Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Dream of Changing the World

“Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the president before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done.” Hillary Clinton

The fact is that President Kennedy nor would President Lyndon Johnson most likely have had any inkling of a “Civil Rights Act” if it were not for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mrs. Clinton: I would like you to know that you are, for the most part, wrong. It took the blood, sweat, tears, and consequently, in the end the life of Martin Luther King to “get it done.” It also took the people who shared in his dream who also gave their blood, sweat, tears, and for some their lives, to “get it done,” to invoke and initiate the needed change. Folks like Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, William Sloane Coffin, Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, George Smith, Bayard Rustin, Medgar Evers, Ruby Bridges, Charles Eddie Moore, Henry Hezekiah Dee, the Little Rock Nine, and so many others. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the people who believed in his message are the heroes, not Lyndon Jonson. It took Martin Luther King’s dream and leadership. Sadly, though, you are right in that it did take a President, because they could no longer ignore the momentum of Dr. King’s dream, to “get it done.”

Mrs. Clinton, in your remark I have a sense of ignorance: In the south, as a road musician, I was introduced in a profound way to racist America. I experienced, to one degree or another, all that has been written about racism and segregation in the South. I don’t know whether I would have had the courage, and to have been willing to take the real risk of losing my life, as did these truly brave Americans. In the deep south, others who had more experience, cautioned me not to reveal the fact that I was a northerner. After only a few weeks, I clearly understood their message. I became a very good listener, and learned to get by without using my northern accent. To my chagrin, all of my northern orientated pre-conceived perceptions regarding blacks, and the crusade of Dr. Martin Luther King, quickly dissipated. It was a humbling experience.

As a result of my experience, I have nothing but the highest respect and admiration for all those who persisted in bringing about a greater equality for us all. They are the true heroes.

The era of slavery and its aftermath to the fruition of the “Civil Rights Act” was a “Dark Night of the Soul” for America. As human beings we should not of had to have such a thing as a “Civil Rights Act.”