Years After Martin Luther
By Frosty Wooldridge
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, I lived in Albany, Georgia with my U.S. Marine Corps father at the Marine Corps Supply Center. I can’t remember which dates, but King spoke in Albany.
Having been integrated all my life as a service brat, I didn’t think segregation made any sense. To this day, I enjoy African-American friends, Hispanic friends and several other friends of different races. I taught school in the inner city for two years and I attend a church in Denver with many races represented. I continue to teach as a 23 year volunteer at the National Sports Center for the Disabled where I teach all races, creeds and colors—how to ski.
To this day, King’s “I have a dream” speech continues to inspire. However, it didn’t change America at that moment. It took armed National Guard troops to push for blacks to attend colleges in Alabama and Mississippi. It took bussing to bring blacks into white schools and whites into black schools.
Still, age old racism, which still continues around the world in China, Japan, Africa, Mexico, South America, Europe, Canada and many, many other countries—maintains a vice-like grip on most civilizations. Unfortunately, in my world travels, I discovered that it remains biological and tribal. Virtually all races practice racism to some degree or other. At some point, all races must come to respect one another’s right to live a decent life on this planet.
At my Dougherty High School, Albany, Georgia, where it once sustained mostly white students, in 2013, African-Americans dominate the school nearly 100 percent. Whites attend private schools and/or they moved to other towns. My own younger brother John suffered so much physical and verbal abuse at school for his excellence in the classroom that my mother moved him to a private school so he wouldn’t get beat up every day or shaken down for his lunch money. Racism reversed itself to make whites at Dougherty High School the same victims that blacks once experienced. My brother graduated as Salutatorian and Star Student of his class at Dawson Private High School.
March 7, 1965, Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama: that freedom march started on "Bloody Sunday," when 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80. They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with Billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma. Two days later on March 9, Martin Luther King, Jr., led a "symbolic" march to the bridge. Then civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery.
In 2012, I rode my bicycle across the United States from San Francisco, California to Savannah, Georgia. I pedaled the entire march route and stayed at one of the campgrounds. Tremendous history of which I participated by virtue of my dad’s military duty station!
This past weekend, over 100,000 Americans honored King at the Lincoln Memorial. I’ve actually stood where King made his speech on the steps of the memorial.
Since 1965, Blacks enjoyed the Voting Rights Bill passed. They enjoyed Affirmative Action that places them ahead of the line as to jobs over whites and they enjoy quotas for jobs over whites. The Great Society from 1965 spent over $1 trillion of American taxpayer dollars to give Blacks a leg up into the Middle Class. They enjoy massive food stamp, Aid to Dependent Children, and assisted housing welfare. They enjoy college scholarships. They enjoy the Black Caucus in Congress, Black Entertainment Television; they dominate much of professional sports, unlimited access to education and much more.
But in 2013, a huge percentage of Black America suffers horrific crime, illiteracy, cyclical poverty, 71 percent out-of-wedlock births, 68 percent of children growing up with only their mother, 30 to 40 percent joblessness, accelerating drug use, hopelessness and high school dropout/flunkout rates from 50 to 76 percent in places like Detroit, Michigan. (Source: Brian Williams, NBC News) They participate in endless drug distribution in cities across America, shop lifting, rapes and murders so much so that nearly half of all the 2.3 million male prisoners in America’s correctional facilities end up being African-Americans.
Even in my own town of Denver, our famous black Broncos linebacker Von Miller, a man who makes $7 million annually, spent four years in college, with all the perks of a superstar, delved into drugs even in the face of certain testing and suspension—but got caught and the NFL commissioner suspended him for six games into the season. How could he be THAT stupid? Why?
Additionally, in places like Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, New York City and other big cities, “Black Flash Mobs” run around attacking and killing white people. Two blacks in Oklahoma killed an Australian college kid named Chris Lane last week because they were bored with the end of summer vacation and they killed him as they said, “For the fun of it.”
While millions of blacks screamed about Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of Latino George Zimmerman, a full 1,300 blacks suffered death at the hands of another 1,300 blacks between Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s trial. None of those black demonstrators whispered a word at the killing of one white boy by two “bored” black kids in Oklahoma.
At some point, Black America, given incredible benefits of freedom, money, jobs, schooling, Affirmative Action, Aid to Dependent Children, free breakfast and lunches for their children and a plethora of advantages—needs to take personal accountability and personal responsibility for living, educating and participating in the American Way of Life. Few other countries on Earth give black people and all other races SO MUCH advantage to succeed.
Black leaders need to take action at every level. In the end, education stands as the ultimate and only key for a positive future for Black America.
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