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Friday, July 17, 2015

Historical Events and Other News

The Memphis Sanitation Strike started on February 12, 1968. Only 38 of the 180 trucks moved during the beginning of the strike . Mayor Loeb makes the premise that the strike is illegal since he wanted to reject any recognition of any public union in he city. He talked to people, but Loeb refused to budge. An International Union official flies in from Washington to meet the mayor. He calls for union recognition, dues checkoff, and negotiation to resolve the workers’ grievances. The Mayor said that he’ll new workers or scabs unless the strikers return to their jobs. There were people who protested in front of Loeb’s house. They were 7 black people and 4 white people. They were young people, made up of males and females, and they were sponsored by the NAACP. The NAACP wanted to escalate the strike in a more militant nonviolent direction. Some of the labor union members wanted to solely focus on economic issues while the black strikers and other black activists wanted the strike to be both about economic issues and racial justice. Many sanitation strikers would lose their jobs and income. So, church organizations and other political groups would provide the strikes with money and food. Activist Cornelia Crenshaw would provide the strikers with food too. Taylor Blair, T. O. Jones, Cornelia Crenshaw, Reverend Bell, City Council member J. O. Patterson Jr., and others were in a rally to discuss plans for the future. Clayborn Temple was a key staging ground for the protesters and the other activists who wanted the Memphis Sanitation workers to form a union. One of the strongest leaders in this movement was Rev. James Lawson. Like Dr. King, Reverend Lawson was a pacifist and he believed in nonviolent resistance. The Memphis NAACP endorsed the strike. AFSCME International Jerry Wurf arrived on February 18 on Sunday to support the strike movement. The Ministerial Association arranged a meeting between the Mayor and union leaders moderated by the Memphis Rabbi James Wax. Wurf accused Rabbi James Wax of being too moderate toward the Mayor in terms of negotiations. The NAACP and others stage an all-night vigil and picketed at city hall. On February 20, 1968, the union and the NAACP call for a citywide boycott of downtown merchants. Tensions would rise as the strikers (including the city Council subcommittee headed by Councilman Fred Davis) urged that the city recognize the union. On February 23, 1968, the Council refused to recognize the union. Strikes on that day march on Main Street. The strikers are brutally assaulted unjustly by the police on that day. The cops pushed the protesters first. Later, one car ran over the foot of Gladys Carpenter, who was a black woman and a protester. Other protesters were struck with mace for no reason. A 60 year old black man was brutally assaulted by the police. The protesters were nonviolent, but the police had shotguns, rifles, and billy clubs to assault people. A black photographer Whittier Sengstacke Jr. photographed this movement too. He said that Ciampa was hit by mace and sanitation workers carried him away. Gillis was assaulted. On Saturday on February 24, Black leaders and ministers form a city wide organization to support the strike and the boycott. This organization was called COME or the Community on the Move for Equality. Carl Montgomery and other strikers used the “I AM A MAN” placard on themselves to march in Memphis. The city gets a court injunction to try to stop union from staging demonstrations or picketing on February 24, which was draconian and against the First Amendment. The ministers call on their congregation to boycott and march in the streets. The Mayor still refused to back down. The Union filed suit in federal court over the evil injunction on February 29.

On March 1, the Mayor met with black ministers and the windows of his home were broken. He blamed the strikers, which is ludicrous. A federal judge rejects the union’s suit. The community of Memphis on March 3 show support for the strikers by rising money and there is an eight hour gospel singing marathon at Mason Temple (which raised money for the strikers). The mayor opposed State Senator Frank White proposing bill to create state mediation board to resolve the impasse. On March 5, ministers announced the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will come to Memphis as 116 strikers and supporters are arrested for sitting in at city hall. Seven union leaders are given 10 day sentences and fines for contempt of court on March 6. Strikers on that day stage a mock funeral at city hall lamenting the death of freedom in Memphis. The City Council voted against the dues checkoff proposal on the next day. There are trash fires in South Memphis. The supporters of the strikers are blamed for them. Most of the Memphis newspapers support Mayor Loeb and his supporters and most newspapers demonize the strikers in classist, racist terms. During all of this time, the MPD (or the Memphis Police Department), the FBI, and the Military Intelligence services would illegally monitor the activists, the strikers, union leaders, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Even Memphis police leader Frank Holloman of Memphis had extensive ties to the FBI. The youth including students would skip high school to participate in the march in March 11, led by black ministers. 2 students were arrested. There is also the existence of the Invaders. Many founders of the Invaders were Charles Cabbage and other young people. The Invaders promoted Black Power and wanted to end white racism. They viewed the ministers as too moderate and out of touch with the youth. The Invaders had suspicions about Dr. King in the beginning, because of his promotion of nonviolence, but later they allied with him as a bridge between the ministers and the youth activists. National NAACP leader Roy Wilkins and Bayard Rustin in March would speak to strikers. The scabs only operate 90 garbage trucks by mid-March. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Memphis, TN on March 18. He wanted Memphis to be successful before he implements fully the Poor Peoples Campaign. He sends his SCLC team with him (which includes people like Ralph Abernathy, Orange, Jesse Jackson, Bevel, etc.). In a rally, Dr. King speaks to about 17,000 Memphians in Mason Temple. He spoke about economic justice and he called for a citywide march on March 22, 1968.

A snowstorm in Memphis blocked Dr. King’s return. The march comes in March 28, 1968. It fails since some people were violent and broke windows. The police overreacted. The police killed on 16 year teenager named Larry Payne. They used tear gas. They assaulted people. They ran people to churches and assaulted people near a church and used tear gas near a church. 280 people are arrested and about 60 people are injured. There was a curfew and National Guardsmen move in.  Dr. King and the 14 labor leaders are dismayed, but they carry on. On March 29, 300 sanitation workers and ministers marched peacefully and silently from Clayborn Temple to City Hall. They were escorted by five armored personnel carriers, five jeeps, three military trucks and dozens of Guardsmen with bayonets fixed. President Johnson and AFL-CIO President George Meany offer assistance in resolving the dispute, but Loeb turns them down. March 31, 1968 was when Dr. Martin Luther King in the National Cathedral called for peace, an end to the Vietnam War, and economic justice. On April 1, the curfew is lifted. The funeral to of Larry Payne happened in April 2, 1968. Hundreds attend his funeral. The National Guard was soon withdrawn from Memphis.  Dr. King met with the Invaders at first  in April 3, 1968. The Invaders during that day refused to promote nonviolence in the upcoming march in Memphis.  Dr. King calmed other SCLC members who are angry at the Invaders (since they were accused of acting as agent provocateurs whom some of the Invaders vehemently deny). Now, we do know that Marrell McCullough (who was once an Army MP) was an undercover Memphis police agent back then. He was a mole. He joined the CIA in 1974, so Marrell is a traitor. Marrell McCullough  infiltrated the Invaders group. We know about COINTELPRO, which was an FBI program, which was formed to harm the anti-war, civil rights, labor, and other progressive movements.  Many FBI agents were in Memphis to illegally monitor the movement too. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is served an injunction to prevent him from leading public marches. Dr. King decides to go forward regardless. Members of the 111th Military Intelligence Group of the U.S. Army Military Intelligence monitored Dr. King illegally (and they had an office in the downtown Memphis federal building). The night of April 3 was stormy in Memphis. Ralph Albernathy had to call Dr. King from the Lorraine Hotel to come to the Mason Temple. On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say his final public speech, which would be the historic “I Have a Dream Speech” in Mason Temple. After the speech, the crowd in the church cheered in aplause.  On April 4, 1968, Dr. King convinces the Invaders to promote a peaceful march in Memphis (which was planned to occur days later).

There certainly must be a discussion on this issue. Once again, Amandla Stenberg has expressed so many excellent points that I lost count. The double standard is real where non-blacks can try to mimic or try to imitate (but they can’t duplicate) beautiful black physical features and they are called “groundbreaking” by many in society, while black women with natural features are readily demonized by pro-white supremacists and even some people of color. This misogynoir mindset much change. The myth of the superiority of white, Eurocentric features has hurt so many people. That myth is racist, sexist, and it has no place in a progressive society. There should always be the reiteration of the beauty of blackness and that black women’s dreams and humanity must be respected. I respect Amandla’s great, eloquent, and accurate commentaries, because the status quo must end. People are hurting and action is needed to make sure that all black women are liberated. Liberation doesn’t just deal with human rights, though human rights must exist for all people. Liberation is about people having the right to make their own choices in their own lives without authoritarian control and without any form of oppression. I wish the best for the genius Amandla. I heard the recent words of the heroic members of the family of Eric Garner saying that the settlement is not justice. The family is right. This oppression going on in NYC is nothing new. Black people in NYC executed a courageous slave revolt during the 1700's. We have Adam Clayton Powell, Malcolm X, Ella Baker, Shirley Chisholm, and other people in NYC who fought for justice. Pantaleo and other criminals involved in the murder of Brother Eric Garner deserve prison time. Patrick Lynch should definitely be fired for outright advocating near mutiny and Ed Mullins for his offensive statements.

The death of Sandra Bland is a total tragedy. I have read more about this story. Sandra Bland was stopped, because she was accused of an improper lane violation. That is very rare for a cop to stop someone over. Multiple cops arrested her and Sandra complained that her head was slammed to the ground. I don't believe that the Texas Rangers should investigate this case as many of them love the Blue Wall than freedom and justice. We know about the epidemic of police terrorism in America. Any investigation must be a full, independent investigation. Not to mention that surveillance video footage of the jail certainly must be researched. Nothing can be ruled out as it pertains to the cause of her death including murder. Sandra's relatives deserve the truth and justice. Clutch should be greatly commended for showing this story. It's a shame that many media outlets refuse to show the stories about the lives of black women. There is a serious problem of police misconduct in the world. That is why the #SayHerName movement has been courageous to speak the truth that black women lives matter. The lives of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray have equal value to the lives of Sandra Bland, Aiyanna Jones, and Rekia Boyd.

#Black Women Lives Matter.

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