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On 28 August, 1963 bbc english, I came home from somewhere one mid-afternoon. The new school year hadn’t started, so the early part of the day remains a blank. Except that I was in Charleston, West Virginia, and we lived in a big ramshackle white house at the end of a dead-end street way up in the hills.When I walked through the door, our old black-and-white TV was on in the front room, and a black man was giving a speech. An impassioned speech. His voice seemed to tremble, not with weakness but with power — a power I had never heard before. He kept telling me that he had a dream.I knew who this man was. His name was Martin Luther King, and today there is a national American holiday in his honor and he is regarded by most all Black people and many white people as more or less a saint. His generation’s Nelson Mandela. His is so famous that he is even parodied, much like the Mona Lisa (we have all seen her with a moustache, haven’t we?).The anthem of the Civil Rights Movement: «We shall Overcome.» Joke about Martin Luther King. What did King say when his wife presented him with triplets? A.: «I have overcome.» Funny, huh?Let me explain something to you, and please, please, take it as gospel, coming even though it does from a limited man with a limited ability in the large scheme of things blog post: That day, on that black-and-white (pun realized but not intended) TV, I heard the words of a man whose voice and spirit literally shook the earth. I say literally because, when Reverend Kind finished his fabled «I have a Dream Speech», the cameras pulled back to reveal the whole scene that had surrounded the towering stem of the Washington Monument— that superbly simple, simultaneously mighty and powdery masthead of liberty— and the long aisle which led to the Lincoln Memorial and the warm stones of Lincoln’s sculpture, ( as if Honest Abe were leaning forward and actually listening to King), a sunami of freedom swept the television screen and the multitude of people gathered were like celestial confetti. It was a moment of ecstasy. And it was one of the defining moments of the ’60s. And the camera shook.Yet not everyone was as moved as I was and many in my generation were. In the states of Mississsippi and Alabama, Segregation was so intense that qualified Black students were refused admission to the state universities. In fact, Governors Ross Barnett (Miss) and George Wallace (Ala) literary stood in the doorway to stop the Black candidates from entering. President Kennedy was forced to send in the National Guard to force admission. The Redneck Reaction (Poor White Southerners known in those days for their religion, ‘patriotism’, alcoholism, and racism — not necessarily in that order) was always violent. Always. But King’s Movement, followed the non-violent philosophy of Mahatma Ghandi. The Negroe people accepted the fire hoses, the punches, the insults, with courteous and resolute equanamity. A woman named Rosa Parks gained immortality by refusing to give up her seat on a Southern city bus to the white racist who demanded it.But gradually, as they say, the ‘worm turned.’ On university campuses and in the cities a different kind of (young) Black was emerging. And these Newbloods were not as non-violent as King and his followers. Moreover, in the midst of this sprang up a man named Malcom X, advocating a radically different philosophy, one which sought no covenance with Whites, but rather an aggressive separatism. Thus arose the Black Muslims. A philosophy based on retaliation against Whites was soon building fires everywhere across American cities, culminating in the famous Watts (ghetto in Los Angeles) riots, which saw Black people chanting «Burn, Baby, Burn, as they set fire to their own neighborhoods in protest against the inequities they saw and lived amid. Fury was everywhere, and the truth is — though Black people will NEVER admit it eric-artem.livejournal.com (since it would chisel away at King’s sainthood) — by the time he was assassinated in Memphis in 1968 — Martin Luther King’s non-violent philosophy had become an anachronism for the majority of upward bound Black Americans. There is a saying that there is ‘strength in numbers’. Black people are physically strong as a rule (their former slave masters bred them accordingl to produce ‘strong niggers’ to work in the fields)- and at this time these big, strong niggers became the worst nightmare of those old crackers who had imagined they would always be slaves. Blacks inundated the big cities. Violent, ignorant, hungry, sexy. The white geeks fled to the suburbs. The new city Black Person was no shrinking violent. He did not want to be the White man’s brother any more. And so the friendly, charming Negro was replaced by the angry Black Man.

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