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Archive for the ‘memory’ Category

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TerranceDC writing at Pam’s House Blend:

If you think for one minute that the people who have been against civil rights from the beginning will stop with same-sex marriage or with gay people, you may be surprised. What they did in California was to establish a beachhead as a basis for overruling almost any established civil right on nothing more than a simple majority vote. In other words, they got a foothold for establishing majoritarianism.

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45 years ago yesterday…..

Between 1947 and 1965, over fifty bombings occurred in Birmingham, resulting in the city becoming known as “Bombingham”; Perhaps the most famous of these blasts was the one that took the lives of four innocent black youth as they prepared their Sunday School lessons on a Sunday Morning at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

The bombing came as a result of heightened tensions in the city after a federal court ordered its schools to be integrated. Governor George Wallace chose to defy this order and urged his followers to do the same. Such defiance only encouraged Birmingham’s bombers to swing into action. Indeed, a local black attorney’s house was bombed for the second time in two weeks. In the end, federal authorities won this minor skirmish and the schools were desegregated. Segregationists in Birmingham were not happy.

On a quiet Sunday morning, September 15, 1963, four little black girls prepared their Sunday School lessons in the basement of the church. In the same basement sat a bomb placed by segregationists, designed to kill and maim in protest of the forced integration of Birmingham’s public schools. Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins were killed in the explosion. Angry blacks rioted and the civil authorities responded with great violence. During the rest of the day, other black youths were murdered by police and civilians alike, compounding the desperation.

From Bombing Of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

h/t ABB for reminding us.

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From Racism Review:

Rep. Steve Cohen from Memphis, Tennessee, has introduced a non-binding resolution (H.Res.194) next week “apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans,” according to John Breshanan at The Crypt. Cohen represents a majority African-American district in Memphis. The resolution, which was introduced at the beginning of the 110th Congress (image from wallyg), makes no mention of reparations, but it does state that black Americans “continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow — long after both systems were formally abolished…” The resolution also acknowledges that an apology “cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help Americans confront the ghosts of their past.” The resolution has 120 co-sponsors.

Hmmm… I wonder how far this will go? Not that I’m cynical or anything….

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A Bench By The Road

Toni Morrison has said that her acclaimed novel “Beloved,” which features the ghost of a baby killed by her enslaved black mother, came out of the need for a literature to commemorate slaves and their history. “There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath or wall, or park or skyscraper lobby,” Ms. Morrison said in a 1989 magazine interview. “There’s no 300-foot tower, there’s no small bench by the road.”

This weekend, on Sullivan’s Island, off the South Carolina coast, Ms. Morrison, the Nobel laureate, and some 300 people held a memorial ceremony to dedicate her long-awaited “bench by the road.” The crowd included members of the Toni Morrison Society, National Park Service rangers, Ms. Morrison’s friends and family, and people from Charleston and nearby areas. They gathered Saturday afternoon under a blazing sun, accompanied by the rhythms of African drums, for a service that included the pouring of libations and a daisy wreath cast into the water to remember their ancestors.

“It’s never too late to honor the dead,” said Ms. Morrison, 77, the author of eight novels, as she sat down on the 6-foot-long, 26-inch-deep black steel bench facing the Intracoastal Waterway. “It’s never too late to applaud the living who do them honor,” she said. “This is extremely moving to me.”

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