By Kateri Boucher
Last year for my Sociology senior thesis, I chose to research the interactions between two environmental justice (EJ) organizations in a majority-Black city with a rich and complicated history of EJ work. I had made connections with folks in the EJ movement when I had lived there for a few weeks the previous summer, and I figured that studying these two organizations would be a perfect way to both learn more and get involved in work that I was drawn to. I did some background research, and then traveled to the city for a week to do interviews with members of both organizations. After documenting my findings, I submitted the paper and got a near-perfect grade on the first draft. I was proud of my work, and I was rewarded and praised for it. Continue reading
The files of Civil Rights elder Ruby Sales have opened and gifted us with stories of freedom fighters of yesteryear. May their stories never be forgotten. This is a sample, with descriptions from Ruby:
The indomitable and courageous sister SNCC leader Gloria Richardson (right) of the Cambridge, MD movement during the Southern Freedom Movement standing up in all of her Black women soul force power to White police. As the debate rages around the nation about good of bad policing, this picture reminds us of their systemic roles of using violence and terrorism to maintain the social order of White supremacy. Lest we forget this picture reminds us of the courage and front line struggle of our sisters.
Gloria Richardson is still alive and in her 90’s.
circa early 1960’s Continue reading
By Tommy Airey
Way back in the wide-open fields of the Clinton years, the seed of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was planted in me during a semester with Professor Bill Tuttle at the University of Kansas. Way back then, I was attending Campus Crusade bible study on Wednesdays, drinking a 12-pack of beer on Fridays and going to an all-white Evangelical church on Sundays. My spiritual life was a complete circus. Way back then, I struggled to make the simple connection that Dr. King was a Christian and that his perspective on Jesus was completely different than what my white Evangelical mentors and heroes were pitching. Continue reading
Photo credit: Anita Fonseca-Quezada
By Clare Morgan
After gathering the documents I need from my office, I walk across the street to the former rectory of St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in East Vancouver, British Columbia.
It’s already dark at 7pm, and a most welcoming yellow glow greets me as I knock on the door.
As it opens and I enter, a wonderful chorus of “Heeey!” spills forth from the big dining room table, which is spread with a beautiful vegetarian dinner. Continue reading
After George W. Bush was elected in 2000, Alice Walker said in an interview: “I know that Martin Luther King would have felt very saddened because he gave his life for a very much larger vision.” During the Obama years, Walker was asked in an interview with an Israeli publication what Dr. King would have thought of Obama’s America and what should be done to fulfill his vision. This was her response:
Martin Luther King was a leader, a person of conviction. He would find it difficult to comprehend, as I do, why Obama is incapable of standing up to Israel and why, whenever he tries, he soon collapses again. I believe Obama started out in the presidency as a good and decent person. With much ambition, but that is not a crime. However, killing people in distant lands by drone attack is, in my opinion, a crime. Condoning Israel’s crimes makes him an enabler of criminal behavior and complicit in the misery Israel causes to poor and frightened people. This is almost unbearable to face, because I, like so many others, love Barack. But we have lost him to the US government machine that is only running true to course in its treacherous machinations around the globe. Continue reading
From the preface to Michael Eric Dyson’s April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America (2008):
When Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered, I was a nine-year-old school boy. I had no idea who he was, had never heard his name or seen him in action. Just as technology had allowed him to speak at his own funeral, it offered me my first glimpse of King’s oratorical magic. Like so many folk born after he died, I first met King on television. I was sitting on the living room floor of my inner city Detroit home. “Martin Luther King, Jr., has just been shot in Memphis, Tennessee,” the newsman announced, interrupting whatever program we were watching. My father sat behind me in his favorite chair. He was barely able to utter “humph.” It was one of those compressed sighs that held back far more pain than it let loose. It came from deep inside his body, an involuntary reflex like somebody had punched him in the gut… Continue reading
Photo credit: The Guardian
By Bill Wylie-Kellermann
I remember precisely where I was when I got the news of Martin Luther King’s assassination. It was my freshman year in college, a midwestern liberal arts school, and I’d just walked into the lounge of my dormitory when a bulletin broke into regular TV programing. The lone other student, whose face and name I mercifully do not recall, was seated high on the back of an overstuffed black leather chair. He muttered, “Somebody finally got that n****r.” I remember running the length of hall to the pay phone booth and calling my folks in Detroit, weeping into the receiver. In those tears, something shifted in me vocationally that day which bears on who I am. Continue reading