Don’t Overlook the Comments to Shanita Hubbard

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It would help JB (I don’t know how the NYT determines their picks) to read Dan T. Carter’s book, The Politics of Rage about George Wallace; especially the part about his 1968 presidential campaign. He offers this:

The candidates appeal, said NBC’s Douglas Kiker, a native southerner, was transparently simple. George Wallace had seemingly looked out upon those white Americans north of Alabama and suddenly been awakened by a blinding vision: ‘They all hate black people, all of them. They’re all afraid, all of them. Great God! They’re all Southern! The whole United States is Southern!’ (p. 344)


Nah, JB, Hubbard’s claim about raising her daughter in a red state is accurate: the ENTIRE country is “a red state environment”! I hope Hubbard doesn’t take your advice, JB…she might want to take Jordan Peele’s though.

Models Monday: The Kiss

In Memoriam

It seems that folk no longer read comedian and activist Dick Gregory’s 1964 autobiography Nigger—actually, I don’t remember the Malcolm X t-shirt wearing, Public Enemy listening generation of mine discussing the work either. The 1990s political climate may have informed my decision to seek out this book. The back cover told a profoundly moving story that fueled my curiosity about the many everyday expressions of radicalism, thoughtfulness, historical rootedness, and political acumen that I observed from the folk in my own life. Gregory writes:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I understand there are a good many Southerners in the room tonight. I know the South very well. I spent 20 years there one night…

Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant, and this white waitress came up to me and said: ‘We don’t serve colored people here.’

I said: ‘That’s all right, I don’t eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.’

About that time these three cousins come in, you know the ones I mean, Klu, Kluck, and Klan, and they say: ‘Boy, we’re givin’ you fair warnin.’ Anything you do to that chicken, we’re gonna do to you.’ About then the waitress brought me my chicken. ‘Remember, boy, anything you do to that chicken, we’re gonna do to you.’ So I put down my knife and fork, and I picked up that chicken, and I kissed it.”

I wonder how those “cousins” looked when they left that restaurant; ready for war, but not for love.

Creativity emerges from the careful cultivation of one’s interior life. In Gregory’s instance, we see how in cultivating a rich interior life and reading the world you live in equips you with the tools to build peace in a world bent on destruction.


85-year-old Memphis Sanitation Worker Can Perhaps Retire

Mr. Nickleberry, left, with his colleague Sean Hayes, 45, on a break at McDonald’s. “It’d be much better in the city of Memphis if all people got together and stood up for rights,” he said. ANDREA MORALES FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

After working 63 years for the city of Memphis, Elmore Nickleberry, 85, may finally reap the benefits of marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The city intends to award Mr. Nickleberry, along with 13 other survivors of the 1968 sanitation strike, a $50K tax-free grant. I’m not sure how $50,000 is supposed to be enough money for a man to retire on, but The New York Times is reporting this as if it were a success story. Somehow, intending to give an 85-year-old man who has worked the same job for 63 years less than some entry level sales representative passes for justice today.

Even when the nation could be shamed back in ’68, the sanitation workers only received a $.10 per hour raise; post-shame, Mayor Jim Strickland thinks that this $50,000 grant represents “doing the right thing.” The problem that shamelessness poses for freedom struggle needs greater attention than it’s getting. During the nation’s second Reconstruction, the media could be used to shame the United States into change. But what happens when the nation is shameless? Then what?

For more on this mess from Memphis, see:

Wendi C. Thomas

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