Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Jr


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Silence implies consent” is a concept of social interaction, which states roughly that people tend to assume lack of response to an action as tacit approval of that action.”

‘All too often we complain about injustice and prejudice; we watch as the rights, history, and culture of others are trampled on or erased (take a look around, it’s happening now). Yet we say nothing and we do nothing. Sometimes, we refrain from speaking out because we assume that “speaking out” means protesting with signs or acts of civil disobedience. Speaking out can manifest in this way, but it can also happen through writing, through the way you live your life (being consistent in your values and actions), and by pointing out injustice in everyday situations when you see it.

Writing about the civil-rights era, King said, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” I can’t help but think that his words are applicable today in our current political climate—a climate in which civility has been replaced by anger, hate, and atrocious deeds. In order to change the tone of the rhetoric of hate, we must speak up. We must stand up against injustice and for those who are being treated unjustly.

King urged us to feel passionate about freedom and justice, even calling upon us to give our life for what we believe in—much like he did. He said, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” Whether he met this in actuality does not matter to me. What he was saying is that when we feel strongly, we must act in the ways that we know how. We must use our strengths as individuals to make society better and we must act as the conscience of our nation.

Whenever I feel strongly about an issue but fear the idea of speaking out, I think of the words of King. He said “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” These are simple words, but they are wonderfully profound in their message to all of us.’ (Martin Luther King Jr. and Silence – written by Marybeth Gasman)

Think about this post as events continue to occur on both a domestic & global scale. What will your position be? Will you continue to remain silent? “‪‎We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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Black Republicans

So as the election results poured in Tuesday night, many people, especially those of color, were disappointed with the outcome.  In the course of one evening, the Republicans seized control of the United States government by now having a majority in both the House (House of Representatives) and Senate.  For the next two (2) years of Barack Obama’s tenure as president, there’s sure to be “bipartisan” gridlock on Capitol Hill.  Up and down my News Feed on Facebook conversations reached a crescendo with complaints about the lack of voter turnout, individuals caring more about standing in line for the latest iPhone or Jordan sneaker release as opposed to performing their civic duty, and people flatly saying that didn’t vote nor did they care.  What was more revealing and not a surprise was the number of people who were against Republican leadership.  Which then lead to this question being raised on Facebook and other social media outlets, why were African Americans Democrats?

The two (2) party political system has an interesting history, and for African Americans the account is revealing.  For many of us, similar to that of religion, your party affiliation was made for you by your parents.  Once you were eligible to apply for a Voters Registration Card, you were told that you were associated with ____ party.  Perhaps as you’ve gotten older, taken on responsibilities and discovered that the democratic process means more in your everyday life, you may have examined further, switched parties or disassociated yourself with the process entirely.  African Americans are for the most part Democrats.  A person of color dares not say they’re Republican for risk of ridicule; ask Stacy Dash.  The Republican Party was founded to end slavery and Blacks mostly voted Republican from after the Civil War and through the early part of the 20th century.  This is not surprising considering Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president and is applauded for signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.  From 1869 to 1935, every African American elected to Congress was a Republican.  The “Left” appears to spin history in their favor in the present and neglects to mention that it was the Democratic Party who founded the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1865.  Moreover, it was the Democrats who instated Jim Crow laws and poll taxes. Initially, the Democratic Party did not welcome Blacks, and it wasn’t until 1924 that African Americans were permitted to attend Democratic conventions in any bureaucrat capacity.  The tide began changing as early as the 1913 to 1921 presidency of Woodrow Wilson, and swung again in 1932 with the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  In 1936, FDR received 71% of the Black vote and had comparable numbers in the next two (2) elections.  However, the number of Black Americans who thought themselves Republicans were virtually equal.  It wasn’t until the election of Harry Truman (a Klansman who opposed Civil Rights legislation) in 1948, where he acquired 77% of the Black vote that a majority of Blacks reported themselves as Democrats.

Issues that contributed to the demise of the Republican Party amongst Black voters were the implementation of the Southern Strategy by Richard Nixon (though he was a supporter of Civil Rights) and the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1965 Voting Rights Act.   The Southern strategy was Nixon’s campaign strategy to win the southern United States for the Republican Party during the 1968 and 1972 elections by catering to the residents’ primary concern: Desegregation.  In his 1960 loss to John F. Kennedy, Nixon was able to get 32% of the Black vote.  Lee Atwater, a political strategist for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, described the Southern Strategy in a 1981 interview:“”You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.””   Michael Steele, former head of the RNC (Republican National Committee), on the Southern strategy: “For the last 40-plus years we had a “Southern strategy” that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South. Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, “Bubba” went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton.” 

According to a report from the JFK Library, “By the 1960 presidential campaign, Civil Rights had emerged as a crucial issue.  Just a few weeks before the election, Martin Luther King Jr., was arrested while leading a protest in Atlanta, Georgia.  John Kennedy phoned Coretta Scott King to express his concern while a call from Robert Kennedy to the judge helped secure her husband’s safe release.  The Kennedy’s personal intervention led to a public endorsement by Martin Luther King, Sr., the influential father of the civil rights leader.”  After King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, then President Lyndon B. Johnson (who opposed Civil Rights legislation in the decades leading up to his presidency) pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (outlawing segregation in public places) which his opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater opposed.  This took place after the assassination of Kennedy in November of 1963.  As a result, LBJ received 94% of the Black vote that year. The JFK Library states, “Before becoming vice president, Johnson had served more than two decades in Congress as a congressman and senator from Texas.  He used his connections with southern White congressional leaders and the outpouring of emotion after the president’s assassination to passs the Civil Rights Act as a away to honor President Kennedy.” What’s lost in history is that the crux of the bill was drafted and pushed through Congress by Republican Senator Everett Dirksen.  The following year, Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act and since that time, no Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 15% of the Black vote.  You then include the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, the party’s stances on abortion, Social Security, the war on drugs, etc., and you can see why people of color are against them as a party.  As I’ve mentioned before, party affiliation isn’t as important as the financial backing you have when trying to implement and influence change.  The power of currency is all that matters in these times of high stakes poker involving war, drugs, natural resources and commodities.  The Bill of Rights was created to advise citizens of their entitlements under the law and the obligation of elected officials to uphold them; the public shouldn’t be exploited as a result no matter the party affiliation.  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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A Streetcar Named Desire – A Lifetime of Firsts

From the time we burst from our mother’s womb, gasping for air and seeking comfort, until the moment our souls leave the flesh of this physical realm, we will have the propensity to experience many firsts. Our first steps, words, kiss, and other monumental occasions are recorded by scribe or retained to memory in the annals of history as a reminder of those achievements. And in a world where historic first are applauded with adulation, some of the seemingly minor accomplishments are overlooked in what develops the persona of the individual you will become.


Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928, would be become the next pioneer to blaze a trail of first steps which would endear her to her peers and make her highly regarded to the world at large. Her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen (17), and brought her international acclaim and recognition. With the publication of that manuscript, she became respected as a spokesperson of Black people and women, with her work being reflective as a shield of Black culture. Her accruement as a renaissance woman would allow her to travel the globe, and while living in Accra, Ghana in the early 1960s, she became close friends with Malcolm X. Upon her return to the United States in 1965, she helped him to build a new civil rights organization called the Organization of Afro-American Unity. The former Mr. Little would be assassinated soon after its formation, but her efforts in the Civil Rights movement did not stop there. In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Ms. Angelou to organize a march, but that too would be disrupted by his assassination on her 40th birthday, April 4th.


In a lifetime of firsts, Angelou would be the first Black woman to write a screenplay with the 1972 release of Georgia, Georgia, which was produced by a Swedish film company and filmed in Sweden. A lifetime of achievements and honors would follow and lay in her path. A supporting role in Alex Haley’s mini-series Roots (1977), being a writer and composer for Roberta Flack, to in 1993, reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton; the first poet to make an augural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. During her lifespan she had gone from front woman/business manager of prostitutes, being a prostitute herself, restaurant cook, calypso dancer and unheralded writer to an icon that mentored the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.


What’s most impressive about her story is that before graduating from high school, she worked as the first Black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco, California. This may have been an additional catalyst that fueled her desire work hard and enticed her hunger for more. Her mother, Vivian Baxter, encouraged her to pursue the position in the 1940s. In a “Super Soul Sunday” interview with Winfrey in May 2013, her mom told her that if she wanted her “dream job,” she would need to arrive earlier than the secretaries and work harder than anyone else.  Angelou advised that she wanted to be employed by the company desperately, stating: “I loved the uniforms. I saw women on the street cars with their little changer belts… And they had caps with bills on them and they had form-fitting jackets,” Angelou recalled. She would write about her streetcar experiences in the last of her autobiographies titled, Mom & Me & Mom. There’s a memorial to Maya Angelou at the San Francisco Railway Museum. Earlier this year, she received a lifetime-achievement award from the Washington, D.C. – based Conference of Minority Transportation Officials during a program celebrating “Women Who Move the Nation.” And much like the streetcars that run on the steel rails on the streets of San Francisco, there were no slots that held Angelou from overcoming the obstacles that lay in her path. There were no underground cables to hinder her ability to spread her infinite knowledge, wisdom and charity around the world. The electricity that flowed within her propelled her to the highest of heights after enduring the lows of disenfranchisement, disappointment, divorce and death. Let Dr. Angelou be a lesson that despite whatever you believe is obstructing you from the happiness, success and abundance you wish to attain, perseverance and being willing to take the first step is necessary to affect that change.  “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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