In 1961 I enlisted in the Navy. I reaffirmed my oath's commitment by reenlisting in 1965. But then bloody Sunday happened. In 1967, I picked up a copy of the Stars and Stripes — the official military newspaper — on Page 1, a story about Muhammad Ali and his refusal to be drafted. His words 'I Ain't Got No Quarrel With Them Vietcong' were astounding. As a black man, mixed emotions abounded me while trying to live up to an oath in a country where I felt third-class citizenship. Then in 1968, came the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. From 1955 to 2012, from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, the helplessness I felt in their killings produce deep anxiety. Reflection on those years made me feel powerless. In the wake of Dr. King's death and John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, over the years, reflecting on their courage and committals were the cornerstones of building this website while crystallizing John Lewis's call to arms. "We must find a way to get in the way." "Get in Good trouble -- necessary trouble"
In my youth, during Jim Crow, I learned the mannerisms of swallowing the bitter pill of racism in order to physically survive. In my eldership I've recognized my voice and the weaponry of my words.
Immigration and the institution of slavery were the mechanisms that structured the nation's hostile cultural relations—a work in progress—subdued only through efforts of heroes and sheroes like Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks, too many to mention. The Greensboro Four: David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell A. Blair, Jr., Joseph McNeil. The Million Man March unto Black Lives Matter to Kaepernick's kneeling. Just a dab in a never-ending list of sacrifices. Only to be antagonized by the words by one individual, giving a rebirth to overt ugliness.
"The enemy outside cannot hurt us if there's no enemy within." African proverb...."
Bloody Sunday' Became a Turning Point in the Civil Rights Movement and laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights bill of 1965. In 2021, over two hundred bills have been introduced by red states to galvanize voter suppression.