iwriteaboutfeminism:

Protesters join members of the clergy in prayer outside the Ferguson Police Department.

via DeRay McKesson

about 11:00 pm, Monday, September 29th

"

So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X’s message. My father got really angry at me. It wasn’t that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn’t accomplished anything as Dr. King had.

I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his “I have a dream speech.”

Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress. Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished. He gave this great speech. Or some people say, “he marched.” I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”

Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this. If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don’t know what my father was talking about.

But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.

He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.

I’m guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing The Help, may not understand what this was all about. But living in the south (and in parts of the midwest and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.

It wasn’t that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn’t sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.

You really must disabuse yourself of this idea. Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement used to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth’s.

It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them. You all know about lynching. But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.

This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running. It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.

White people also occasionally tried black people, especially black men, for crimes for which they could not conceivably be guilty. With the willing participation of white women, they often accused black men of “assault,” which could be anything from rape to not taking off one’s hat, to “reckless eyeballing.”

This is going to sound awful and perhaps a stain on my late father’s memory, but when I was little, before the civil rights movement, my father taught me many, many humiliating practices in order to prevent the random, terroristic, berserk behavior of white people. The one I remember most is that when walking down the street in New York City side by side, hand in hand with my hero-father, if a white woman approached on the same sidewalk, I was to take off my hat and walk behind my father, because he had been taught in the south that black males for some reason were supposed to walk single file in the presence of any white lady.

This was just one of many humiliating practices we were taught to prevent white people from going berserk.

I remember a huge family reunion one August with my aunts and uncles and cousins gathered around my grandparents’ vast breakfast table laden with food from the farm, and the state troopers drove up to the house with a car full of rifles and shotguns, and everyone went kind of weirdly blank. They put on the masks that black people used back then to not provoke white berserkness. My strong, valiant, self-educated, articulate uncles, whom I adored, became shuffling, Step-N-Fetchits to avoid provoking the white men. Fortunately the troopers were only looking for an escaped convict. Afterward, the women, my aunts, were furious at the humiliating performance of the men, and said so, something that even a child could understand.

This is the climate of fear that Dr. King ended.

If you didn’t get taught such things, let alone experience them, I caution you against invoking the memory of Dr. King as though he belongs exclusively to you and not primarily to African Americans.

The question is, how did Dr. King do this—and of course, he didn’t do it alone.

(Of all the other civil rights leaders who helped Dr. King end this reign of terror, I think the most under appreciated is James Farmer, who founded the Congress of Racial Equality and was a leader of nonviolent resistance, and taught the practices of nonviolent resistance.)

So what did they do?

They told us: Whatever you are most afraid of doing vis-a-vis white people, go do it. Go ahead down to city hall and try to register to vote, even if they say no, even if they take your name down.

Go ahead sit at that lunch counter. Sue the local school board. All things that most black people would have said back then, without exaggeration, were stark raving insane and would get you killed.

If we do it all together, we’ll be okay.

They made black people experience the worst of the worst, collectively, that white people could dish out, and discover that it wasn’t that bad. They taught black people how to take a beating—from the southern cops, from police dogs, from fire department hoses. They actually coached young people how to crouch, cover their heads with their arms and take the beating. They taught people how to go to jail, which terrified most decent people.

And you know what? The worst of the worst, wasn’t that bad.

Once people had been beaten, had dogs sicced on them, had fire hoses sprayed on them, and been thrown in jail, you know what happened?

These magnificent young black people began singing freedom songs in jail.

That, my friends, is what ended the terrorism of the south. Confronting your worst fears, living through it, and breaking out in a deep throated freedom song. The jailers knew they had lost when they beat the crap out of these young Negroes and the jailed, beaten young people began to sing joyously, first in one town then in another. This is what the writer, James Baldwin, captured like no other writer of the era.

Please let this sink in. It wasn’t marches or speeches. It was taking a severe beating, surviving and realizing that our fears were mostly illusory and that we were free.

"

Daily Kos :: Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did 

Reblogging this so I can come back to it in the spring when I teach the Civil Rights Movement to my 5th graders. 

(via copperoranges)

Reblogging this for all the non-black people who like to quote MLK like he’s theirs.

(via heathenist)

(via socialjusticekoolaid)

humansofnewyork:

"The saddest moment of my life was when my son left for America. I begged him not to go, but it was no use. He was my son but also my best friend. He used to tell me everything, but all he tells me now is: ‘Don’t worry, I have a job. I’ll tell you everything when I get back.’ I think he just doesn’t want me to worry about him. Because I heard from his friend that he’s being badly mistreated."
(Mexico City, Mexico)

humansofnewyork:

"The saddest moment of my life was when my son left for America. I begged him not to go, but it was no use. He was my son but also my best friend. He used to tell me everything, but all he tells me now is: ‘Don’t worry, I have a job. I’ll tell you everything when I get back.’ I think he just doesn’t want me to worry about him. Because I heard from his friend that he’s being badly mistreated."

(Mexico City, Mexico)

"Why didn’t you wait for me?"

(via yoursixwordstory)

Shaun King on corruption in Ferguson and the lethal trend of false police reports

iwriteaboutfeminism:

Transcribed from tweets by Shaun King, compiled here. September 24th.

The previous mayor of Ferguson, for two terms, Brian Fletcher, is not in charge of the much covered (white) “I Love Ferguson” movement. Thinking nobody who would ever call him out was…

evienator:

octoberrainfall252:

Not taking any chances

I scrolled past this and the guilt was too much

evienator:

octoberrainfall252:

Not taking any chances

I scrolled past this and the guilt was too much

(via westernfrontiers)

s-c-i-guy:

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by Ya Boy Bill Nye

s-c-i-guy:

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by Ya Boy Bill Nye

(via thedragoninmygarage)

note-a-bear:

sugarplumsandgunshots:

thisiswhiteculture:

rhythmandblue:

Passive Resistance Training, SNCC, Atlanta, GA, 1960, by James Karales, courtesy Duke University Library

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-tractatus/4915553610/in/photostream/)

people had to be trained to deal wit the evil of white people

Let this sink in ppl. We don’t dislike y’all for no reason. This wasn’t 500 years ago. This happened in my grandmothers AND mothers lifetime.

I hope this makes it clear to folks that non-violence as expressed during the Civil Rights Movement was not simply a moral or political choice. It was a tactical application as well.

Do y’all think SNCC, SCLC, CORE, MLK, Jr. or anyone else wanted to witness their people being beaten, that they wanted to stay their fists and guns when their CHILDREN were being murdered? If you do, I suggest you go back to history class, because MLK, Medgar Evers, Bayard Rustin, almost any person you can think of who advocated non-violence had armed guards and personnel in place for their and their people’s safety.

Non-violence as a resistance strategy was an attempt at provocation. Recognize that. Recognize that’s why these folks are training. Because they’re performing provocation through passive resistance. By not striking back they were illustrating the madness and vitriol of white supremacy. They were exposing in the most dramatic manner possible the denial of their humanity.



Understand: This was not turn the other cheek, this was looking into the eyes of the Devil and not backing down.

(via socialjusticekoolaid)

socialjusticekoolaid:


"The rate of police killings of black Americans is nearly the same rate of lynchings in the early decades of the 20th century."

Never forget that the Ferguson police left Mike Brown’s body out in the hot summer sun, uncovered for more than 5 hours. Sound familiar? #staywoke #farfromover

socialjusticekoolaid:

"The rate of police killings of black Americans is nearly the same rate of lynchings in the early decades of the 20th century."

Never forget that the Ferguson police left Mike Brown’s body out in the hot summer sun, uncovered for more than 5 hours. Sound familiar? #staywoke #farfromover

(via socialjusticekoolaid)

musicnerdery:

Reaction photoset for the rest of my life.

(via socialjusticekoolaid)

jean-grey-o-lantern:

So last night cops arrested 7 protesters, then turned to the rest of the protesters and told them “we’ll release them without bond if you leave (stop protesting)”

They literally turned their own dubiously legal arrests into a hostage situation. They took hostages. Ferguson PD is a terrorist organization and they aren’t even trying to hide that fact any more.

Look at this

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

You can donate to protesters’ legal defense and bail here

(Source: twitter.com, via socialjusticekoolaid)