June 11, 2013
By Charles A. Gallagher Two events that took place just hours apart 50 years ago serve as a metaphor for our nation's struggle for racial equality. On June 11, 1963, John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the nation demanding that the federal government aggressively put in place measures to guarantee the constitutional rights of blacks. JFK was comprehensive in his goals, insisting that the federal government be actively involved in addressing institutional racism in housing, the labor market, schooling, access to voting, and public accommodations.
March 28, 2012 |
It may be time to cancel the lynching. A month ago, in a gated community in central Florida, a neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman confronted a hoodie-wearing black teenager named Trayvon Martin. According to witnesses, a scuffle ensued, and it ended when Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. After investigating, the police did not bring charges. And then Jesse Jackson intoned that black Americans are "under attack. " The New Black Panther Party posted a $10,000 reward for Zimmerman's capture.
February 6, 2012 |
Despite its significant history, the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library in Philadelphia is an unimposing structure - save for the two armed guards standing out front. Bedecked in Union blue, the guards leaned on their rifles Sunday ushering in patrons with a tip of the kepi. During the first Sunday of each month, the museum opens its doors to the public and invites speakers to discuss topics that have thematic relevance. In recognition of February's being Black History Month, Sunday's topic was a man who was a major advocate for racial equality - nearly 100 years before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Octavius Catto's vast contributions to the cause of civil rights were outlined for an audience of nearly 40 by Andy Waskie, a Civil War historian, professor of foreign languages at Temple University, and member of the museum's board of directors.
February 2, 2012 |
Among other race-baiting, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has referred to the nation's first African American president as a "food stamp president," and someone who engages in "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior," a coarse reference to President Obama's African father and a nod to "birtherism. " Not content merely to demean the president, Gingrich has said that poor black children lack role models and a work ethic - a broadside against millions of black, working-poor parents who each day serve as shepherds for their children and instill in them work and other ethics.
January 16, 2012
TODAY'S celebration of the Martin Luther King holiday has an obvious geographical focal point: The new King memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., dedicated just last October. But it's not likely that the Martin Luther King Jr. of the 1960s would mark this day, or the continuing struggle for justice that it represents, at that place. And as laudable as it is, he might not be satisfied only with volunteering for the MLK Day of Service. Instead, Martin Luther King Jr. probably would be "occupying" Wall Street - or D.C. or Philadelphia or Dubuque - and possibly getting slapped into plastic handcuffs for engaging in civil disobedience.
January 18, 2011 |
I LOVE THE Martin Luther King Day of Service. But I think I can improve it. Let me start by saying how great it is that, on the third Monday of every January, more and more people are observing this federally created holiday as "a day on, not a day off. " The 16-year-old event has passionate local support. Yesterday, 75,000 people in the Delaware Valley volunteered in 1,200 projects - like retooling computers for the poor, painting PAL centers, creating care packages for sick kids and distributing food boxes to the elderly.
September 12, 2010 |
Their speeches rang with names of battles where black soldiers had died for the Union. Their petitions swelled with testimony from wives and mothers brutalized for trying to ride streetcars to visit loved ones in Army hospitals. But the drive by black activists and their white allies to integrate those horse-drawn cars had been sabotaged and stalled in Harrisburg in 1865. So their fledgling group, the Equal Rights League, sent a new colored lobbyist from Philadelphia to climb the Capitol's marble steps.
August 25, 2008 |
In The Black List, Volume One, a richly illuminating documentary about the African American experience in the 21st century, Vernon Jordan, the lawyer, businessman and Friend of Bill, reflects on exactly how wide and disparate that experience may be. "We are just as mixed up in views and needs, aspirations, as any other group of people. It's never been monolithic," Jordan asserts, criticizing white culture's need to "define" blacks. "There's always been a difference of opinion, a difference of approach.
June 20, 2005
RE ROTAN LEE's June 16 op-ed ("Reparations: Its time has come"): Let's sue corporate America because certain companies had slaves. This is the very reason we will never have racial equality in this country. We need to let this go. But we won't. Somebody will always be up in the pulpit shouting that the black people of this country deserve justice. It should not be the concern of the modern world to pay for the wrongdoings of something long abolished. It is clear that the leaders of the black community want to keep this line drawn in the sand.
July 15, 2004 |
MISSION accomplished! The NAACP convention isn't over yet, but it has already been a smashing success. All the goals have been met. The racial divide has been widened, so the existence of the organization and its leaders' roles are safe for the foreseeable future. Well done Messrs. Bond, Mfume and Street. The only downside, of course - apparently of little interest to this week's speakers - is that the interests of those who the NAACP claims to represent haven't been enhanced.