The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Maya Angelou": A Jon Randal Tribute To Our History

I was thinking I was just going to post Maya Angelou quotes tonight, but I see I don't really have to, because I have some very great friends who are also posting her words and honoring Maya Angelou as well. I am fortunate to call them friends, I am fortunate that they appreciate Maya Angelou's words, wisdom, and spirit.

So, I'm going to re-share something again, something I posted before, something that I think Maya Angelou would have wanted us to remember, something she have wanted us to remember, something she courageously fought for - civil rights and equality. This is the story behind this iconic photo, which occurred on this date, May 28, 1963. This is about the sit-in in Mississippi. These sit-ins occurred around the country at that time.

The first sit-in was at the North Carolina Woolworth, which is now a museum. The museum organization awards an International Civil and Human Rights Award. The award is given to someone whose life work has contributed to the expansion of civil and human rights. This is the museum's highest citation. In 1998, the winner of that honor was Maya Angelou.

Sometimes I get questioned as to why I bring up things that have occurred in the past, especially things that others may want to forget or pretend it never happened. I posted my personal comments in the post below, why I write as I do, why I think it's important to remember. As Maya Angelou once said, "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again."

I've often posted a pic of a side of a house with the words painted on it, "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes." I've tried on this page to retell stories of courage, of people who stood up against hatred and ignorance. Here's another story that you need to know about:

Fifty years ago, on this day, May 28, 1963, a racially mixed group of students and faculty staged a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter in Mississippi’s capital city. They did nothing wrong, and was sitting there peacefully.

But, at the time, dining facilities were strictly segregated. Soon, a white mob formed. According to one of the student protesters, Anne Moody, who wrote in her 1968 memoir, “Coming of Age in Mississippi,” “all hell broke loose” after she and two other black students, Memphis Norman and Pearlena Lewis, prayed at the lunch counter when the mob started becoming aggressive. One man threw Norman unto the floor, then slapped Moody for being with a black man, then another man threw her against another counter.

Soon, the Jackson police arrived, but instead of protecting the protesters, they just watched as 300 angry whites were allowed to attack the peaceful protesters at will. Some of the students were beaten, and one was knocked unconscious. Others were doused with ketchup, mustard and sugar, as this historic photo shows.

Medgar Evers, Mississippi leader of the NAACP, helped organize the boycott and the sit-in. Two weeks later, Evers was assassinated outside his family’s home on June 12, 1963.

I retell these stories because I think people need to know our history, need to know that hatred and fear still exists out there today. Just read your newsfeed, the newspapers, or watch the television news. Some of these occurrences are not covered by the media, just like some of these historic events such as this story above or the other one I posted about slaves and the first Memorial Day, are not in your history books. Other occurrences of racism, intended or not, such as how the media treated Charles Ramsey, are masked and manifest themselves in other forms. And, hatred is not only directed at the color of someone's skin, it also rears its ugly shape in the way we treat other differences, whether it is religion, sexual orientation, culture, disability, age, you name it, we as a society will find a way to hate what we don't know.

But, here's the point of this post. Not all people are haters. Not all people just stand by and watch. There are a few people who will stand up and say this is wrong, this is not right. There will always be heroes among us who will speak, even when their voice shakes. We need to recognize these people, we need to acknowledge their courage, and we need to stand by them. After all, these may be the same people who may one day be the only ones standing up for us.

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