Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
IT'S NOT JUST BALTIMORE, IT'S NOT JUST THE POLICE
Before 1824 it was possible to auction off the poor to serve as indentured servants. After that, those unable to pay their debts were imprisoned in poorhouses (despite the irony of taking them out of the job market and thus making it impossible to earn money to care for the debts). We have the same type of situation today: deprive people of an income then blame them for being poor, force them to live in substandard housing and criticize them for their social conditions, provide poorly-equipped schools and castigate them for being jobless, minimize the role of a husband and then blame them for single-parent families, pay them a sub-standard wage then criticize them for living in poverty. And then also for being angry?
No, it's not just Baltimore, or Ferguson, or New York. It's the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the greatest nation in the world's history (so orated before a cheering [selected] crowd). And it's not just some police or the judicial system (which made the Klan obsolete).
One spokesman, after Baltimore began to cool off, expressed the belief that things could now return to "normal," like back in the good old days! That's like taking as aspirin to address the symptoms and ignoring a fatal illness!
Paul Robeson was vilified for being "unAmerican;" Viola Liuzzo was murdered for trying to get rid of Jim Crow in the voting booth; Martin Luther King was followed by the FBI for Communist inclinations. And the U.S. Government did not enact anti-lynching laws until 1965, by which time 4,000 Black citizens had been shot, hanged, quartered, burned and/or castrated.
Race riots of protest and frustration began in 1783. If Baltimore and the rest of the nation return to "normal" this will not be the end.
Even though we may understand how so many levels of rage have stimulated these outbursts, no one can claim these have not had criminal elements or that neighbourhoods have not lost the stores that served them.
But we can thrill to the manifestation of "soul" -- that same quality that prompted the touring singers from Fisk University to donate all of their small income to victims of Chicago's 1871 fire -- revealing that indigenous sense of community and compassion this country too rarely calls forth from those who inherited this legacy.
The social revolution of the 1960 ended too soon. The entire fabric of American society and culture must be subjected to more and constant consideration, and a dramatic change must result.
Dr. King, Malcolm, Dr. DuBois, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Brown, Nat Turner ... these were not unAmericans, they were proAmericans.
Dominique-René de Lerma
Dominique-René de Lerma