No Republicans at Selma March 50th Year Remembrance

None. Not one.

None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.

from Politico via Washington Post

March 21, 1965 file photo, Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights marchers cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., heading for the capital, Montgomery, during a five-day, 50-mile walk to protest voting laws.  (AP Photo/File)

March 21, 1965 file photo, Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights marchers cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., during a five-day, 50-mile walk to protest voting laws. (AP Photo/File)

Martin Luther King, Jr.


A very nice, short compilation of King’s speeches….

Mahalia Called out to King: “Tell them about the dream, Martin!”

What a wonderful back story Drew Hansen tells about the March on Washington, Sunday, August 28, 1963

When King arrived at the Willard Hotel in Washington the night before the march, he still didn’t have a complete draft. King called his aides together in the lobby, and they started arguing about what should go in the speech. One wanted King to talk about jobs, another wanted him to talk about housing discrimination. Finally King said: “My brothers, I understand. I appreciate all the suggestions. Now let me go and counsel with the Lord.”

King went up to his room and spent the night writing the speech in longhand. Andrew Young stopped by and saw that King had crossed out words three and four times, trying to find the right rhythm, as if he were writing poetry. King finished at about 4 in the morning and handed the manuscript to his aides so it could be typed up and distributed to the press. The speech did not include the words “I have a dream.”

Oh read it all!

Over in Paris, James Baldwin led a petition writing campaign and presentation at the US Embassy.

More than 550 petitions were delivered; petitions also went to diplomatic posts in Rome, Madrid and several cities in Germany. …

Americans were not the only ones marching on Washington: 1,200 to 1,400 people marched on the American consulate in Amsterdam, led by the local Action Committee for Solidarity with the March on Washington. The mayor of Kingston, Jamaica, led a march of 2,500 in his city. One hundred marched through heavy rain in Oslo, Norway.

There were smaller protests in Israel and Burundi. In Accra, Ghana, a small group held signs reading “America, Africa Is Watching You” and “Stop Genocide in America and South Africa.”

And, Joseph E Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner in Economics was in the crowd on that day, his decision to do graduate work in economics rather than theoretical physics being confirmed.  His reflection, as of others, is how wide the gap still is between white life and black life in America.

The raw numbers tell much of the story: There has been no significant closing of the gap between the income of African-Americans (or Hispanics) and white Americans the last 30 years. In 2011, the median income of black families was $40,495, just 58 percent of the median income of white families.

Turning from income to wealth, we see gaping inequality, too. By 2009, the median wealth of whites was 20 times that of blacks. The Great Recession of 2007-9 was particularly hard on African-Americans (as it typically is on those at the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum). They saw their median wealth fall by 53 percent between 2005 and 2009, more than three times that of whites: a record gap. But the so-called recovery has been little more than a chimera — with more than 100 percent of the gains going to the top 1 percent — a group where, needless to say, African-Americans cannot be found in large numbers.

The Fierce Urgency of Now….

“Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is an opportunity to learn from his strategic thinking and mastery of rhetoric.

“Consider King’s powerful words about the civil rights struggle, which echo today in the climate battle:

We are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The ‘tide in the affairs of men’ does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ‘Too late.’


Joe Romm of the indispensable blog ClimateProgress has a new book coming out

I have a dream that progressives will some day have the winning words to match their vital ideas.  After two decades of research and writing and rewriting, I will finally be publishing my book on rhetoric this summer!

By the Content of your Class Position…

Paul Krugman honors Martin Luther King, Jr

…if King could see America now, I believe that he would be disappointed, and feel that his work was nowhere near done. He dreamed of a nation in which his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But what we actually became is a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin — or at least not as much as in the past — but by the size of their paychecks. And in America, more than in most other wealthy nations, the size of your paycheck is strongly correlated with the size of your father’s paycheck.

Goodbye Jim Crow, hello class system.