John F. Kennedy said, “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You.” Which becomes problematic from several points of view. If we do not ask, as suggested by JFK, we end up with what we have now…nothing.
By Donald Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS
I consider myself somewhat of a civil rights activist in the early 90’s. I felt that my upcoming visit to the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, would be my pilgrimage to what I considered my Mecca.”
1992 had been a good year. I had had stories published in two Minneapolis newspapers as well as other work published in Denver, where I used to live. I was always very critical of the way the mainstream media presented the civil rights struggle and the plight of Black Americans in the United States. At the same time, I was critical of the Black community itself. While it was not a popular view, I believed firmly that a significant number of the problems faced by those in the black community were exacerbated by privileged members of the Black middle class more concerned with personal enrichment than with carrying out the work of Dr. King.
Every year, the Church of God in Christ, a historically African-American denomination, holds its Annual Convention in Memphis, Tennessee. Delegates from over 90 churches attend the five-day conference, which will includes day sessions and evening worship services. One of the most important tasks of the delegates is to discuss the state of the church, and the welfare of black people. In my impression, the COGIC church believes that, “The Black American is still being written a blank check marked insufficient funds,” to quote Dr. King from his 1963 “I Have a Dream,” speech. And I agree with this point of view today.
In 1992, I was one of the thousands of young adults who went from Minneapolis to Memphis, but not to sit around in the church and listen to elders complain about every dime they lost earlier in the year, my mission was clear – it was to trace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King in his final days at the Lorraine Motel, which is now the National Civil Rights Museum on Mulberry Avenue in downtown Memphis.
My day started like any other day when I was out of town. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. – went outside the hotel, smoked a cigarette, drank some coffee, and went back to have a hearty breakfast. Today was going to be a great day; it was my personal best to further my understanding on what Dr. Martin Luther King went through during his social movement for civil rights.
Before moving further on my personal experience visiting the National Civil Rights Museum, which originally was the Windsor-Lorraine Motel, there is a vast history that must be told.
In the days of legal segregation, the Windsor-Lorraine was one of the few hotels in Memphis open to Black guests. The Windsor Hotel, at the corner of Mulberry Street and Huling Avenue near downtown Memphis, opened in the 1920s. Walter and Loree Bailey purchased the Windsor in 1942 and re-named it the Lorraine Hotel. Its location, walking distance from Beale Street, the main street of Memphis’ Black community, made it attractive to visiting celebrities. When Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, or Nat “King” Cole, came to town, they stayed at the Lorraine. Lorraine became an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement. It is now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum (Sanders 2006).
The story of the opening of the Lorraine Motel and how is became the National Civil Rights Museum goes like this: “In 1991, the Lorraine Motel—infamous site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination—reopened to the public under a refurbished name and identity: the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM). The National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) in Memphis, Tennessee, preserves what is arguably the most sacred site in the history of the American civil rights movement: the balcony of the former Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death allegedly by James Earl Ray. Although the movement continued after King’s assassination, April 4, 1968, marked a day of infamy for African Americans, the city of Memphis, and American history in general. Soon after the tragedy, people from around the world made pilgrimages to the balcony to honor the man who sacrificed his life on behalf of African American civil rights. “It seems the connection to King at the place of his death provided a sense of closure and comfort that could not be attained elsewhere” (Armada, B. J. 2012, p. 897).
In the Lorraine Motel heyday, it was the place local “upper crust” Blacks mingles and socialized within the Black culture in a relaxed atmosphere, free from the struggles just outside the doors.
My journey to the Lorraine Motel started with a cab ride from the Marriott Hotel out on highway 240, heading east into downtown Memphis. On the way I told the cab driver this trip to the museum was my salute to MLK and the civil rights movement. The cab driver called himself Fasil. He was an immigrant from Ghana, Africa who made it to the United States wanting to live the American Dream twelve years ago. Fasil wasn’t happy driving a cab – but in his words, “It pays the bills.” As we moved closer to downtown Memphis, I asked Fasil about the museum. He was use to tourist wanting more information about the museum. Fasil knew the museums history in detail. The knowledgeable cabbie spouted off a few facts that are on most tourist information guides back in the hotel where I was staying.
Fasil said, “Originally the museum was named the Windsor Hotel in 1925. It was renamed Marquette Hotel in 1945 and offered up for sale and purchased by Mr. Walter Bailey in 1945 and renamed the Lorraine, after his wife Loree and a song titled “Sweet Lorraine.” At the time of purchase the Lorraine included a café and living quarters for the owners. The Baileys added a two-story concrete block motel structure to the east of the hotel in 1955.” Needless to say, I was impressed with Fasil’s detailed knowledge of the history of the motel.
As we made the turn onto northbound highway 240 (highway 240 is like highway 494 in Minnesota – the highway circles the fringe suburbs and city), I looked to the west and saw the “Mighty Mississippi” river, which is the dividing point between Tennessee and Arkansas.
We exited the highway on Union Avenue and headed down Union to 2nd Avenue toward Mulberry Street, to the sight of my pilgrimage to civil rights. Driving pass Beale Street and seeing BB King’s bar, my excitement grew. There were people everywhere on Beale Street, shopping, drinking beer and looking like a good time was waiting in downtown Memphis.
The cab made a sharp right after a couple of blocks and pulled over. Fasil turned to me in the back seat and said, “Welcome to the Lorraine Motel.” I replied, “Are we there?” Fasil looked at me with a question mark on his face. I returned the look.
This wasn’t the like the area we just passed at Beale Street. Where are all the people? This neighborhood is rundown, I see several, what I allege to be gang bangers in white t-shirts loitering up and down the street and what looks like a mattress with someone sleeping on it right across from the motel.
This can’t be the place of the Lorraine Motel, the infamous site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, reopened to the public as the National Civil Rights Museum. I didn’t want to get out of the cab; my second thought is why I didn’t bring anyone else with me. This is looking more like a dangerous Black neighborhood than a celebrated historical site saluting civil rights and memory of Dr. King.
The cab dropped me off about 100-feet from the lobby door. In navigating to the front doors, I had to pass a group of Black youth, that I figured were up to no good, a couple of women who looked to me like they would do anything for $20 bucks, and an older Black man, who looked to be in his late 60’s tipping his hat to most of the White tourists heading to the front door of the museum and asking for a “little help” because he was down on his luck.
Damn…my expectations certainly clashed with reality on this one.
One thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is to not make eye contact with possible trouble – oops, to late. One of the Black youth in the white t-shirts approached me and asked, “Are you the police?” “No,” I replied. The junior gangster asked again, “Are you sure you’re not the police?” I looked trouble right in the eye and said, “No, I’m not affiliated with any law enforcement agencies.” It was not my duty to tell this snot nosed asshole where I was from, and that I was more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs – why was I on his turf anyway? Wait a minute; this should not be his turf.
I became angrier about the situation with each passing minute. The kid finally let me pass while shouting out, “I got that dro,” slang for sticky-bud or hydroponically grown marijuana. To make matters worse, I am not at the front door yet, and there are two hookers and a 60-year old man still in line for the “sidewalk greeting”…Oh shit!
My anxiety was at an all-time high. Here come the hookers. “You aren’t from ‘hur’ are you? You very handsome, you not undercover?”
What the hell! I told the hookers I was undercover and they should move along because I was meeting my partner in the lobby of the museum and he wasn’t forgiving as I was. This was the quickest idea I could come up with to get rid of the two women – and it worked. Now my final sidewalk greeting before making it to the front door of the Lorraine Motel was the old man.
He wasn’t threatening at all like the junior gangsters in the white t-shirts. He greeted me with a “Hello Sir, can I be of some assistance in telling you the history of the Lorraine Motel as I remember it back in the day?”
I looked around from where I was standing to check my safety – I’ve heard of these kinds of setups, when an old man gives you some information and you reach in your pocket to get a tip out and a band of thugs rush you for your wallet. That was not going to happen to me today.
The old man, “Daddy K,” was 82 years old, born in 1920 on a plantation right outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was the oldest of 9 brothers and sisters. He had some children, but had no idea where they were. He’d been on the street for most of his life after he losing his job shortly after Dr. King came to Memphis to draw attention to the plight of the striking sanitation workers. “After Dr. King came,” Daddy K said, “that was the end for a lot of us.” He knew more about the Lorraine Motel, now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum than was written in any hotel tourist pamphlet. I suggested to him to let me pay his way into the museum and he would be my private guide and we could get something to eat afterwards. Daddy K took me up on my offer, saying, “I’ve been in there hundreds of times. I even used to stay at the hotel when it was open.” We headed into a lobby filled with photos of the 1960’s civil rights icons- Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Abernathy, Julian Bond and the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – forever immortalized at the place where he was shot down 24-years prior to my visit. I have to say, that was one of the most humbling experiences in my life to that point.
I paid the $12 dollar admission fee for both of us and started to wander around the museum. My first stop was to look at the room Dr. King and his advisors stayed in. The Lorraine Motel was now a museum – a civil rights museum. The lifelike mannequins dotted the old hotel in the attempt to bring back the era, struggles and times of the 1960’s. It was strange as I thought, just outside, less then 10-minutes ago, the world didn’t seem to respect this monument to a struggle of a people. It was almost as if, the museum and Dr. King didn’t exist.
As my tour guide and I got familiar and closer to each other, I could tell that “DK” had had a very hard life. He would have never survived a Minnesota winter. He smelled of gin and cigarettes with a horrid mustiness that could have attracted flies. Other than that, Daddy K was solid. We went to the room where MLK spent the night before his assassination. Room 306 was partitioned off with a glass wall. In it you could see in the room, left as it was on that tragic day of April 4, 1968.
My tour guide, Daddy K told me the good Reverend (King), and the owners were good friends. He also startled me when he spoke about the many celebrities including movie stars and singers that had stayed at the Lorraine when they came to Memphis.
“The word on the street was that if Dr. King or gentleman from the NAACP showed up, prostitutes would line the street vying to be picked to service the civil rights movement leaders,” said Daddy K, who later also admitted he was a “runner” for the heroin addicts who stayed at the hotel.
The FBI sealed the file with these alleged recordings of Dr. King for 50-years, not available to the general public until 2027. Random bloggers have reported on a leak in the sixties that said, “There FBI bugs reportedly picked up 14 hours of party chatter, the clinking of glasses and the sounds of illicit sex–including King’s cries of “I’m f–ing for God” and “I’m not a Negro tonight!”(Hunt, 2012).
Without actually hearing the recordings, I’m still a little troubled about their existence.
With disbelief, I continued to view the room King slept in before the night of his fatal killing. There was a box of chicken wings – just the bones on a plate with a soft drink of some kind. The Lorraine Motel’s kitchen didn’t stay open very late and sometimes the civil rights leader and his entourage would order take-out from a small diner down the street. The curators of hotel made the room to look like there had been a meeting, with a few people – the ashtrays were filled with half-smoked cigarettes and butts. Toothpicks on the table – used, and the bed unmade – like someone had just let for the day and it was the job of hotel housekeeping to clean up. This was a dark area in my mind, thinking what would happen to King the next day outside of room 306.
I got to the point where everything around me was gone. I had time traveled back to the night before King’s assassination. What if I could warn Dr. King’s of the imminent danger to his life tomorrow? There I was, stuck in the playground of my mind imaging what America would be like if Dr. King would have avoided that fatal day.
The prostitute thing still weighed heavy on my mind. How could a man with such moral virtue and character do this? I tuned to my tour guide and said, “You’re bullshitting about the hooker thing, aren’t you?” Daddy K assured me that a whole underground culture in Memphis knew about this and protected Dr. King – but made sure he had everything he needed in Memphis.
My two-hour visit to the Lorraine Motel, the site of the National Civil Rights Museum had been the most stressful day in my life.
My pilgrimage to civil rights had turned into a reality about people and the flesh.
I waited inside for a taxi to take me to Beale Street and B.B. King’s nightclub so I could drown my crappy day in a Glenlivet scotch and a tall Stella beer. In back of the cab, I thought, “This is not how my day was supposed to be. My visit to the death place of Dr. Martin Luther King was to be a spiritual awakening for the civil rights activist in me – not make me hate everything I stood for and believed.”
Was this the message I needed from my visit? Is time for me to give up? Confusion and anger filled every inch of my being. For a moment, I thought about what King said, and what would happen if I did not speak up: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” (King, 1963). My people matter, the world matters. The people outside on the street near the Lorraine Motel matter. The world needs more men and women like Dr. Martin Luther King. We suffer today because Dr. King suffered the ultimate price – his life.
Armada, B. J. (May 2012). Place Politics: Material Transformation and Community
Identity at the National Civil Rights Museum. Journal of Black Studies,
40(5), 897-914. doi: 10.1177/0021934708321848
Hunt, E. The Holocaust Denier (January 2012). FBI Recordings of Martin Luther
King Beating White Hookers During Sex – Ordered Sealed for Fifty
Years. Retrieved September 29, 2012. http://www.holocaustdenier.com/martin-
King, Jr., M. L. (1963, August 28). Martin Luther King’s Speech: “I have a dream.”
Retrieved September 29, 2012, from http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/martin-
Sanders, T. (2006, January 20). “The story of the lorraine motel in memphis.” Retrieved
September 29, 2012. http://voices.yahoo.com/the-story-lorraine-motel-memphis-
While local Minneapolis city officials and community idiots talk about gangs, guns and getting paid, no one is paying attention to the systemic reasons on why women are being gunned down at point-blank in north Minneapolis. A focus on reducing poverty and corrective actions that focus on unhealthy diets might stop the rash of violence in north Minneapolis.
By Don Allen, Founder – OurBlackNews.com
Minneapolis, Minn. – “When ever a female is shot; involved in a shooting, most of the times it is over a relationship challenge” said Don Allen, educator and senior researcher for the Minneapolis Economic Think Tank (METT).
What Allen states could be fact.
On Tuesday, July 8, Minneapolis’ mayor and police chief took to the streets of north Minneapolis, as part of what we allege was a publicity stunt. During the time the mayor was walking in safe places in West Broadway, there was a robbery in progress. Also, during the overnight hours, two African American women were shot over north.
It’s obvious that north Minneapolis needs a healthy choice with healthy foods in the form of a community co-op. A north Minneapolis food co-op with community training on healthy eating would be a start in a long process to heal community disparities. North Minneapolis non-profit agencies have been granted millions of dollars to address this issue, but it doesn’t seem important enough to idea, create and implement a plan.
In a paper from Crime & Diet – The Growing Epidemic Among Youth states, “The United States is reputed to be the most powerful nation in the world, advanced in technology, fueled by corporate wealth and equipped with military strength, we have become blind sighted by our own ignorance. As America climbs in global rank and succeeds in battling foreign enemies abroad, the core of this nation—its people—are fighting their own battle. The future of the United States, like all other nations, is dependent on the health of its citizens and unfortunately, the rate of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and AIDS is increasing dramatically. For example, 37 percent of American children and adolescents carry too much weight. Two out of ever three adults are overweight or obese. In the United States in just 8 years – from 1990 to 1998 – diabetes among people in their thirties shot up 70 percent! India has the largest number of HIV carriers in the world. In the United States AIDS is the leading cause of death in young adults ages 25 to 44. Every day six thousand people contract AIDS worldwide. The United Nations warns that 65 million people will die of AIDS in the next 20 years.
The insurmountable number of obese persons in the United States is greater than anywhere else in the world. And one might ask why? How is this possible? The answer is simple: food and dietary habits. It should come as no surprise that food is the number one cause of illness, and one’s dietary regiment will affect their state of health. It’s a fact, but we have lost sight of the truth. We wonder: why does the United States have the highest crime rate in the world? Why are our children murdering each other on school campuses?”
What could possibly induce this deviant behavior in our children? Ironically, the answer once again is simple: “SUGAR.”
North Minneapolis suffers from some of the highest disparities a community can come in contact with: AIDS/HIV (one of the highest in the US women 13-18 years old); Unemployment (Second only to Detroit in Black/White jobless gap); faltering public school education system (Mississippi, Alabama graduate more Black students then the Minneapolis Public Schools system); Large concentration of non-profits in a geographic area (200+ in north Minneapolis including parks and churches with no successful business models that have employed at least 30 people for more than 1 year.); and Violence – year-to-date over 23 homicides in the City of Minneapolis, some with no suspects.)
North Minneapolis non-profits have changed the meaning of jobs, career and a future to a “program.”
The issues here become clinical – “What are the diets of the youth in north Minneapolis and with the heightened levels of sugar bring heightened levels of violence?”
One very popular item purchased by male and female teens, were high sugar mini-drinks in flavors of strawberry, lime, citrus, and blueberry – all these drinks were high in sugar.
IBNN talked with a teenager named Tanisha. Tanisha had just purchased a bag of Doritos, a strawberry soda and some random candy items. IBNN and a representative of the National Research Institute asked the teenager, “Why did you purchase these items – did you know they are high in sugar?”
Tanisha responded, “This is quick and the only thing available over here if you want a snack. I don’t have any time to walk to Cub Foods and I was hungry.”
IBNN asked Tanisha, “What do you think about a Health Food Co-op in north Minneapolis selling fruit, vegetables, and drinks with all natural ingredients?”
Her reply was, “Yuck!”
IBNN observed the large about of youth’s going in and out of Wally purchasing candy, soda pop, cigarettes. Adult customers purchased milk, and what looked like household necessities like eggs, flour, cereal, and food extension products like Hamburger Helper, Taco Mix and Sloppy Joe add-in.
The Health Risk of not having Healthy Choices:
Sugar has been a long-time health hazard, especially in a poor area. The result of no healthy choice in north Minneapolis has led to some of the highest rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease for the geographic area of North Minneapolis
To also add some facts, the large Black population of north Minneapolis is effected and is “at risk” simply due to the lack of healthy choices.
Black Health(dot)com reports Diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious health challenges facing the more than 30 million Black Americans. The following statistics illustrate the magnitude of this disease among Black Americans.
In 1993, 1.3 million Black Americans were known to have diabetes. This is almost three times the number of Black Americans who were diagnosed with diabetes in 1963. The actual number of Black Americans who have diabetes is probably more than twice the number diagnosed because previous research indicates that for every Black American diagnosed with diabetes there is at least one undiagnosed case.
For every white American who gets diabetes, 1.6 Black Americans get diabetes.
The University of Minnesota School of Public Health studied 2,761 high school seniors to explore the correlation between multi-vitamin supplement use and lifestyle decisions. The study published in the December 2006 edition of The Journal of the American Diabetic Association established that teenagers who take multivitamin supplements are more likely to exhibit a healthier attitude toward life including a greater willingness to exercise and eat more nutritious foods.
Junk Food, Sugar can be directly attributed to heightened “random” acts of violence with unbecoming behavior.
North Minneapolis is in desperate need of a healthy choice with community training on the qualities of a good diet. This is just one piece of the puzzle. The other pieces include a shift in the economic atmosphere.
- Tune in Wednesday, July 9 at 8:30 p.m. to the award-winning #blogtalkradio program, The Ron and Don Show. To listen, click here. Minnesota’s #1 Black Talk Radio program.
Join the team of Ronald A Edwards (Black Focus) and Don Allen (IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis) as we continue to discuss the marginalization of the black body in the Twin Cities. Over the 4th of July weekends, Minneapolis saw two-people killed; and six others shot in an violent weekend of crime and assaults.
The local penny hustlers are kissing the mayor’s ring in order to get that little contract to “act” like they are doing something. The phone lines will be open and we invite you to call in and tell us what you think.
The phone lines will be open, please call us at (347) 426-3904. Don’t miss this show.
The city of Minneapolis is prime to be put under Marshall Law. With the recent shootings, stabbings and beatings all across the the metro area, it seems we have a challenge. Question: Will the mayor show up?
IBNN News Brief
Minneapolis, Minn. – Tomorrow, (Tuesday, July 8), from 12-noon to 2 p.m. Minneapolis mayor Betsy “Dodges” Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau come from behind their cozy desks and local signifying monkeys to walk the streets of north Minneapolis.
Sources tell IBNN NEWS this public relations stunt was organized by local African American spokespersons that have received millions of dollars in funding from the likes of US Bank all the way to MNSure with no possible way of fulfilling any mission, but hell – you do what you do to pay the bill
This “walk over north,” which starts at West Broadway Avenue and Dupont North is pretentious (exaggerated) to say the least. What possible effect could two white women have by walking around on West Broadway, protected by gorging poverty pimps, clergy and hustlers whose best has never been seen in north Minneapolis? Maybe the mayor should ask the president of the local branch of the Minneapolis NAACP what happened to the entire female elected board members. Having a misogynistic leadership caste does nothing to promote community.
Again, the city of Minneapolis falls for the okeydoke.
The jig is up. Organizations and people whispering in the mayor’s ear have not delivered on anything pertaining to the violence, or stopping the violence in the African American community. Mayor Hodges only has a short window of opportunity to figure this out. If I were she, I’d dump the current circle of African American talking heads and hire the real ones. At least you know it would never be personal, just business.
By Don Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS
What does Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges do? Is there one African American she can turn to for advise on the continued shooting and youth violence in north and south Minneapolis? Maybe she can talk to the leadership of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF); maybe she can talk to her appointed representative for the African American community Sherman Patterson? Even better: Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights CRA point person Michael Browne? (Okay, we won’t go there today.) Or how about the brother in her living room?
Hodges is running out of options. Like most placeholder politicians, the $20 mayor has fallen into the zone of former mayor R.T. Rybak where more meetings happen; killing in the city rises and nothing solution oriented ever reaches down to the level necessary. I understand Hodges inherited the problems of black-on-black crime and youth violence from R.T. Rybak; kind of like the mess President Obama inherited Bush’s “leftovers.” But at some point, you would think Hodges would not fall in to the same path of using ineffective processes and organizations who have done little to nothing to stop, collaborate and associate with the people on the streets of Minneapolis who are so hopeless that only deadly force and extreme violence are the solution for public discourse gone wrong.
The mayor’s vision, or lack-there-of have called on some of the top poverty pimps, hustlers and clergy but will not talk to people who have seen the systemic causes of youth violence in north Minneapolis.
This means, it only gets worse.
In this morning Star Tribune it was reported, “Around midnight, police said three men were shot, one fatally, at a house in the 3400 block of Dupont Av. N. in Minneapolis. Later in a separate incident, police said they responded to a call where they found a woman dead and another woman seriously injured in the 2600 block of N. 3rd St. Police said that when they arrived around 5 a.m., they found both women had gunshot wounds.
On Sunday, North Memorial Hospital officials asked Minneapolis MAD DADS VJ Smith to leave. Sources at the hospital tell IBNN too much tension was being created. In south Minneapolis, a dozen or so stabbings and beating reported into HCMC.
This makes me wonder why Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges continues to be fooled by local community charlatans into giving these excessive multi-thousand dollar contracts to people that cannot be effective.
The problems of violence in Minneapolis will not be solved by AALF’s six-sigma approach, which is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. Motorola developed this model in 1986. There is a need for process improvement, but also becomes a need to look at the 200+ nonprofits and their functions in north Minneapolis.
Including myself, community members who have business acumen, over the years have suggested many solutions, but because we think for ourselves and do not conform to a certain political plantation, we are marginalized and dismissed.
Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges does not have any more options. It’s time to change her circle of zeros to a circle of heroes. Too many dead people are showing up in the city morgue.
By Jonathan Bean, originally posted on The Independent Institute
July 2 marks the 50th anniversary of the most famous Civil Rights Act in U.S history. Passed after the longest debate in congressional history, the Civil Rights Act (CRA) promised to secure justice for all regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or national origin. As I wrote in Race and Liberty: The Essential Reader, the law “was understood to mean ‘colorblindness’ by nearly every observer at the time.” The plain meaning of the act might be summed up as: “Nondiscrimination. Period.”
Supporters of the Civil Rights Act did everything in their power to make the language plain, clear and strong: one key clause stated:
“Nothing contained in this title shall be interpreted to require any employer . . . to grant preferential treatment to any individual or to any group because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin . . . .”
A chief sponsor of the law, Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), rejected the “bugaboo” of preferences or quotas by stating “If the senator [opposing the act] can find . . . any language which provides that an employer will have to hire on the basis of percentage or quota related to color, race, religion, or national origin, I will start eating the pages one after another, because it is not in there.”
In 1964, opponents predicted that a governmental push for racial outcomes was bound to occur, regardless of the plain language of the act. After all, the principle of a government limited by respect for individual liberty had always been flouted by those in power—including segregationist opponents of the law who now acted “shocked! shocked!” that the government might treat individuals differently based on race. This was sheer hypocrisy coming from those who defended racial discrimination by state governments.
Yet, hypocrisy aside, fifty years experience has shown that the CRA did lead, almost immediately, to the bureaucratic creation of racial categories (“check boxes”) used to further discriminatory treatment by a government seeking pre-determined outcomes in hiring, college admissions, contracting, voting, and much more. Attacking real or perceived private inequalities with governmental power, policymakers forgot that discrimination by government—however well-intentioned—is worse than private discrimination. Mindful of this distinction, those filing a brief in the Brown v. Board case (1954), stated that “segregation is unconstitutional because invoking ‘the full coercive power of government” . . . it acts as no other force can to extend inequality. . . .” Ten years later, bureaucrats rushed ahead with piecemeal social engineering, unmindful of this key distinction and in direct contradiction of the Civil Rights Act. How could the broad colorblind consensus of July 1964 dissipate so quickly?
Perhaps it was because the act seemed to augur swift change in social and economic relations—perhaps too swift in too short a time. Thus, that bright moment of multiracial harmony went up in the smoke of riot-torn cities and ever-more radical assertions by minority activists that “[their] groups were more equal than others”—so it must be, they argued, to make up for the past when “some groups (native-born whites, men) were “more equal.” Two wrongs would make it all right.
By the 1970s, the trashing of the CRA’s plain meaning surfaced from the shadows of bureaucracies as both the Republican and Democratic parties committed themselves to “affirmative discrimination,” the famous phrase coined by Nathan Glazer to describe the government’s policy to encourage—indeed, mandate in some cases—preferential treatment for “protected classes [groups]” at the expense of individuals who fell outside those classes. By 2014, advocating colorblind law left a person open to the charge of “colorblind racism”—the trendy and yet apt academic-speak that still makes politicians of all stripes hesitant to advocate “Nondiscrimination. Period.” We are a long way from July 2, 1964 when that meaning was oh-so-clear.
Fifty years is enough time to conclude: on the one hand, the Civil Rights Act was partial fulfillment of the guarantee to equal protection under the law. Dismantling the vestiges of state-sponsored discrimination was right, proper and long overdue. Ridding the nation of Jim Crow laws was a notable achievement.
On the other hand, two sections of the law limited freedom of association and economic freedom, as if reducing these forms of freedom were necessary to the goal shared by most Americans: rule of law regardless of group status. Nullifying segregation laws was consistent with the 14th amendment’s notion that individuals were guaranteed equal protection of the law. Segregation statutes had forced private actors—including nondiscriminatory whites—to carry out the group-based discrimination favored by politicians beholden to the prejudices of voters. The CRA changed the rules: private actors were now forced to practice nondiscrimination. The law prohibited individuals from discriminating in private employment or “public accommodations” (businesses open to the public, including retail stores, hotels, etc.). Even so, the measure of nondiscrimination was the individual. An establishment could turn away an individual for reasons not related to race, color, creed and refuse. An employer could refuse to hire an individual based on his or her individual merits but not group status.
In practice, we now know, bureaucrats, policymakers, politicians, and judges betrayed the individualistic principle of nondiscrimination embodied in the CRA. Soon enough, private actors (along with state universities, government agencies, and so on) were forced to practice “good” discrimination, forgetting the lesson of several centuries: every discrimination—segregation, immigration restriction, American Indian policy, and even the internment of Japanese-Americans—was touted as in the public interest and good for all, including the groups targeted (internees were made “safe” from law-breaking whites in California!). Ignoring this history, post-1964, bureaucrats, judges and American presidents marched ahead with “goals,” “quotas” and other preferential deviations from nondiscrimination. They offered many justifications: using statistics to “prove” discrimination existed without bothering with due process (so time-consuming!); or appeasing rioters who set American cities on fire during the “long hot summers” of the 1960s.
Seeking votes was another motive for politicians pledging to “do something” for groups arbitrarily defined as such after passage of the CRA. The CRA did not list any groups by name. Regardless of race, color, creed, etc. there was to be no discrimination. Period. Categories such as “Negro (later Black, African American),” Mexican and Puerto Rican (later Spanish Speaking, Spanish-surnamed, and lastly Hispanic) came after the fact. This process of “check boxing” America began in 1964-1965 when bureaucrats in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (established by the CRA), Department of Labor, and Small Business Administration created racial categories for use on government-issued forms. Armed with racial check boxes, bureaucrats, judges and politicians designed policies and programs treating individuals differently based on their group status—the very thing the Civil Rights Act plainly prohibited.
Dividing America into racial blocs was a reversal of the civil rights movement’s commitment to colorblind law and individualism. Frederick Douglass rejected racial labels and believed “that there is no division of races. God Almighty made but one race.” Justice John Marshall Harlan, the sole dissenter in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), stated that legally speaking “Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” Colorblindness was the guiding principle of the civil rights activism that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The individual, not the group, was due equal protection of the law.
The color-blind individualism of Douglass and Harlan echoed in the twentieth century. The writer Rose Wilder Lane wrote “God does not make races or classes but individual persons…” Likewise, author Zora Neal Hurston believed “the word ‘race’ is a loose classification of physical characteristics. It tells us nothing about the insides of people.”
Even the NAACP—now a champion of “group rights”—fought all classification by race. In 1961, NAACP attorney Robert Carter stated
“[C]olor designations on birth certificates, marriage licenses and the like can serve no useful purpose whatsoever. If we are prepared to accept the basic postulate of our society—that race or color is an irrelevance—then contentions that race and color statistics are of social science value become sheer sophistical rationalization.”
This NAACP viewpoint persisted beyond passage of the Civil Rights Act. In 1965, hearing that the federal government might revive racial categories on employment forms, NAACP spokesman Clarence Mitchell stated “’the minute you put race on a civil service form . . . you have opened the door to discrimination.’” Mitchell feared the use of racial categories would “put us back fifty years.” Two years later, in a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn laws prohibiting racial intermarriage, the NAACP stated: “Classification by race based upon non-existent racial traits does not serve any valid legislative purpose. . . [and is] in contradiction to the American conception of equality.” It is tragic that today’s group-minded NAACP has forgotten what it once advocated so fiercely.
Douglass, Harlan, and the NAACP were not naïve. They knew racism existed and spent tremendous energy fighting it. Furthermore, they knew we will never live in a completely color-blind world. Individuals will always discriminate in good ways or bad. But separating individuals into racial groups is an absurd effort to make the world over. Absurd because it uses the greatest instrument of racial injustice known to man—government—to purportedly eliminate discrimination by engaging in it. Three centuries of state-sponsored discrimination at all levels taught the framers of the Civil Rights Act that there is no good discrimination, regardless of how finely slaveholders, segregationists, and putative progressives dress it up.
The Civil Rights Act was not a perfect law—no law is perfect–but it did embody two principles of the long civil rights movement: First, the individual (not the group) is the measure of justice. Secondly, nondiscrimination is mandatory for the government and worth pursuing in our private lives. If policymakers had enforced the Civil Rights Act in good faith, time might have eroded the tendency to view others as members of a group, rather than as individuals.
After fifty years, racial engineering shows no sign of abating. The new racialists believe in nondiscrimination “except” in the case of “protected groups” they created on government forms. Deviation from the plain meaning of the Civil Rights Act was necessary, they argued, to prevent riots, satisfy voters, or make implementation of the act more “efficient.” Lately, “diversity” has been added to the reasons for continued discrimination.
None of these reasons satisfy the human yearning for fair treatment at the hand of government. Generations of civil rights activists fought for that treatment. Some died for it. They would be appalled at the twisting of the Civil Rights Act to mean its opposite.
Now is the time to remind all Americans: there is no “exception” clause in the Civil Rights Act: “Nondiscrimination, except in the case of riots, elections, bureaucratic expediency, or the pursuit of ‘diversity’” does not appear in the language of the law.
To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, “the act means what it says and says what it means.”
Let us restore the Civil Rights Act to its original meaning, even if it is one state at a time.
Bean (2009). Race and Liberty in Americas: The Essential Reader University Press of Kentucky, with The Independent Institute
——. NAACP 100th Anniversary: Exploiting Color Instead of Erasing It
——. Are some groups more equal than others?
——. “Burn, Baby, Burn”: Small Business in the Urban Riots of the 1960s,” The Independent Review (Fall 2000)
Whalen and Whalen (1984). Longest Debate: A Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act Seven Locks Press.
The Black Persons Guide to the Hobby Lobby HYPE; and the mainstream media’s “War Against Common Sense”
At some point, we have to take politics and the mainstream media out of the equation to figure out the true meaning of hollow, political hype.
Related story: Hobby Lobby ruling: Why Supreme Court got it right
By Don Allen, Founder - OurBlackNews.com
The mainstream media, both sides (FOX and CNN) are creating uproar. One side calls it an attack at women; the other side is claiming a win. Unfortunately, nothing has changed; things will stay the same, and the imaginary “war against women” is something created in a board room by a bunch of wealthy, white men in suits…and again, we as Black Americans fall for the okeydoke. This war on women is much like George Bush telling America that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Of course they did not; but hell, we invaded anyway…to find nothing. The “war on women,” simply is not a war, but a political advertising campaign spun from the finest webs money can buy. Unfortunate for us, Black Americans, we do not have they type of money. So now, you have to listen to me.
The conversations going on within social media reminds me of the SAME SEX MARRIAGE challenge where some of you (black folks) got out into the street on behalf of something wonderful (so you thought), and when the time came to focus on black Americans…well, if you’ve been living in a cave, they now, in some circle are comparing gay rights to slavery and civil rights. Still you are silent. It’s never been about two women or two men being able to marry each other. Its about a decay in the moral fabric when Christian fundamentalist decide to circumvent the message in the bible, “… Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31). If your neighbor is a dude and likes a dude, it’s really none of your business other than to move about your day with respect and compassion. Now if we throw in race, color and economic class, that same Christian fundamentalist – (both black and white) become bigoted racists.
It’s really hard to have this conversation about what happened in the U.S. Supreme Court granted a landmark victory for religious liberty, ruling 5-4 in favor of David and Barbara Green and their family business, Hobby Lobby. (Just a note: Believing their employees should have the opportunity to spend Sundays with their families, the company is closed on Sundays and only operates 66 hours per week. Indeed, the Greens strive to apply the Christian teachings on respect and fairness to their employees, increasing the pay of Hobby Lobby’s full- and part-time hourly workers for four years in a row. Full-time hourly workers now start at 90 percent above the federal minimum wage.)
Depending on your source, 80 percent of the gobble out there is simply untrue. No one is getting between a person and their doctor. They didn’t five years ago, and they aren’t now.
Nothing has changed. People are so totally confused. A change in policy was stopped, so it remains as it was, so nothing different is going to occur.
This is key for the left and right wing zealots: Women will get their birth control the same way they have been getting it forever. A doctors prescription and a co-pay, or buy generic, or get it at Planned Parenthood, or if your health insurance plan covered it before, it still does now.
This court decision means that NOTHING is to change.
Thank you Mr. Miner.
Twin Cities: The Black community and it’s roller-coaster ride to the bottom | The Ron and Don Show on #BlogTalkRadio
With civil rights and first amendment abuses inside of the Minneapolis NAACP, it seems our dear governor still misses the point about the broad voice of the black community. Tune in Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. (CST) to the Ron and Don Show for a detailed examination on what’s really going on. To listen, click here.
By Don Allen, Founder – OurBlackNews.com
Minneapolis, Minn. – Jerry McAfee, Louis King and Spike Moss meet with Governor Mark Dayton: Do you see something wrong with this picture too? In a tight-lipped; private; unannounced; exclusionary and bias process, New Salem’s Rev. Jerry McAfee, Summit Academy OIC’s Louis King and community activist Spike Moss met with democratic governor Mark Dayton in a closed door meeting last week. (6.26).
Sources tell IBNN senator Bobby Joe Champion allegedly set up this meeting and it had been planned for a while. But of course no community alerts were put out in an effort for the three to seruptiously meet with Dayton.
The community alerts are important because earlier this week the Rev. Jerry McAfee sat at a table right across from community activists in the basement of the Minneapolis Urban League and did not bother to share the information he was meeting with Gov. Dayton the next day.
The voice of the black community is bigger than the few folks out here representing their personal repeated and failed missions. We need to look no further than history to see those who attack us from within (having these secret meetings), often overlook the freedoms granted to us by the constitution.
The three amigo’s have ignore some of the basic principles of (Black) Americanism: The right to criticize; the right to hold unpopular beliefs; the right to protest; the right of independent thought.”
Tune in Wednesday as we explain what the challenges are and how to implement solutions for this obvious buffoonery.
By Yvette Carnell, Founder – Breaking Brown
One of the gravest mistakes having been made by the Black working poor over the past century has been to equate Black identity with Black politics, a case which is made clear by Dr. Adolph Reed in his book “Class Notes.” Not all Black people share the same circumstance and in fact, members of the Black bourgeoisie have actively sought and successfully engaged in practices which served to intentionally upend movements of the Black working poor.
1.) Labor activists often deride former Republican President Ronald Reagan for firing 11,000 airline workers for failing to return to work, but it was Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first Black mayor, who fired 2,000 striking Black sanitation workers. The sanitation workers, who earned an annual salary of $7,500 a year, hadn’t received pay increases in three years. Even though their union, AFSCME, had supported Jackson, the mayor wasted no time firing them.
2.) At the start of the National Urban League, wealthy whites such as John D. Rockefeller and Julius Rosenwald were among its founders. Although the League talked a good game and supported collective bargaining for black workers nationally, the local Leagues acted in ways that benefited their white benefactors, even going so far as to break strikes and discourage Blacks from becoming too involved in the Labor movement. (Black Bourgeoisie, E. Franklin Frazier)
3.) In Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington promised that Blacks would find their freedom only by giving in to white supremacy. In Washington’s mind, we were sure to persevere if only we worked hard and put our buckets down, and Booker’s route to liberation offered no significant remedies to curb white supremacy. And like many Black leaders, Washington was not a product of the Black community, but a designee of the white elite.
4.) In the book Ella Baker & The Black Freedom Movement, it is revealed that Baker, a civil and human rights activist, noted the limits in Dr. King’s leadership because of his membership in the Black Elite and noted the limits of Black charisma as opposed to a grassroots movement which empowered poor people:
“Baker described [Dr. King] as a pampered member of Atlanta’s black elite who had the mantle of leadership handed to him rather than having had to earn it, a member of a coddled ‘silver spoon brigade.’ He wore silk suits and spoke with a silver tongue.
“…In Baker’s eyes King did not identify enough with the people he sought to lead. He did not situate himself among them but remained above them.
“…Baker felt the focus on King drained the masses of confidence in themselves. People often marveled at the things King could do that they could not; his eloquent speeches overwhelmed as well as inspired.”
5.) Although Minister Louis Farrakhan has taken an empowering stance in recent speeches, some of his earlier words have sounded much more like something coming from the far right than from a globally known Black leader. During an interview with now defunct Emerge magazine, Farrakhan said that black people were sick, a diagnosis that would’ve been met with outrage had it been made by a Republican. And during an episode of “Donahue” in the 1990s, he said that Blacks suffered from a “dependent, welfare” mentality. This served to pathologize black behavior and paint us as somehow inferior in comparison to our white counterparts. (Class Notes, p.52)