Hello and welcome. I stopped blogging after a decade and four months because I believed I’d had my say. Closing down and moving on was the thing to do. I did. I chilled, I did new things, read a small stack of new books, drew a lot, read a slew of blogs, cooked up a storm and worked on being the best me possible. Here I am again in a knitting frame of mind, hoping we can hang out, share our stories, create together and learn from each other. And while we’re at it . . . bring on the yarn if you are so inclined.
I like tea. Be it iced or just-right hot, as long as there’s remarkable flavor, and great benefits, then it’s for me. Used to be Celestial Seasonings was all I drank after I outgrew my Constant Comments phase. Before that, it was strictly Lipton. Medicinal teas were gifts from my Grandmother Annie, but they don’t really count, do they? Those cups of mullein, comfrey, peppermint and the once-was-enough cup of tea with Watkins liniment, recommended for my sixteen-year-old menstrual cramps kept me drinking. It’s a wonder I’m not dead. Liniment? Seriously? I feel like I’m betraying Grandmother by sharing that sad memory but it’s a shameful truth that probably needs telling. It didn’t kill my Aunt Pauline. She drank it as often as Grandmother believed she needed it. I can smell it now as if I brought it with me from the memory. Looking back, I believe a whiskey-laced cup would have been more effective. And safer.
I don’t remember when I began lacing my cups and mugs of steeped black tea leaves and flavorings with milk, but my guess is reading all those British authors had something to do with it. Do they ever drink water? No matter. My tea milk had to be canned milk or nothing. Pet, not Carnation! Whole milk left a disgusting film of fat on top. Turbinado and honey replaced white sugar, even with teas that require lemon. I remember being too poor to afford honey. Proof that such a thing as a starving artist/student was the real deal. Now here I am, drinking the good stuff while being blessed with the ability to sweeten my brews with my sweetener of choice, especially honey from as far away as Germany. I’ve tried buckwheat, blueberry, wildflower, clover, and orange blossom. OB is my absolute favorite.
Numi Honeybush is a favorite tea I discovered two or three years ago. The idea of tea from Africa made me heady! It’s the only product we’ve ever tried that’s “African.” The first time I sipped, it tasted as amazing as I’d imagined, and then some. It conjured up a desire to sip it from daughter’s tiny handless cups between nibbles of shortbread. Disappointment was no where in sight. There’s something about the subtle flavors and sweetness and color and the very idea that it is “African” that affects my senses and hammers home the fact that “there is a part of Africa in my cup!” It blows my mind. What? Did I hear you say, “Well it doesn’t take much to blow you over.” Well, just let me say this: I eat butter from Ireland, shortbread from Scotland, drink teas from around the globe, honey too, those waffle things from that cold place I know I will never visit; fruits and vegetables, along with proteins and goodness knows what else, are imported. The world is a giant market. So. It’s more than about time we had a taste of Africa, the motherland.
So, again. Here’s to the new me sipping Numi. . . Honeybush tea. It’s okay to laugh. But only in the right places. If you do, you’ll be laughing with me.
Honeybush is poured over ice? Well nobody told me! All these months it’s been sipped hot, with milk and honey. The last several months I’ve been nauseated before I can finish a cup. I blamed the milk. I blamed my appetite. I did everything but read the directions. Alas, poor me. It wasn’t until I saw these photos that I learned it’s to be poured over ice. Fast forward and pretend you can see the look on my face the moment I read “Great with milk.” See? A sister has to pay attention. I went from milk to no milk to milk again. And here we sit. Laughing, yes? No more hot Numi? Oh, sue me!
A tip: Google “honeybush” and be amazed.
Just As Well As He
If a body pays the taxes
Surely you’ll agree
That a body earns the franchise
Whether he or she . . .
Every man now has the ballot
None you know have we,
But we have brains and we can use them
Just as well as he.
If a home that has a father
Needs a mother too,
Then every state that needs men voters
Needs its women too.
Yep, that’s some of what she said, that Adella Hunt Logan, and set to the tune of “Catcher in the Rye.” There’s an interesting read here if you are so inclined to learn more about this lovely colored woman who did marvelous things. If you are, then read on. Thanks to Harvard Magazine. It reduces their debt to African Americans by at least a tablespoonful.
The lady also said, “If we are citizens, why not treat us as such on questions of law and governance where women are now classed with minors and idiots?” To those who argued that men represented their wives at the polls, she argued that many of her sex either had no spouses or had “callous husbands who patronize gambling dens and brothels.” Such women, she concluded, often stayed home, “to cry, to swear, or to suicide.”
Hers was a sad and pitiful ending. Living well would have been the ultimate revenge, but depression and physical ailments can be mighty foes. “Daughter of slave and a white slave owner who saw to her education at Atlanta University, Adella Hunt Logan became a professor at Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. As a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), she promoted suffrage as a way of stopping violence against women.” Too bad it didn’t work.
I scored a ninety-seven on our first history test once because the teacher, Mr. Booker, recently deceased, told me point blank that he refused to give me the one hundred I deserved because I’d half crossed a t, faintly dotted an i and . . . He did it because I out-scored the white wonderkins, and he wasn’t having that. Well, I lost interest by the time Booker got around to the third reason, and my disinterest in his class was history way before the second test rolled around.
When I saw his obituary in the paper recently, I just stopped and stared at his small town self, and the memory of that day came flooding back as clearly as if he’d said those things to me only a week ago. My response was pretty much the same as it was then, except in my mind I said, “You old racist bastard.” It was said without anger or sadness. He was simply dead.
Booker was not a good teacher. None of them were really. Except for Mrs. Jacks. The woman had a hard on for England and Shakespeare. She had a small replica of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre that she cherished, and her love for literature was like a booster shot to students like me. I had a secret thrill for the bard that I let loose from the closet while in her class. I memorized my favorite poem, “Old Ironsides” when we had to choose one to recite before the class. The only thing I recall from that beauty is “the harpies of the shore shall pluck the eagle of the sea!” Don’t ask me why ’cause I can’t explain it or why that poem moved me so deeply. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. could write!
Aye tear her tattered ensign down
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon’s roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o’er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor’s tread,
Or know the conquered knee;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!
Today, the USS Constitution is well known by its nickname “Old Ironsides” and is the oldest commissioned ship in the world that is still afloat. (Thanks wiki.)
Dang. The words still get to me. I wonder why. Aha! Perhaps I served as a sailor aboard her, once in another lifetime. (wink) Just as I recall having been entombed alive way-way-way back when. The night terrors were as real as my sitting here telling you about it. My coffin rolled across the desert sands in a procession that seemed to take forever, while I willed someone to open the blasted thing, because I was alive! To this day, even an open MRI gives me the willies. But, no matter . . .
I read Dick Gregory’s short chapters until way past my bedtime last night. Today I’m bleary eyed, in need of sleep, some peace and quiet and a good hot meal. Since I’m the chief cook and pot washer, none of those things are happening in this hour. So, moving on I am.
Out of all the history classes I sat through, not a single one mentioned York, the enslaved explorer who accompanied Lewis and Clark on a great adventure. They could not have done it without him either. Remember that noble female, Sacagawea? Uh-huh. They’d have died without her too. York “was a great help to the expedition because he was such a curiosity. Indians who had seen white men had never seen a black man before . . .”
York doesn’t seem to have a first name. Throughout history he is simply called York. His father was “Old York.” John Clark, the slave owner, gave York to his son William as a”personal servant” better known as a “slave.” “When William Clark’s father died in 1799, the twenty-seven-year-old York legally became William Clark’s property along with the family plantation of Mulberry Hill, livestock, equipment, thousands of acres of land in Kentucky and eight slaves. Those slaves included not only York but his mother Rose, father Old York, brother Juda and sister Nancy.”
It’s rich, this “moved with them” whitewashing of the truth. I don’t understand why York didn’t simply run away . . . Well, yeah, I guess I do. Note how I did not wonder why he didn’t kill them both. I read that York had a beloved, newly-wed wife whom he had to leave behind. His parents too. His status did not change after they returned. Alas, poor York.
excerpted: “On September 23, 1806, the explorers made it to St. Louis where everyone celebrated their arrival and achievements. The explorers were all given high praise, deemed national heroes and awarded double pay and many acres of land. Unfortunately, because York was still a slave, he did not receive anything and resumed his personal servant duties for William Clark, who took a job in St. Louis working for the government. York longed to go back home to be with his wife, but he was not allowed to do so until later. York eventually spent several months with his wife, but had to return to St. Louis with Clark. Clark eventually sent York back to the family estate in Kentucky to drive freight wagons. Sadly, by then York’s wife was forced to relocate with her owner to Mississippi, and it is likely he never saw her again. Ten years after the expedition, William Clark gave York his freedom. He also gave him a wagon and six horses to start his own freight-hauling business. York’s business was not successful because White farmers rarely hired freed slaves.”
Note: York was a former slave and an American Hero who was promoted in 2001 to the rank of honorary sergeant, Regular Army, by President William Jefferson Clinton.
I discovered Dick Gregory back in the middle to late seventies. He fell across my radar around the same time Malcom and Angela and a host of other luminaries arced across my sky. I engaged in a reading frenzy that caught me up on large sections of history I’d missed while being held prisoner in the Oklahoma and Texas education systems. I wrote a paper on Black Like Me when I was in college. For Psych 101. I think I contracted for a B or a C. I didn’t think I’d have time to do the research and writing required for an A, since I worked forty hours a week when I wasn’t on the clock. In the end, I realized it was A worthy but too bad, so sad.
Black Like Me pissed me off for obvious reasons but most notable was the truth that the author could never ever know what it was like to be Black. I didn’t care how much walnut dye he applied–at the end of the day, he could go back to his real life and carry on like it was nobody’s business. Besides, I don’t think his book changed anything for anyone. His intentions were good though, don’t you reckon?
No matter. Dick Gregory more than made up for my misgivings and angst after he wrote, and I read, the book that spun me on my right heel. Nigger is Gregory’s autobiography, and it ranks right up there with Malcom X’s. I recently bought a new copy on what used to be Apple’s iBooks, and look forward to reading it again. After I finish Defining Moments In History. It might be some days in the future though because I spend so much time laughing, underlining and re-reading passages that hit home as hard as a home run. I listen to Deacon King Kong too, while trying to get into Hamnet. Hamnet is a struggle. I cannot find its rhythm. I forget the characters. I forget where I am in the story. My mind wanders. I’m just calling words when that book is in my hands. It’s the style. I think. Why can’t I find the magic others claim to have discovered?
No matter. I am on page 165 of Gregory’s book. I’d be farther along if I didn’t make frequent research stops. Thank goodness for the Internet. There’s so much to check out, and then my reading list expands and hours have passed before my mind is reined back in enough to read on. I even share (more than likely unwanted) excerpts with people who might be interested in the history we should know since Black history is American history. So far, only one recipient has responded. Hahaha. She suggested I read the story about the woman who sued for her family’s Klimt painting after the Nazis stole it and wouldn’t give it back. I watched the movie back when we still wasted money on satellite. The name of the movie is “Woman in Gold” in case you’re interested. I do like some Helen Mirren acting. Her best work, IMHO, was as Inspector Tennison.
Dick is waxing profound about the musicians who put the -ians in music. He’s schooling me on Bird at the moment! The parts about Duke Ellington are just as enlightening. He exposes his warts and all in his determination to tell his-story of those “cats.” He makes me wish I’d lived in Harlem during the Black Renaissance! I’d have painted sidewalks just to breathe the same air as those great humans. I’ve always missed the great defining moments in history by being too young for the sixties and too old for BLM. As they used to say, “Ain’t that a blip?”
Being the blip as it may be, Gregory takes me there. Had he taught history, we’d have all been A students. The dude even covered Christopher Columbus! I must confess here and now that I don’t think I remembered Dick Gregory was dead. Up until one day last week, I thought he was still alive! In my defense though, sometimes my brain shuts away such painful facts in a dark recess, where the light bulb needs replacing.
I am off to find nourishment now. My appetite needs an overhaul since I’ve been under the weather post-Deep Freeze. The chills and fever are upon me at the moment. I need soup.
Musician Thelonious Monk was born February 21, 1917.
Barbara Jordan, the first Black woman elected to the House of Representatives was born February 21, 1936.
Nina Simone was born February 21, 1940.
Otis Boykin patented the electrical resistor on February 21, 1961. Variations of his resistor models are used throughout the world in televisions, computers, radios, and even military missiles. He made it possible for pacemakers to be more precisely regulated. Imagine that! Because I don’t even know what an electrical resistor is.
Malcom X was assassinated February 21, 1965. He lived a mere thirty-nine years.
Black History is American History. I never heard their names in history classes. Not even in college. No one spoke Malcom’s name today. So I will speak it here. I will speak of The Monk, Barbara Jordan, Nina Simone, Mr. Boykin, and Malcom. They made history. And we, the people, remember and honor them. Here’s to this day’s history makers.
Today, February 21, 2021, I created pork chop soup. Why? Because necessity is still the mother of invention. Plus, I am unwell, (I blame the frigid days that lowered my resistance to illness.) and when I am not well, I tend to make chicken soup. I stopped eating chickens though, after I discovered they are bleached to cut down on serious things like salmonella due to the fact that the poultry people no longer process poultry safely. I pray pork processors won’t start bleaching chops too, since I’ve only recently begun eating more animal protein. JC keeps reminding me that I’m gonna eventually starve to death for lack of food. I just laugh.
So. In lieu of a bleached chicken, I used sautéed chops. The cooked pork slices nicely after you trim the meat off the bones. Pop the bones into the soup pot for additional flavor once the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and shallots, parsley and spinach, have almost married. It shouldn’t take long. Don’t forget the whole peppercorns and kosher salt near the end.
Enjoy with some Xochitl (so-cheel) tortilla chips, a squeeze or three of lime or lemon juice, and limed iced tea. Take two Tylenol after eating and return to bed.
On this day, February 21, 2021, I’m watching the “Queen” in “The Equalizer!” Now, this is what I call progress. Happy BHM, my people. From sea to shining sea.
I hate not capitalizing prepositions when they mess with my presentation and balance in titles. Titles require balance although, according to the rules of grammar, prepositions are NOT capitalized unless they come at the start or end. Lord, have mercy.
Hey and hello! We survived the deep freeze. I thought about designing a tee that says “I Survived the Freeze of 2021” reminiscent of surviving the blizzard of eighty-two in Colorado, but the energy to do more than imagine it is sorely lacking. I’d rather sit here in the sun, eating smothered potatoes and sipping kombucha between mouthfuls. Yep, it’s like that. The cold left me enervated and just not caring much beyond the moment.
There are people who care about me enough to try and shame me into leaving this sorry state. Goodness knows I want to but if everyone ran away from problems instead of doing their part to solve them . . . Well, we’d be sorrier than the state we’re in. I don’t want the people who died to have lived and died in vain. I see the face of the elderly woman who survived racism, deprivation, and life in general when I close my eyes sometimes. Hers is a lovely visage. She froze to death after the power to her apartment was shut off. Her lovely image is replaced by the young boy who died a day after running and playing in the snow. His family’s mobile home was inadequate shelter from the frigid temperatures Ted Cruz and his family fled. I cried and cried, and cried some more over all the people who died because of gross neglect and inept leadership in this great state. I pray that every tear of outrage and frustration will be catalysts to bring about change for the better. We don’t need more catch phrases and slogans. We need change.
We want change. Perhaps the time has come to demand change. Our tax dollars are meant to be spent on us, the people who make this state a state. I did not pay for Ted Cruz’s police escort in his dash for the border. I don’t hate anyone. I came close to hating this person. I came close to wanting him gone from among the living. I recanted before those wants sprang forth, fully formed and hungry for justice though. Loving him is easier. Loving him is the only antidote to the evil darkness he manifests. Only love can conquer hate. This I know to be true. So I am practicing loving those who need Love. Everyone needs love.
My Christmas card arrived! Yay to the USPS! It’s postmarked December 11. The accompanying gifts are in limbo somewhere between Chicago and here. It’s all right side up in the grand scheme of things though. So fretting over their absence won’t make them show. I am taken with my lovely card nonetheless. And, I am grateful for those who think of me as well, so all in all, what a wonderful world, even after the great thaw. Amen.
Seeing as how this is Black History Month I up the ante on reading works of African American authors. I learn more than I ever learned in school or college for sure. Self-education is blessing and is as good as it gets because it frees us from required reading lists that rarely change. I’m tired of the same old same old titles that are recommended each February. So I set out to discover new she-roes and heroes–some of the “unsung” the world might want to become familiar with. Not all of them are in the distant past either, although there are far too many who need retrieving and good dust-offs from antiquated book shelves. I also love it when I make discoveries on other bloggers bookshelves. It means the drums are still beating good news of discovery!
I never read Malcom X’s speeches until now. His autobiography changed my life. That sounds trite. The book affected my life? It impacted my life? All I know for sure is that after reading it my outlook, my actions, my beliefs . . . parts of me changed. I believe for the better.
I grew up in a protective bubble that insulated and isolated–which wasn’t all bad. Now that I am an adult, I see that it’s how life is. Our parents cannot teach us or prepare us for everything; they cannot protect us from pain and the negatives that will shape us. Those who love us can be there, when and if we turn to them for guidance, as they should. Or not. Because even then, we can grow from not having parental safety nets to catch us when we fall.
So, reading Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcom X was my first act of independently dipping my toe into the waters of African American enlightenment. I have read it twice, and am serious considering buying a new copy to top “me off.” Until I decide, I will carry on with The End of White World Supremacy. For me, the time is now. For me, the story of Malcom’s “on the road to Damascus” moments demonstrate how we can always be transformed by truth. His shine was evident even while giving misplaced “honor” to Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Robert Poole), his mentor, father of twenty-three children. It’s disturbing how Malcom and mosque members believed him to be the Elijah of scripture and prophecy. Here is an example:
The honorable Elijah Muhammad said there was a time when the moon was not in the sky. The moon and and our planet were one planet, and the black man was living here when the two separated. So THEM (the honorable Elijah Muhammad) taught that ” a wise black scientist, sixty-six trillion years ago, began to argue with the other scientists because he wanted the people of Earth to speak a certain language, and since they wouldn’t agree he wanted to destroy civilization. So this scientist drove a shaft into the center of the Earth and filled it with high explosives and set it off. He was trying to destroy civilization . . .” So THEM said “he filled the Earth, the planet, with explosives and set it off and when it was exploded the piece that you and I today can the moon was tossed out there into space and it rotated around the Earth. . . . So that the piece that was blasted out there has no water on it today, and because it has no water on it it has no civilization on it, has no life on it.”
THEM also said that “when we came with the Earth, the oldest city on Earth is the Holy City, Mecca, in Arabia. He also said that only a black man can go there. “No one can go there but the Muslims.”
I’m up to the telling of the birth of Yacub and his story, and cannot help but wonder how Malcom could believe every word that came from the mouth of Elijah Muhammad. I wonder if he ever tired of prefacing every other statement/declaration with “THEM said.” Most of what he espouses is simply too fantastical and cannot be explained. Or understood. It is an interesting, thought provoking, often disbelieving read, yet it reveals more about human nature, and how so many become Kool-aid drinkers. I look forward to witnessing Malcom’s awakening. Thus, I shall read on, in search of enlightenment.
I promised my imagined, unborn future grands a story about an amazing woman who stood instead of bowing, and in so doing beat the gov’ment and kicked J Edgar Hoover’s sorry ass with a little help from her friends and Cuba. Surely Cuba offered asylum out of a desire to stick it to the American government, but thank goodness for their middle finger gesture. It saved Angela’s life.
Since there are no grands, I tell bits and pieces of the stories of the themes that were a-changing to my daughter instead, since no one else wants to hear all about how our lives got turned upside down in the name of freedom, justice, and power to the people. JC already knows the all-about-hows since he lived in the time of the revolution too. We held our breath as we watched brave and daring Black men and women wield their power to push back against an oppressive government that wanted to keep them yoked and chained, with heads bowed in perpetual shuffling subservience and shame. Yes, they jailed us, destroyed and even killed some of us back then too. But the people fought back though. And things changed.
I was a young girl when Angela was queen of the nightly news, but I remember being Gorilla Glued to the television as the world turned and we watched her live her-story. We were afraid for her, this daughter of Our Revolution. We rooted for her in secrecy, praying she would make it through Hoover’s concentrated raid on Negro Freedom Fighters. That’s what they were. The government’s campaign to smear the Angelas and the Hueys and the Hamers was successful among our own people. Older generations wanted them to stop misbehaving’ and disrupting their mediocre, hand-me-down existence of one step up from slavery and sharecropper-servant lives. “Don’t make waves chirren. Just keep on wadin’ in the water! We’ll get ours in heaven. In the white folks heaven.” Divide and conquer was alive and well in those heydays. Still is. Dr. King and Malcom and Edgar and many fine kings and queens, princes and princesses of the people are dead, never to be forgotten, yet Angela survived. She yet thrives.
I wore my version of the Angela Davis afro when I decided I was old enough to choose how I wore MY hair. It was the most fought-for do of my young life. At school there were some who ridiculed me because they were ashamed of our hair, there were others who liked it, and there were those who appeared to be indifferent. None of their opinions fazed me in the least. My mother refused to pay for my graduation pictures unless I got rid of it. Looking back, I believe she was afraid for me. After graduation she never said another word about it. But, for respectable graduation photos she took me to her hair dresser and watched as my ‘fro bowed down and lay prostrate before the hated pressing comb/curling iron duo. That never made sense to me. Who straightens hair and then curls it? I couldn’t wait to leave home and have full custody of my own hair. Mama watched the news too. Daddy was in Vietnam then, so she ruled the roost and became the lone enforcer of Home Rule by default. I knew she wrote to him about me because he’d write long letters of approval with carefully worded inquires about how I was getting on; I wrote equally long replies that were filled with questions and shared details of the goings on in my angst-filled young life. The one rebuke I vaguely recall came after Mama told him I practically lived with my grandmother and aunts. She told Daddy I should come home. Memories are grayed out after that. For the life of me I cannot recall what happened. I do know that Daddy never asked me why I chose Grandmother’s over my own home–a home that had a television, an air conditioner, siblings and modern conveniences.
Maintaining my ‘fro took a lot of effort. Afro Sheen straightened it as hard as any pressing comb! My hair was and still is something else. I had to use those awful pink foam curlers to get the tight curls that had to be picked out and styled into that wonderful dandelion ball. It’s straight on top and begins to curl about midway, with the curls loosening the closer they get to my nape. Basically, I have three hair textures! So my afro straightened the second humidity rolled in–it literally stood at attention and progressively loosened along the back. Oops! Sorry. This is about Angela and her dope ‘fro. And how we wanted our hair to look like hers. So I guess it is about that very thing. I still want to tell you what Angela Davis meant and still means to me, afro and Afro Sheen aside. Bear with me and I will.
to be continued
It is Safe to Murder Negroes
A sermon delivered by Rev. Vernon Johns, Pastor of Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. He immediately preceded Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Johns was an alum of Virginia Seminary and Collegiate Institute, now known as Virginia University of Lynchburg. For a time, he served as the president of the college.
I just want to remind you what the clearest and simplest of these great Ten Commandments is: Thou shalt not kill. The Birmingham paper says that you have a better chance in 1948 of being murdered in Alabama than anywhere in the U S. A lot of the people doing the killing are the police officers who should know the law as well as anybody.
The officer Orris Thrash killed Amos Star for resisting arrest. Shot him in the back. So I guess he was resisting while running away. And right here in Montgomery two police officers took a man, handcuffed him to a tree and beat him. Didn’t kill him though. They got charged with assault. Just two weeks ago another Montgomery policeman got it right. He shot and killed one Henry Lee for resisting arrest. The coroner ruled it justifiable homicide. All these cases were justifiable homicide.
But you know there is no justifiable homicide. God never spoke about justifiable homicide. He said Thou shalt not kill. He didn’t say thou shalt not kill, unless you’ve got an excuse. He didn’t say thou shalt not kill, unless you are a police officer. And he most assuredly did not say thou shalt not kill, unless you’re white.
Last week, a white man was fined for shooting a rabbit out of season. But of course, it’s safe to murder Negroes. A rabbit is better off than a Negro because in Alabama niggers are always in season.
What would God have said if he had looked down upon us last week here in Montgomery? A Negro man was stopped by a trooper for speeding and brutally beaten with a tire iron while other Negroes stood by and did nothing. What would God have said when he looked down and saw an enraged police officer take up a young colored boy and use his head as a battering ram when the boy’s father said nothing, did nothing?
I’ll tell you why it’s safe to murder Negroes. Because Negroes stand by and let it happen. Do you know what occurred to me as I watched that cross burning in front of the church? When the Klan burns a cross it’s a message. The next step is lynching.
As I watched that cross it occurred to me that what we call the crucifixion is just that — a lynching. Isn’t it ironic? Everything we worship was made possible by a lynching. Because at that ultimate moment of death Jesus spoke the words that transformed a lynching into the crucifixion. That made Jesus the redeemer, not the condemner. Jesus said Father forgive them for they know not what they do. But you know what you do. And the white police officers who are free day after day to murder Negroes know what they do. And when you stand by and watch your brothers and sisters being lynched it’s as if you stood by while Christ was being crucified.
To listen to the sermon, as delivered by actor, James Earl Jones, who portrayed Johns in The Vernon Johns Story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p65GE9Lure4
Dr. King described Vernon Johns as “a brilliant preacher with a creative mind” and “a fearless man, [who] never allowed an injustice to come to his attention without speaking out against it.”
“Vernon Johns, one of the pioneers of the civil-rights movement, was born in 1892 in Prince Edward County, Virginia. His parents did not have enough money to send him to school, so he educated himself while working. He was frequently seen plowing and reading at the same time. He was said to have a photo-graphic memory, and he was able to recite long biblical passages, including the entire book of Romans. He taught himself Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and German.” (Maelinda Turner)
Yesterday time stopped for Mary Wilson, one of the founding original trio who, “gained worldwide recognition as a founding member of The Supremes, the most successful Motown act of the 1960s and the best-charting female group in U.S. chart history, as well as one of the all-time best-selling girl groups in the world.” (from wiki) Mary was born in Greenville, Mississippi. She died in Las Vegas, Nevada yesterday. Sing in peace, Mary.
The lovely Mary will forever sing through history. Old girls like me still remember when girl groups ruled the charts, slinked and posed their way through songs we all knew the words to. We knew the moves, the poses, learned how to tease our hair into lacquered replicas that were held in place with hair spray and bobby pins. And no do was ever done until it was topped with one of those ridiculous baby bows. We paid homage to our she-roes and imitation was the sincerest way to show our love. Every young girl wanted to be a Supreme and marry our favorite member of the Temptations. Then arm in arm, we would sing our way up the staircase to heaven and shine among the sequined stars forever! Because we just knew the stars in the sky were made of sequins that fell from their shimmering gowns. Star dust blinded us! The music moved us and sustained our dreams. Every school talent show had a The Supremes number! And every audience member rooted and hooted and sang along . . . because they too knew “You Can’t Hurry Love but you will forever be Back in My Arms Again, ’cause You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Loves You if you don’t Stop In the Name of Love. And Baby Love, You Keep Me Hanging On since ours is a Stoned Love. So you’ve gotta Come See About Me or I’ll drown in Tears of Sorrow, my Pretty Baby. I Want a Breathtaking Guy but only if it’s you, with your Buttered Popcorn! You know My Heart Can’t Take No More!
“You Can’t’ Hurry Love” unless you’re “Back In My Arms Again”, wondering “Where Did Our Love Go?” We both know the world believes “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.” So Why Don’t You “Stop! in the Name of Love?” Boy, you Know that “Someday We’ll Be Together,” all wrapped up in “Stoned Love.
“My Baby Love,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “So Why Don’t You Hurry and “Come See About Me?” Come see about your baby! If you don’t I’ll be crying “Tears of Sorrow” for my absent “Pretty Baby. You know I like a Guy who gives me “Buttered Popcorn.” Yeah, you know “Who’s Lovin’ You!” We know “Your Heart Belongs to Me!” And if it doesn’t, Let me go the right way ‘cause “My Heart Can’t Take No More” pain, not even from “A Breathtaking Guy” “When the Love Light Starts Shining Through His Eyes!”
“Run, Run, Run!” but always run back to me baby. I’m tired of asking “Where Did Our Love Go?” You know “You’re my “Baby Love” so why don’t your hurry and “Come see about me?”
Just “Stop! In the Name of Love”until you’re “Back In My Arms Again;” then “Whisper You Love Me Boy,” and shower me in “Moonlight and Kisses,” my “Baby, Baby!” “Thank You Darlin’ ” for keeping me from feeling “Nothing But Heartaches” every time “I Hear a Smphony,” even when “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Just know that you bring “Joy to the World” with all “My Favorite Things,” alongside “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” You know “My World is Empty Without You” when “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart!” And everybody knows “You Can’t Hurry Love!” So just put yourself in my place! Then see how “You Keep Me Hanging On” although “Love is Here and Now You’re Gone” in the middle of “The Happening.” But I see our love in “Reflections” mirrored in my tears. But without you, I’ll Be “Going Down for the Third Time” So, “Stop! In the Name of Love!” And won’t your hurry, and “Come See About Me!”
February 8 marks another dark moment in this BHM. Let’s pretend she’s just gone on ahead to warm up the band. R.I.P. Mary Wilson. Much love.