’s and Obama’s distinctive oratorical qualities are related in important ways. Indeed, the new president seems to personify King’s dream that his children would live in a nation capable of judging people on the basis of character rather than skin color.
In 1963 King’s dream seemed a fantasy. The continuing reality of racial discrimination and segregation made me dubious about King’s visionary rhetoric, his faith in American ideals, and his mode of charismatic leadership. King critics such as Stokely Carmichael, Bob Moses, and other organizers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had convinced me that black advancement would come not through the guidance of national civil rights leaders such as King but through militant grassroots activism. The landmark civil rights legislation that followed the march failed to transform Mississippi “into an oasis of freedom and justice,” as King had envisioned. During the era of Black Power and the Black Arts Movement, the idea that Americans of all races one day would join hands and sing, “Free at last, free at last,” seemed far-fetched. Malcolm X and the Black Power firebrands pushed King from prominence as they revived an alternative black nationalist oratorical tradition that offered a compelling explanation of the escalating racial violence and police repression of the late 1960s. During the last year of his life, King himself spoke of his dream turning into a nightmare; in his 1967 antiwar speech at New York’s Riverside Church, he labeled the American government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”
As black militancy and white repression spawned ever more deadly violence during the late 1960s and early 1970s, I gradually came to understand the wisdom of King’s message of nonviolence and reconciliation. Although I remained skeptical of the notion that great oratory in itself could change the course of history I began to see that King understood the radical potential of the traditional religious and political ideals that many Americans shared and that his commitment to social justice was at least as firm as that of his black critics. While I regretted that King’s provocative speeches of his last years earned little of the attention lavished on the final passages of his “Dream” oration, I did see that King’s vision of a transformed nation was, for Americans of all races, “deeply rooted in the American dream.
“I have a dream,” declared Martin Luther King, in a speech that has lost none of its power to inspire. And some of that dream has come true. When King spoke in the summer of 1963, America was a nation that denied basic rights to millions of its citizens, simply because their skin was the wrong color. Today racism is no longer embedded in law. And while it has by no means been banished from the hearts of men, its grip is far weaker than once it was.
To say the obvious: to look at a photo of President Obama with his cabinet is to see a degree of racial openness — and openness to women, too — that would have seemed almost inconceivable in 1963. When we observe Martin Luther King’s Birthday, we have something very real to celebrate: the civil rights movement was one of America’s finest hours, and it made us a nation truer to its own ideals.
Yet if King could see America now, I believe that he would be disappointed, and feel that his work was nowhere near done. He dreamed of a nation in which his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But what we actually became is a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin — or at least not as much as in the past — but by the size of their paychecks.
Thousands of people spanning all ages and races honored the legacy of the nation’s foremost civil rights leader during Sunday’s formal dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.
Aretha Franklin, poet Nikki Giovanni and President Barack Obama were among those who attended the more than four-hour ceremony. King’s children and other leaders spoke before the president, invoking his “I Have a Dream” speech and calling upon a new generation to help fully realize that dream.
Some in the crowd arrived as early as 5 a.m., and the crowd eventually overflowed beyond the park gates. Some women wore large Sunday hats for the occasion.
The president arrived late morning with his wife and two daughters, which drew loud cheers from those watching his entrance on large screens.
Cherry Hawkins traveled from Houston with her cousins and arrived at 6 a.m. to be part of the dedication. They postponed earlier plans to attend the August dedication, which was postponed because of Hurricane Irene.