Because I remember learning about Freedom Riders being killed, endless lynchings, dogs and hoses being set on children, and four little girls who died in a church bombing.
Oh, but I guess all that matters when you’re trying to use MLK to silence people talking about resistance now is to talk about this idealized image of how shit got done in the past.
The Civil Rights Movement wasn’t peaceful. It wasn’t nonviolent. Not for the people trying to fight for a right to be recognized as humans worthy of empathy and freedom.
The people fighting for their rights were subject to violence all the time and threatened.
When you talk about how peaceful that movement was as a way to silence or shame people now for anger at current injustice, you’re saying that your grasp of history probably begins and ends at “I have a dream”.
USA. California. Oakland. 1971. Mojo mows the lawn as Black Panthers (and Mojo’s dog) stand in the yard of the Black Panther National Headquarters. 1048 Peralta Street, West Oakland.
The Black Panther Party was one of the most influential responses to racism and inequality in American history. The Panthers advocated armed self-defence to counter police brutality, and initiated a program of patrolling the police with guns and law books. Their enduring legacy is their programs, like Free Breakfast for Children, which helped to inspire a national movement of community organising for economic independence, education, nutrition, and health care. Seale believed that “no kid should be running around hungry in school,” a simple credo that lead FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to call the breakfast program, “the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralise the BPP and destroy what it stands for.”
this day in 1929, the future civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Born as Martin King, he and his father
changed their names in honour of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. King
entered the ministry in his twenties and first came to national
attention for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. This
event is considered by many to be the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement,
which saw a national struggle to end discrimination against African-Americans. King was one of many leaders, but became the face of
the movement for his nonviolent tactics and powerful oratory. In 1963,
during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of
the movement - the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating
racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating
peace, especially during the Vietnam War. On April 4th 1968, King was
shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. He lived to see
the legislative achievements of the movement - the 1964 Civil Rights
Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act - but tragically was unable to continue
the push for full equality. The movement King set in motion continues to
be fought today; the United States is still not a completely equal
society and systemic discrimination persists. However, thanks to Martin
Luther King, America is closer to fulfilling King’s dream of a truly
free and equal society. Since 1986, a national Martin Luther King Day is
celebrated on the third Monday in January.
These will forever be my favorite pictures of Gloria Richardson. A literal representation of “boy, bye.”
Born in 1922, Gloria Richardson, became the leader of the Cambridge Movement and fought for racial equality. She took part in the Civil Rights movement and struggled to get fair economic opportunities in Cambridge, Maryland
during the 1960s. Gloria Richardson’s contribution was so essential she was even honored the stage at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!”
- Martin Luther King Jr.,
delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
“This generation is saying if you wear a sheet at night, or a badge in the day, if you put your filthy white hands on our beautiful black skin, we gonna take care of business, period! Period! Period!” Stokely Carmichael, c. 1967
Appalachian “hillbilly revolutionaries” from the Young Patriots Organization team up with members of the Black Panther Party for a “Free the Panthers” event, late 1960s
The Young Patriots were interesting organization if only for the fact that at first glance they seemed so contradictory. Made up mostly of whites from rural Appalachia who used the Confederate flag as one of their emblems, the group fought against racism, police brutality, and housing discrimination; allying with groups like the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords Organization, and the Native American Housing Committee.
USA. California. Oakland. 1971. Black Panther Gloria Abernethy sells papers at the Mayfair supermarket boycott, with Tamara Lacey in the rear.
Mayfair was one of the many companies that would not employ black people (here, as truck drivers).
The boycott closed the store in four days. Abernethy now works for the state of California, and Tamara is a real estate agent.
Photograph: Stephen Shames, courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery