Posts tagged ‘Civil Rights’

August 28, 2011

The Race Card Equals Sand in the Gears of Discourse

by thefulllidvmg

I like John Lewis. A lot. His memoir was amazing. If you don’t know anything about him, he was part of the beginnings of the lunch sit-ins, the marches from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama), and worked on plethora of other civil rights causes with Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy, and so on.

Unfortunately, Lewis wrote an op-ed piece in the NY Times accusing new voting right laws that require unexpired identification to be shown at voting centers as racist and unfairly targeting minorities (whom vote for him and his Democratic base). His logic is quite weak. Anyone can go and get updated I.D.’s from your local DMV, right?

Doug Mataconis chimes in.

May 17, 2011

Bringing Back Poll Tests

by thefulllidvmg

Newt Gingrich has floated the idea of people being required to take a test to be able to vote. This eerily reminds me of civil rights era times where many African Americans could not vote because of poll taxes or hard as nails poll tests. Both of those tactics, along with KKK strong arming, were meant to keep African Americans away from voting. The South is still recovering.

Gingrich may be sincere, but with a PhD you would think he would know how sensitive this issue is to the fabric of America.

December 11, 2010

Book Review: Walking with the Wind by John Lewis

by thefulllidvmg

John Lewis’s memoir Walking with the Wind was a delightful read. After finishing Shame of the Nation, I needed either a break from reading for a week or a lighter read. I heard about Lewis’s memoir within Shame of the Nation as Kozol interviewed him. Little did I know that Lewis’s book was the perfect book for me to grab a hold of.

Walking with the Wind is a long read (503 pages) but is simple and accessible in its wording and approach. The story starts with Lewis’s upbringing in the rural Alabama town of Troy. Lewis grew up and attended college in Nashville where he became active in nonviolent protests. His belief in nonviolence for the attainment of the Beloved (not hateful, not violent, not uncaring, not unkind) Community (not separated, not polarized, not adversarial) was central to him then as it is now as he serves as Congressman for the 5th U.S. Congressional district of Georgia. His stances have often brought on the labels of “anti-black” or “soft” because of his integrated and nonviolent approach to democracy.

Lewis documents his first hand participation in the Nashville sit-ins, strikes, marches in Selma and Montgomery, and his work thereafter. He didn’t watch this stuff on TV, read it in the paper, or hear it on the radio: he was there. As he and hundreds of others attempted their first march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama (a 56 mile walk, by the way), he was clubbed in the head and landed a fractured skull. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr, Baynard Rustin, Ralph Abernathy, A. Phillip Randolph, and tens of thousands of nameless men, women, and children all for the sake of equal voting rights, equal usage of facilities (Boynton v. Virginia), and for the ultimate end of racism in the South. He worked for Jimmy Carter’s administration, helped Bobby Kennedy campaign, was called to private and group meetings lead by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and is the only House Rep today to of been arrested over 40 times.

What I enjoy about John Lewis’s character is that he holds no punches yet he isn’t judgmental. His book is not a polemic against likely enemies such as Newt Gingrich, George Wallace, plethora of racist southern elected officials, et al. He does call out those for being slow to act, for not upholding laws, and for what he sees as right and wrong. Ultimately, Lewis sees everyone through the eye of a key nonviolence movement tenet: everyone will have to deal with the decisions they make. Their conscience will bear that and he has no room to step in between anyone and their decisions. Much of his book comes off as him reporting the times, not opining every bit of it.

I felt that Lewis’s book dragged for the last 120 pages after the last of the marches ended and MLK / Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations. Walking with the Wind is well worth the read for anyone interested or intrigued by justice, compassion, nonviolence, and the piece they all hold in this puzzle known as America.

June 28, 2010

The Past Is Present

by thefulllidvmg

Francis and Witeck describe the beginnings of the GLBT marches now on display at the Smithsonian Institute:

A dozen picket signs on old wooden sticks carry the DNA of the gay civil equality movement in America. Forty-five years ago, this month, in 1965, these pickets were held high by men and women considered among the first generation of LGBT activists in front of Lyndon Johnson’s White House.
2010-06-25-bgittings65.jpg
With the men wearing jackets and ties and tailored skirts for the ladies, all arrived neatly dressed to disarm the looks of fellow citizens, while their hand-lettered signs proclaimed unimaginable things like “First Class Citizenship for Homosexuals”. Despite their professional appearances, this handful of men and women on this history-making picket line, knew perfectly well that their conduct literally put themselves and their jobs on the line, in broad daylight.

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