Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Maya Angelou né Marguerite Annie Johnson (1928-2014) 

Please LISTEN to this READING

AND STILL I RISE 
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you? 
Why are you beset with gloom? 
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken? 
Bowed head and lowered eyes? 
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you? 
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you? 
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs? 

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 

Maya Angelou  (1928-2014)

100 comments:

  1. Although aware of the poem, I had never sat down and read it. Artistic and classy. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hearing her read her work LIVE is both ELECTRIFYING and PROVOCATIVE.

      The tone and inflections in her unique VOICE say as much –– or MORE –– than the WORDS she utters. It's a kind of MUSIC.

      I was surprised to see this posted as part of GOOGLE's ICON this morning.

      Notsure what THAT signifies, since, –– as far as I can remember ––, nothing like it from ANY point of view has ever appeared there before.

      Delete
  2. Today, April 4, 2018, is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. Does this poem commemorate his death? Off I go to do some research.

    BTW, I remember April 4, 1968, because of the subsequent
    riots in Washington, D.C. For many hours, Mom and I didn't know if Dad, who worked for the bus system, was alive or dead. Dad got home very late that night (April 5).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will forever regard the SICK-sties in general as A Nightmare Without End.

      Not that a lot of good work did not get accomplished in spite of the fractious, turmoil-ridden débacle, but ONLY the ROTTEN, HOSTILE, DEGENERATE, DESTRUCTIVE, UGLINESS received emphasis –– or worse –– APPLAUSE!

      Delete
    2. FT,
      I should have mentioned that Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928 -- 90 years ago. Google seems to be commemorating both her birthday and the date of the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.

      Delete
    3. YES! Astute obersvation! I was unaware that April 4 was ALSO Maya Angelou's birthday as well as the FIFTIETH anniversay of the Assassiation of M. L. King, Jr.

      A coincdence worth exploiting, I should think.

      So GOOGLE is capable of great SUBTLETY.

      That's a revelation in and of itself.

      Delete
  3. Published in 1978.

    From Wikipedia:

    Poems
    And Still I Rise consists of 32 poems, divided into three parts.[17] The first part, entitled "Touch Me, Life, Not Softly", has been called "joyful"[18] and affirms the poet's strength as a woman and as a lover. Part Two, "Traveling", focus on the hardships, such as drug addiction, child abuse, inner-city life, and conditions in the Old South, that the author and others have experienced. Part Three, "And Still I Rise", which gets its name from the volume's title poem, reiterates the themes in Part One and emphasizes the strength she finds in herself and in her community.[18] The volume is dedicated to Jessica Mitford, Gerard W. Purcell, and Jay Allen, whom Angelou calls "a few of the Good Guys".


    More at the above link.

    I found the dedication interesting.

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    Replies
    1. All good information, for which I thank you, AOW, but I am MUCH more interested in how YOU –– and any others who stop by and LISTEN to the reading –– FEEL about Maya Angelou, as a person, as a poet, as an actress, and any particular impact you believe she may have had on American Life.

      Delete
    2. FT,
      It is a beautiful reading, and she certainly has the voice to make the words resonate.

      Is this particular poem a condemnation of racism as futile? Probably. And I've seen teaching materials along those lines for this particular poem.

      But I choose to read the poem in a different way.

      All of us must to overcome forces that push us down and walk all over us. What matters is how we react and deal with these blockades to living our lives.

      Delete
    3. PS: My feuding family on my mother's side colors my above commentary. Just a point of clarification in light of these words from the poem:

      Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
      I am the dream and the hope of the slave.


      One branch of my family seems determine to enslave (in a way) another branch of my family. Bad days -- and the grudge in East Tennessee continues to this day! My mother chose to walk away and "rise" in D.C.

      Delete
    4. FT,
      Did you check the individuals in the dedication of Still I Rise. Important, IMO.

      Delete
    5. FT,
      any particular impact you believe she may have had on American Life

      Often, Ms. Angelou's poems are used in classrooms to beat the drum of racism and divide us even more.

      I think that for black girls, she may well serve as an inspiration for them to explore poetry and to write their own poems. I hope that black girls so inspired will also read some classical poems (Shakespeare, Dickinson, Donne, Tennyson, etc.).

      Delete
    6. More about impact (from Discover the Networks, emphases mine:

      ...Angelou also participated extensively in the civil-rights movement, helping Malcolm X build his Organization of African American Unity and serving as northern coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

      In the early 1960s, Angelou championed Fidel Castro's rise to power in Cuba. Her first published story appeared in the Cuban periodical Revolucion. In September 1960, she was deeply moved by the sight of Castro's exhuberantly warm public embrace of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in New York, where both men were attending a United Nations session. “The Russians were O.K.,” Angelou later reminisced. “Of course, Castro never had called himself white, so he was O.K. from the git. Anyhow … as black people often said, 'Wasn't no Communist country that put my grandpappa in slavery. Wasn't no Communist lynched my poppa or raped my mamma.'”

      Also in the early Sixties, Angelou supported the anti-South African apartheid movement and worked as a journalist and editor in Egypt and Ghana.

      In the 1970s, Angelou was a political supporter of the Communists Bettina Aptheker and Angela Davis. Angelou praised Aptheker's 1975 book, The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis, as follows: "This book, written so beautifully, is on the face of it, Bettina Aptheker's story of the movement to free Angela Davis. That is the fact. The truth is deeper. Painful. Beautiful. Cry-making. It is a story of love. Love of people for people. Adults for children. And overall, more than human desire for freedom, the unquestionable human need for it. It is that truth that brought millions of people together to set Angela Davis free. Bettina Aptheker's understanding and support of that truth, her poetry and strength, set the readers on a loving quest for their own freedom." And Angelou and Davis both spoke at a launch party for Aptheker's book at San Jose State University -- an event that was arranged by local Communist Party comrades.

      [...]

      As the 2012 presidential election neared, Angelou predicted that Obama's detractors would inevitably give voice to their own inner racism: “I tell you we are going to see some nastiness, some vulgarity, I think. They’ll pull the sheets off.” In a 2012 interview with activist and MSNBC television host Al Sharpton, Angelou derided Obama's critics as “stupid,” “thick,” and “dense” people “who want to keep us polarized.”

      Also in 2012, Angelou was a keynote speaker at the national conference of the Children’s Defense Fund.

      In July 2013 Angelou spoke out about the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman, a “white Hispanic” man who had shot and killed a black Florida teenager named Trayvon Martin in a high-profile 2012 altercation. Lamenting that the jury verdict showed “how far we have to go” as a nation, Angelou said that the many protests which were being held on behalf of the dead teen were reminiscent of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.


      QUESTIONS:

      Does the above information matter when we read Maya Angelou's poems?

      SHOULD the above matter?

      Delete
    7. She fell victim, as many/most do, from a failure to find the "Divine mean" in pursuit of their ideological predispositions.

      Delete
    8. Farmer, thank you for such a pithy and apt description of a common malady.

      Delete
    9. AOW asks:

      Does the above information matter when we read Maya Angelou's poems?

      SHOULD the above matter?


      The short answer, of course, is NO!

      Ideally, when it comes to genuine art the political opinions, the morality – or lack thereof ––, the physical appearance,and personal foibles and predilections of the artist should have NO BEARING WHATSEOVER on how we receive their WORK.

      PERIOD!


      That said, I deplore the massive COMMUNIST INFLUENCE that shaped and directed much of the Civil RIghts Movement.

      At the same time I can understand, perhpas, WHY the NEGROES were so attracted to MARXISM –– can you?

      Please discuss, compare and contrast, etc.

      Delete
    10. From a purely "subjective" position, most perceive the World. What we all "objectively" take away from a description of that particular subjective position depends upon how universal/ objective and transferable/ relatable that experienced subjective position is.

      I can relate to feeling "dominated". I think we ALL can. As to the particulars of blackness and sexual difference, these, at least to me, are less important.

      Delete
    11. Oh, c'mon, Joe! Siyrely you've recognized the truth in David Hume's claim that "Reason is but the Slave of Passion by now, haven't you?

      "OBJECTIVITY" never has been and never will be part of the Human Condition.

      Only Almighty GOD is capable of overseeing and evaluating His Creation with anything-like-what-we-would-prefer-to-refer-to-as OBJECTIVITY.

      };^)>

      Delete
    12. FT,
      Ideally, when it comes to genuine art the political opinions, the morality – or lack thereof ––, the physical appearance,and personal foibles and predilections of the artist should have NO BEARING WHATSEOVER on how we receive their WORK.

      I'm not referring to foibles, etc., but rather to ideology that is blatantly obvious in certain artistic works.

      I think that I've reached "the saturation point" for anything and everything that promotes white guilt and promotes victimology. I've lost sympathy or empathy for such grievances. Enough!

      Delete
    13. Objectivity lies at the center of a Venn diagram of subjective experiences. That's what I'm saying.

      Delete
    14. Much as the "soul" is the objective center of a human "Ding an sich"...

      Skepticism Regarding Knowledge of Objective Reality. In response to Locke's line of thinking, Immanuel Kant used the expression “Ding an sich” (the “thing-in-itself”) to designate pure objectivity. The Ding an sich is the object as it is in itself, independent of the features of any subjective perception of it.

      Delete
    15. ...and btw - even G_d has experienced subjectivity through the "subjective life" of Jesus Christ.

      "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?"

      Delete
  4. Maya Angelou wrote wonderful poetry. I've read quite a few of her poems.

    Lately, though, the theme of racism has worn thin for me.

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    Replies
    1. Adiosa Tudalulu said

      You can way THAT again! SHEESH!

      Delete
  5. The Truth Has Been SpokenApril 4, 2018 at 8:49 AM

    ANOTHER DUMB, STUPID, AND MEANINGLESS BLOG FROM THE ONE TIME GREAT, BUT GREATNESS HAS LEFT HIM FREE THINKE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As usual:

      "We learn more about PETER from what he says about PAUL
      than we learn abut PAUL."

      Delete
  6. Lyric poetry like this has its' place. It contradicts the "epic" narrative and exposes the cynicism of the epic poet's platform (wealth and race, in this instance).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and yes, she reads it with "joy" and "pride".

      Delete
    2. FJ,
      she reads it with "joy" and "pride".

      No doubt!

      And a bit of humor, too.

      I note that the audience reacts perfectly.

      Yes, Maya Angelou was a stage presence -- and very effectively so.

      Delete
    3. A modern Archilochus, IMO...

      The shield I left because I must, poor blameless armament! beside a bush, gives joy now to some Saian, but myself I have saved. What care I for that shield? It shall go with a curse. I'll get me another e'en as good.

      A woman after Thersites own heart! ;)

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SORRY, but comments must at leastt ATTEMPT to relate to the content of the item posted.

      Delete
  8. Rapunzel Rumpelsriltskin-O'Rourke said

    NOT ONE SINGLE WORD ABUT MARTIN LUTHER KING'S ASSASSINATION AT EITHER DRUDGE or NEWS FORUM HOMEPAGE.

    I THINK THAT A DISGRACE.

    IT'S ALSO IMPOLITIC*.

    ___________________________

    *IMPOLITIC means: failing to possess or display prudence; unwise:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lance Morrow wrote a very personal piece on the subject at the generally-conservative City Journal

      https://www.city-journal.org/html/gift-grace-united-states-15802.html

      Delete
    2. Thank you,Silver. Please notice I've posted a truncated version of Morrow's nostalgic, elegiac piece below. Despite what-I-hope-were judicious cuts in the text, it still wound up being posted here in three parts

      I hope someone wil take the time to read it, and make thoughtful, critical comments. Hope in me never dies! ;-)

      ;-}

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. ________________________ NOTICE ________________________

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  10. I'm not fan of Miss Angelou's. AOW..you don't think there's a 'theme of racism' in THIS?! :-)

    Silverfiddle, are you surprised to find a piece honoring Dr King in a conservative journal?

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    1. Not surprised. City Journal does a nice job of bringing good stuff thankfully devoid of the stale tropes of both left and right.

      Rev King was a man of the left and he is celebrated by the left. There weren't too many conservatives marching with him. A few, but not many. That's just a historical fact.

      Maya Angelou has penned a beautiful and classy response to racists, and she shows us all how to rise above the negativity and threats directed against us.

      Delete
    2. The Screaming Quean said

      Change out "Niggers" for "Faggots," and Maya's words still fit the situation to a T. It's not abut racism. It's about prejudice, oppression, unkindness, lack of respect and common decency toward others not exactly like yourself.

      Delete
    3. Thank You. You are wise, I tip my hat to you.

      Delete
    4. Dr King was a Centrist, if you believe both sides on that subject. And yes, the leftists who marched with him were vocal, noticed and appreciated..as they well should have been.

      Perhaps (no, I'm definitely) I'm allowing what I know personally about Angelou to prohibit me from waxing too admiringly about her work .... but 'I Rise, I Rise' certainly is a wonderful aspect of the poem. I wish ALL people of all colors and ethnicities would know they could rise....that very few in America really want to see anyone 'broken...or lowered heads and eyes' as she laments.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous, to whom were you addressing that little piece of fulsome praise? The scent of pretentious, disingenuous cattle droppings lays heavy in the atmosphere whenever you make one of your numerous unwelcome appearances.

      We do not look kindly on the noisome antics of blatherskites on these premises.

      Delete
    6. Z,
      AOW..you don't think there's a 'theme of racism' in THIS?!

      I fully understand the background and ideology of this poem. But I, a white woman, CHOOSE to interpret the poem along different lines -- particularly with the new difficulties I've been facing the past week or so.

      Delete
  11. It has been said that the good die young. MLK's untimely and tragic death confirms the truth in the statement.

    Ms.Angelou was a talented and wise women. America is better for her having lived.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous...Dr King should never have died so young...it was a tragedy and we could use him today. At least, perhaps, he might have talked to our young people about doing better in school, not do drugs, don't kill each other; something I'd hoped so much that our last president would have done. but, sadly...

      Ms Angelou was a talented poet...she served a certain ideology very well.

      Delete
    2. There are many things Dr. King could and would have spoke to had he lived. The divine pursuit of correcting injustices among them.

      Yes, Ms. Angelou was a talented poet, and yes, she was idealistic and "served a certain ideology very well". Could not the same be said of many poets?

      Delete
    3. I think some would be surprised what Dr King would say today; so many are promoting divisiveness and he was so against that. Yes, I think many would be extremely surprised..or maybe not, since he'd have been around these many years working and maybe succeeding in solving the divisiveness....which has only become SO much worse particularly in the last 10 years when.
      Most poets don't push a divisive ideology, but we're talking about Angelou here.

      Delete
    4. Z,
      Most poets don't push a divisive ideology, but we're talking about Angelou here.

      I agree. I've reached the saturation point for divisive ideology, particularly based on race and "the sins of the past." Enough!

      Delete
    5. Most poets don't push a divisive ideology,
      lol!

      Archilochus of Paros. Sappho of Lesbos. Poets push the ideology of their desires.

      Delete
    6. For example, Odysseus would love epic poetry (ala 'Iliad') and Thersites (the most hated man in the Greek Army at Troy) would love a more "lyrical" poetry... until, the establishment paradigm flips.

      Delete
    7. ...and "comedy" replaces "tragedy" as the preferred theatre genre.

      Delete
    8. Anti-establishment poets are simply not "marketted" or have their works published and widely disseminated.

      Delete
    9. Lil Moco, like most poet-rappers, are mostly only followed within their social/ peer group/ class.

      Delete
    10. Of course, FT is my FAVE poet. ;)

      Delete
    11. He isn't quite MSM 'mainstream' though...

      Delete
    12. Of course, one of the greatest poets was Solon, Lawgiver of Athens. Who's poem, upon completion, became Athens Constitution... and Solon promptly disappeared.

      Some excerpts from Aristotle's record:

      I behold, and within my heart deep sadness has claimed its place,
      As I mark the oldest home of the ancient Ionian race
      Slain by the sword.

      But ye who have store of good, who are sated and overflow,
      Restrain your swelling soul, and still it and keep it low:
      Let the heart that is great within you he trained a lowlier way;
      Ye shall not have all at your will, and we will not for ever obey.

      But thus will the people best the voice of their leaders obey,
      When neither too slack is the rein, nor violence holdeth the sway;
      For indulgence breedeth a child, the presumption that spurns control,
      When riches too great are poured upon men of unbalanced soul.

      Delete
    13. I gave to the mass of the people such rank as befitted their need,
      I took not away their honour, and I granted naught to their greed;
      While those who were rich in power, who in wealth were glorious and
      great,
      I bethought me that naught should befall them unworthy their
      splendour and state;
      So I stood with my shield outstretched, and both were sale in its
      sight,
      And I would not that either should triumph, when the triumph was
      not with right.

      Delete
  12. Cyd Sniezer said

    Face it. Angelou was an arrogant, caustic, conceited, bitter old bitch. Yeah she could write, but the way she reads this poem of hers is full of sarcasm and vitriol. It's like having someone spit in your face to hear her read it.

    She was a professional Negress who decided early to be as uppity as she wanted and totally uncarng whether you liked it or not. Basically an obnoxious "in your face" kind of person who enjoyed capitalizing on her grievances, sticking it to "Whitey" and rubbing his nose in her contempt. She, herself, was one of the most ardent racists who ever lived.

    Talented? Yes, but her work has no universal significance, because it's all about her, her anger, her bitterness, her contempt for the white race and their culture. She was grotesquely egocentric, and nt a very nice person.

    Like most leftists she had no empathy or real concern for others, and never even dreaed of taking resonsibikuty for whatever went wrong in her life. In this regard she was a lot like Toni Morrison another Negromaniac.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, unfortunately. There's a sense of seething, bubbling rage and contempt for white society simmering –– like a toxic witch's brew –– just beneath the surface.

      Angelou was very clever with words, and as a performer could be lively, engaging, and downright MESMERIC, but a perceptive reader –– and particularly a LISTENER –– could not help be be aware that underneath nearly every phrase she is mentally THUMBING HER NOSE at Middle-Class White Americans.

      It's all, as someone said above, very "classy," but the elegance, cleverness and passion fail to mask her HATRED and CONTEMPT.

      Delete
    2. Mortimer O'Malley said

      Angelou was a pushy arrogant bitch all right, but would you want to have led her life?

      Delete
  13. ________ Martyr to a Cause ________

    Ghandi set the pattern for your feet ––
    Needing methods that could overthrow
    Ingrained –– entrenched –– Injustice you faced heat
    Ku-Klux-Klansmen lit to bring you low.
    Looking Terror squarely in the face
    Many would have flinched, but you stood firm.
    Relentlessly you gave courage to your race ––
    Oppressed –– assessed as lower than a worm!
    Truth and Courage were your sword and shield.
    Cleansing us from shame you spoke aloud
    Of mindless meanness –– our disgrace revealed.
    Despite denials, our heads are bowed.
    O, martyred man of God, you had one flaw*
    They say, but we look back on you with awe.


    ~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper, Winter 1996-97
    ___________________________
    *Like JFK, LBJ, and later William Jefferson Clinton Dr. King was compusively unfaithful to his wife with an inordinate vareity of white women. All those men were guilty of a severe form of spousal abuse, but non were ever held publuicly accountable for their grievous sin. Why was that? Because they were perceived as fighting for a just LEFTIST cause.

    ReplyDelete
  14. MANY THANKS to SILVER FIDDLE for DIRECTING US to this ESSAY

    PART ONE

    A Gift of Grace to the United States

    Reflections on Martin Luther King, Jr., 50 Years after His Assassination

    by Lance Morrow [truncated by FT]

    The City Journal

    April 2, 2018

    On Sunday night, March 31, 1968, Travis and I sat drinking beer and watching a black-and-white television set in an apartment in Greenwich Village. Lyndon Johnson was delivering yet another of his mournful, hound-dog addresses to the nation about Vietnam. But this time, he ended with a surprise: he would abdicate. He would remove himself from the melodrama. He would not seek reelection in 1968. …. It took a moment for this to sink in. Then Travis and I whooped, and went out to finish getting drunk.

    Travis Williams was a classmate of mine … a black man, the son of a Durham, North Carolina barber. Travis had gone to Exeter on a scholarship and to Harvard as a National Merit Scholar. His father hated all white men and bitterly warned his son against them. Travis—a tall, rollicking, complicated guy who was very smart and drank too much—had a contrary view . … Many of his friends were white. He was succeeding quite handsomely in the white world; …

    LBJ’s abdication … was one of the early earthquakes of 1968. At Time, we settled down to write about Johnson’s withdrawal … We had our stories written or half-written by Thursday night, April 4, and a group of us … went off for dinner at a Greek restaurant in the West Fifties. In half an hour, the owner bustled over with the news that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot in Memphis. We leapt up, paid the check, and by the time we were back at the office, the flash was on the AP ticker that King had died.

    Travis called me up from a bar somewhere and shouted: “I’m getting pretty sick of this shit!” He slammed down the phone.

    I mention personal details … because, 50 years later, the two are mingled inseparably …

    Anyway, the great public issue of race in America is always intensely personal. …

    I first met Martin Luther King, Jr., for a moment, at a labor union convention in Buffalo in the summer of 1960. I … was working a summer job as a reporter for the Buffalo Evening News. King gave a speech. I forget the subject. I made my way through the crowd of labor leaders, up to the stage, and I shook King’s hand and, with what were no doubt excesses of sincerity, told him how much I admired him. It was true.

    One of the things that distinguished King was his air of gravity … His body English was like his prose: stately, with restrained Biblical embellishments … There in Buffalo, he appraised me for a second …and replied slowly, “Thank you verra much!”

    It happened that my father, who worked for Nelson Rockefeller, knew King pretty well. My father handled Rockefeller’s dealings with King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and knew not only King but his lieutenants … The Rockefeller family for many years had given money to black Baptist institutions in the South, to Spelman College, for example. King came to New York frequently, and sometimes my father lent him our Ford station wagon. I would ferry the car to King over at the house in Riverdale where he was staying. I would hand over the keys. (Thank you verra much). One time, King sheepishly returned the car with a dent in the side. He was abashed and charming. He wanted to have the dent fixed, but we would not hear of it. The dent remained—the Martin Luther King Dent, a cherished family relic.

    (CONTINUED)

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    1. PART TWO

      I admired Martin Luther King as much as I admired any American … I felt—still do—a reverence for him.

      Charisma is Greek for “a gift of grace.” King was a gift of grace to the United States—a country that may have been unworthy of the gift, or else unable to understand it.

      Toward the end of his life, blacks had given up—a bit—on King and his ways. With amiable humor, they called him “De Lawd.” Travis referred to him that way. Some even used the lethal term, “Uncle Tom.” The Nobel Prize—a suspect apotheosis, bestowed by Whitey—subtly discredited him in contrast with black firebrands … who meant to take the passive out of passive resistance. King was getting to be passé— your father’s station wagon.

      Few Americans have shown more courage than the civil rights workers in the South in the early 1960s: the Freedom Riders and others, those working for voter registration and access to public accommodations.

      One night in the summer of 1964, I was on a late shift at the old Washington Star. A long-distance call came in to the city desk from Sunflower County, Mississippi. I heard a frightened young voice coming from a house way out in the dark Mississippi countryside—a civil rights worker who told me that she just wanted someone to know that she was out there in the middle of the night and scared to death, and that now and then she heard a pickup truck. We talked for a long time. Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman had disappeared a few weeks earlier from Philadelphia, Mississippi. Their bodies would be found in the earthen dam where Klansmen buried them.

      The most conspicuous and vulnerable of them all was Martin Luther King. He saw it coming (“I may not get there with you”), but he never stopped. His gift to the country … was his miraculous example of grace and courage. People associated the phrase “grace under pressure” with John Kennedy, but it more aptly applied to King. … [T]here came with him a motif of forbearance, of forgiveness—good manners on an exalted level.

      Kennedy in the 1960 election made an acid remark about Richard Nixon: “No class.” No one in that time had more class than Martin Luther King.

      (CONTINUED)

      Delete
    2. PART THREE

      Years later, in 1982, I was in Alabama to have a look at George Wallace’s last gubernatorial race. Wallace … had unspeakably bad manners, especially toward blacks … and the power to inflict humiliation … Yet I found, to my astonishment, that, in 1982, more than a few black Alabamians supported him. They found it in themselves to forgive him. (He had apologized that time in Birmingham, they said, and anyway, he was doing a lot for the people by starting up community colleges.) That seemed to me a very definition of grace—a blessing entirely unmerited but bestowed by the promptings of a good heart. …

      Wallace had been in a wheelchair for ten years, after being shot down and crippled in a Laurel, Maryland parking lot by an assassin during the 1972 presidential campaign. Now, on Labor Day a decade later, he sat in his wheelchair on a small flatbed metal stage … and he communed with the people, white and black, who filed quietly past. He reached out his hands to them, consoling and almost, one thought, healing. I wrote … at the time: “He has the nimbus of saint and martyr—or at any rate, of a celebrity who has passed through the fire and the greater world: he has come back to them … with powder burns.”

      Wallace—though in great pain— survived his assassin’s bullet. Martin Luther King did not. Such outcomes are mysterious. Grace was at work: even a sinner like George Wallace might find shelter and be … redeemed by the atmosphere of King’s example. The words “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do” reverberated, as if in some obscure moral negotiation, between Memphis, Tennessee and Laurel, Maryland.

      I find the entire year 1968 to be a sermon whose lesson is indecipherable, even 50 years later. There were four deaths that were decisive … Two were public and two private; two were black, and two were white. Nineteen sixty-eight was Moloch. These were blood sacrifices.

      The public deaths: Martin Luther King, in early April; Bobby Kennedy, in early June. The private deaths: at the end of January, just at the time of the Tet offensive, my younger brother Mike, 17, died in Memorial Hospital on 68th Street of an obscure cancer that attached itself to his lung; in May, my friend Travis Williams, 28, burst a blood vessel in his brain. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Village. We did not see that one coming.

      [NOTE: Lance Morrow, 78, is the Henry Grunwald Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Cente. He was an essayist at Time for many years.]

      Delete
  15. This verse detracts from the poem, IMO:

    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I've got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?


    It actually plays into the black stereotype of blacks being oversexed, even promiscuous.

    Just sayin'.

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    Replies
    1. Addendum: it also plays into the stereotype of blacks having a superior sense of rhythm -- which seems to have become one of those things we whites are forbidden to mention.

      Delete
    2. I don't think it was intended to do that so much as to instill, like many other parts of the poem, a sense of "shame" in those who might still support a White "patriarchy". In others words, she's not only Black, but she's also a "feminist". Miscegenation was a taboo which had survived the post-Civil War period. That a White man might find her sexually desirable, might begin to "value her" (as diamonds) sexuality, is a sign of approaching/ impending racial "equality" (marriage is a pre-requisite for binding communities together, Plato "Statesman").

      Delete
    3. To see a black woman, and a priori "exclude" her from consideration as a potential wife/mate, is a sign of a racism not confronted.

      Delete
    4. Kenneth Claggart said

      Okay, then back that up by telling your daughter she'll be disinherited if she doesn't marry a Negro.

      Delete
    5. ...to a priori exclude Whites would be just another sign of a racism not confronted.

      Delete
    6. btw - I've already told her that she'll be disinherited if she marries a woman.

      That's NOT racism. That's "sexism".

      Delete
  16. Reverend Dave, even the Mexican AmbassadorApril 5, 2018 at 7:30 AM

    Dr. King was the Greatest speaker this country has ever seen. And perhaps the smartest, and most influential man the country has ever Dad.
    Bar none!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. America suffers no shortage of great speakers. It does, however, suffer from a dearth of great listeners.

      Delete
    2. It does however, suffer from a dearth of great listeners.

      That's the smokin truth -FJ.

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  22. Replies
    1. Sorry, but 88 represents an annoying white supremacy symbol (the number of comments to this post preceding the 89th above).

      Delete
  23. FreeThinke is disgusting. An unashamed racist pig. A bigot. An antisemite. A vicious bully. A nasty piece of work. He's also an absolute fool who deson't know his ass from a hole in the ground. FreeThinke ought to tied to a post and shot dead.

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    1. Oh GOSH, Anonymous! I hope you'll return one day and tell us how you REALLY feel. };^)>

      Meanwhile, I recommend the advisability of your taking a chill pill.

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I don't think so. I just checked, and he posted at Progressive Eruptions on April 3. WYD is closed to comments indefinitely, so we can't check there. He's not allowed here, and not welcome anywhere else I know except PE.

      I'd be very careful if I were you about spreading unconfirmed rumors.

      PS: f you really are THE Lisa who publishes Who's Your Daddy? I want you to knpw that I've been praying for your husband –– and you –– every day since you told us of his illness.

      Delete
    2. FYI: The comment above removed by its author after i responded to it informed us that "RN has bitten the dust."

      I tell you that only to help make my response understandable –– jist in case you care. ;-)

      Delete

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