Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights Movement’

Remembering Myles Horton

July 5, 2014

On July 5, 1905, Myles Horton was born in Savannah, Tennessee. He co-founded the Highlander Folk School, famous for its active participation in the civil rights movement.
Here is a great interview by Bill Moyers to Myles Horton. Check out Myles speak on education. His thoughts are vitamins to my soul. If you like Paulo Freire, you will love Myles Horton.

The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

April 4, 2014

Today is the death anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. To remember his legacy I came across this well done documentary that explains how the FBI assassinated MLK. Check it out and share it to those who may find it useful.

Long Live Ella Baker

November 13, 2013

Today is the birthday and death anniversary of one of the most famous unsung heroes in our country. Ella Baker. She would have been 110 years old. Today is her 27th death anniversary. Ella Baker was the type of revolutionary that understood that the movement is not about being the one who gets more exposure or the person that everyone talks about. She was all about the people. She was the type of revolutionary who dedicated her life to the struggle of human rights, the type of person that clearly understood that one doesn’t have to get the limelight to fight for freedom of others. She the female version of Bayard Rustin. Both of them did so much for the civil rights movement behind the scenes. 

So much can be written about Ella Baker. What matters is that we apply her teachings and implement her ideas on grassroots organizing to systemically change our system. The best way to honor and pay tribute to Ella Baker is to get involved and organize our communities. Continue to fight for the human rights of all people. She once famously said, “We who in believe in Freedom cannot rest.” 

We who believe in Freedom cannot rest when our country continues to invade and occupy foreign countries.

We who believe in Freedom cannot rest when Palestinians continue to be treated like 2nd class citizens in their own land and Israel continues to have the apartheid wall.

We who believe in Freedom cannot rest when NSA has already invaded the privacy of most Americans and tapped all cell phones, read our emails and listen to the conversations of foreign leaders.

We who believe in Freedom cannot rest when homelessness continues to be an issue that people ignore and countries nationwide are criminalizing people for sleeping on the streets.

We who believe in Freedom cannot rest until we as a people start changing and realizing that the reason of our existence lies in using our gifts for the greater good of Humanity. When we are able to recognized that the beauty of life is found in upholding the human rights of all people and providing people with the basic human needs and working to abolish systems that seek to impose barriers on people’s dignity, human rights and way of life, then only then will we rest. Until then, we who believe in Freedom cannot rest.

Here is a great article about Ella Baker.

Here is my favorite song that honors Ella Baker.

Jackie Robinson Fan Shares Thoughts on 42 The Movie

July 16, 2013

42 Press ReleaseJackie Robinson Fan Shares Thougts on 42 The Movie

I had the great fortune to be one of the selective few to see 42 before it came out in theaters. I went to a pre-screen in Glendale, CA and was given a paper to share my comments and thoughts on the film. I went ahead and gave them my humble opinion on the film coming from a die hard Jackie Robinson fan. I have seen the movie about 3 times and this last one was at Dodger Stadium. The writer didn’t seem to take notice on my input, so I will share my thoughts on the film.

As a Jackie Robinson fan, I am thankful that someone took the time and energy to make a film on Mr. Robinson. 42, the true story of an American Legend, as it was coined takes the viewer on what Jackie Robinson had to go through before he broke Baseball’s color barrier line in 1947. It spends a great deal on the years before ’47 and then the rest of the movie is based on Jackie’s first year with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I appreciated the part of the movie when Jackie was staying in Sanford, Fl, but was forced to leave due to receiving threats by white supremacist. Seeing the town Sanford made me think of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman being set free. I guess when put in context, Sanford has a history of being on the other side of justice and equality.

There are a lot of great moments in the movie. One of the most emotional scenes is when the Phillies manager keeps saying racial slurs to Jackie as he batting. When Jackie makes an out and goes into the dugout tunnel, he loses it. The first time I saw that scene I cried. Everytime I see it I get emotional.

42, is a good hollywood movie. But, I don’t know what was the ultimate goal of this film. If the goal was to show movie goers the struggles that Jackie Robinson went thru then I guess they succeeded. If it was to show Jackie, an American Legend, it failed.

Jackie Robinson is an American Legend and no one can deny that. But, 42, did not show anything that would make Americans who are not Baseball fans understand why Robinson is a legend.

The Baseball community has already embraced Jackie as an American Legend and we honor him every April 15 as we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day. Baseball remembers the day he broke baseball’s color barrier line and tries to use April 15 to carry his spirit and message of courage and determination as a reminder to all its players and fans of the struggles that Jackie went through to pave the way of our favorite baseball players.

The fact that the movie centers only on 1946 and ’47 does not give Robinson’s life any justice. The movie doesn’t mention anything about Jackie being forced to take all the hate and racial slurs for 2 years. It doesn’t make any reference to 1949, when he was allowed to speak his mind, when the Dodgers brought in Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe, making them the first African American battery in Major League Baseball. It doesn’t mention how in 1949, he was the National Leagues’ MVP.

Jackie Robinson would soon understand that he was a commodity for baseball, saying, “America’s favorite color is green.” And, “Money is America’s God.”

What the film failed to show was Jackie Robinson’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Before, Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, Jackie had done the same thing in 1945 and got court martial for it. The film made a brief reference but could’ve gone a little further. Jackie was a social conscious person who shared the same spirit of Roberto Clemente, as he famously stated, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Jackie lived by this quote. Now that he was able to speak his mind, Robinson publicly called the New York Yankees, a racist organization for not hiring a black player 5 years after he broke baseball’s apartheid system. After baseball, he was greatly involved in the struggles to better the lives of African Americans. One could see him with Martin Luther King, Jr. and sharing King’s nonviolent strategy on the Civil Rights Movement. He had his differences with Malcolm and those were publicly chronicled.

Jackie Robinson started a construction company to build affordable housing for African Americans. He join other picketers on the front lines protesting the lack of construction jobs given to African Americans. And in his autobiography, I Never Had It Made, he went on to say, “I cannot possibly believe I have it made while so many of my black brothers and sisters are hungry, inadequately housed, insufficiently clothed, denied their dignity as they live in slums or barely exist on welfare. I cannot say I have it made while our country drives full speed ahead to deeper rifts between men and women of varying colors, speeds along a course towards more and more racism.” Robinson later on adds, “I have devoted and dedicated my life to service…till every child can have an equal opportunity in youth and manhood; until hunger is not only immoral but illegal; until hatred is recognized as a disease, a scourge, an epidemic, and treated as such; until racism and sexism and narcotics are conquered and until…that day Jackie Robinson and no one else can say he has it made.”

The movie failed to show this other side of Robinson, the side that would have made non baseball fans understand why Jackie is an American Legend. They would have had several references to why Robinson is one of the unknown American Legends aside from breaking baseball’s color barrier line.

To give 42 justice would have been to make a movie that broadly chronicles Robinson’s life during and after his playing career. A better name for the movie would have been 1947: How Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s apartheid system.

Here is a great article that people will find interesting to read.

The court martial of Jackie Robinson

July 7, 2011

On July 6, 1944, Jackie Robinson refused to move to the back of an Army bus. The bus driver had the military police take Jackie into custody. During the questioning phase, Jackie felt that he was being asked racist questions and later confronted the investigating duty officer over his questioning. Jackie was court martial and charge with several charges including drinking in public, even though Jackie was not a drinker. When the court martial came around in August, 1944, Jackie was only charged with two counts of insubordination during his questioning. Jackie Robinson was acquitted by an all white panel of nine officers.

This is the Jackie Robinson that very few people know. The Jackie who always had the passion for justice and equality. Jackie Robinson had the courage to refuse to move to the back of the bus way before Rosa Parks did. I like to say that Jackie played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement. Although, he is best known for carrying his struggle in the baseball diamond, Jackie was a political activist by heart.

I admire Jackie Robinson for the amazing human being that he was. What Jackie’s court martial tells us today is that our “justice” system has not change at all. It continues to be a racist fucked up system.

Here is what I wrote about Jackie Robinson back in April. Check it out.

Here is the movie trailer of the court martial of Jackie Robinson. Enjoy it.

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Remembering Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2011
Today is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. Today we remember Jackie breaking baseball’s color barrier line in 1947. All managers, coaches and players will be wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. As a Jackie Robinson fan, I am very happy that Major League Baseball retired his number in 1997 and for the past several years have honored Jackie Robinson on April 15th. I have always felt that Jackie Robinson is not only an iconic figure in the baseball world but should be remembered by all Americans. I think America needs to have a national holiday to remember the life of Jackie Robinson. A national holiday that will include a day of community service. Jackie Robinson would not have it any other way. Jackie was so humble that if he was alive today and seeing Major League Baseball using April 15th to honor him, Jackie would be the first one to say that he rather have Major League Baseball be dedicated to the needs of the community where there is a baseball team. He would still be addressing the issues of justice and equality in our society.

Number 42 to me is not only my favorite number but according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, number 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.” If that is the case, I would go as far as to say that Jackie’s number 42 was a code for America to change its evil ways. No longer must White baseball players play the game of baseball by discriminating players for the color of their skin. No longer must people of color be forced to go to separate bathrooms, stay in different hotels, eat isolated from White people, and be forced to live under an American Apartheid.

Jackie not only demonstrated America’s need to change its inhumane rules by the way he played the game but more importantly, how he carried himself in the baseball diamond. In order for the “noble experiment” to work, Jackie was forced to take all the abuse from white racist fans and opposing players. Even his own teammates didn’t want to play next to him or even share the same clubhouse. But, Jackie knew that many of his teammates didn’t care about the color Black but about the color Green. Robinson knew that as long as the Dodgers won a pennant or the World Series, he was helping his teammates get a good paycheck. Jackie once said, “Money is America’s God.” And to this day, this quote echoes throughout the whole world.

What people don’t know about Jackie is that even before he broke baseball’s color barrier line in 1947, he was always dedicated to the values of justice and equality. Once when he was in the military, he refused to get up from his seat and sit in the back of the bus. Jackie Robinson was court martial for standing up for his rights. In the military he and Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Joe Louis, advocated for the equal rights of African-American Soldiers. While Rosa Parks played an instrumental role in the Civil Rights Movement, I like to say that it was Jackie Robinson on July 6, 1944 who was probably the first African American to refuse his seat while riding a bus.

After retiring from baseball, Jackie played a tremendous role in American politics. He continued to fight for the rights of African-Americans in all sectors. He criticized the New York Yankees for being a team that only hired white people. He protested companies who didn’t hired African-Americans. On August 2, 1963, he joined workers who were picketing the construction site of Downstate Medical Center for allegations that Blacks were being discriminated from the hiring process. Jackie Robinson became great friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK once said, “Jackie Robinson was a legend and a symbol in his own time.”  In 1964, he co founded the Freedom National Bank, a commercial bank owned by African Americans and operated in Harlem, New York. Jackie was not only a co founder but he served as the bank’s first Chairman of the Board. Jackie also championed for the equal rights in the housing sector. His concern for the racial segregation in the housing sector and the conditions that African American families were living in, inspired Jackie Robinson to start The Jackie Robinson Construction Company in 1970 to construct housing for low income families. Jackie Robinson was one of America’s true pioneers during the Civil Rights Movement and people should not forget about that.

It is my tradition to go to Dodger Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day. Tonight I will proudly wear my Jackie Robinson jersey. I wear number 42 understanding that I continue Jackie’s legacy of fighting for justice and equality. I owe a tremendous gratitude to Jackie Robinson for the amazing human being that he was.

Jackie Robinson is not only my hero but a source of my inspiration. No human being should go through what Jackie Robinson went through. His courage and unbending spirit are like no other. Jackie Robinson lived his life with a purpose. He understood that our lives are to be used to make our world a better place. Jackie is quoted as saying, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Enjoy this great video on Jackie Robinson

Here are various pics of me wearing #42 to pay tribute to Jackie,
whether I’m throwing out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium,
riding a camel in the Jasailmer desert in India, playing softball
or just watching a Dodger game on Jackie Robinson Day.

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