Feb. 28, 2018

Frozen In Place At The Midnight Hour 1968-2018

As the Black Blogger ends the month of February 2018 and looks ahead to the month of March 2018. I would like to have this opportunity to reflect back 50 years to a warm April evening when many Black Americans were shaken up with the reality of the level of hatred that many of this nation’s white people had for our communities as well as for the country's prophet of peace Martin Luther King Jr.

A single rifle blast silenced Dr. King’s voice on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of the nation’s broken promises to the suffering poor black people. The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of the level of the nation’s judicial injustices directed at seemingly all black Americans. The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of the failure of this nation to provide an equal education to every American no matter their race. The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of seeing this nation’s acceptance of the enormous inequality of economic resources that persisted between black and white people. The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of the nation’s commitment to maintaining substandard housing in every black urban ghetto. The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of this nation’s waste of dollars and human lives invested in a futile war in Southeast Asia.  The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of seeing the nation’s ability to continue providing substandard medical resources to the nation’s poor, black, red, white and yellow. The voice of Dr. King had grown tired of our communities constantly support white enterprise yet never reaping any financial benefits. 

Yes, Dr. King while standing during the last seconds of his life had a level of depression that completely darkened his beautiful dream of that summer day in August 1963. Dr. King had awakened to the reality that his promising dream had morphed into a tragic nightmare. So he told his black nation that the work he had done to create a nation of love and concern for your fellow man had failed. The road ahead was going to be difficult because it no longer involved being able to get a hamburger and Pepsi beside your white brother, or getting a seat on a bus beside your white brother, or being able to stay in the same hotel as your white brother. The road ahead was about making good on broken promises related to economic, educational, medical, housing, and environmental equity for black people in America. That road entailed a costly commitment of resources that this nation and it’s 1% had absolutely no intention of honoring.

So, on the evening of April 4 and the days that followed Black American raged. Black Americans struck back against the intolerable conditions that they had survived in. The black communities burned down all that was within the reach. Unlike the civil uprisings of Watts in 1965, or the Newark and Detroit uprisings of 1967. The national uprisings of 1968 was a unified sense of outrage and release by hundreds of cities and communities across this nation. White Americans had for the final time in many of those Black Americans minds did the unforgivable by killing a true prophet of peace. The murder that silenced the voice of Martin Luther King. Our communities 50 years later as recent research has shown has never recovered from the horror of that murderous act. We are in many ways black communities that are frozen in place, without any real growth or universal promise. We continue to only put about a nickel from every black dollar back into our communities. We still suffer from horrible educational resources, substandard housing options, savagely unequal economic opportunities, our communities must drink poisoned water, live in backwater environmental conditions, have limited healthcare resources, our urban areas unless infiltrated by whites are food deserts. So many problems and so few solutions. 

On April 3, 1968, Dr. King said that he had been to and looked over into our promised land. Dr. King said that fateful night that “we as a people would get to the promised land”.  50 years of research has now shown our black nation has been pushed into the corner of America’s oblivion. We are frozen in place. We need to thaw out people and melt away the frozen dreams of equality. So that we can release the river of true change that will nourish our promised land.