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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mrs. King Dies

As if Super Tuesday wasn't already jam-packed...

Comes abrupt, and unexpected news that the widow of the esteemed Civil Rights hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., has died in her sleep, after having suffered a massive stroke last year.

Coretta Scott King was 78 years-old, and she will no doubt, be buried alongside her husband, in that water-island memorial in the King Centre in Atlanta.

January will now have an extra-special significance for many people, since Dr. King was born on 15th January, of course, and now, his widow dies on the very last day of the month.

In passing, here's a quirky observation:

You know, it's always struck me as incongruous that Black History Month, has been officially celebrated in February here in the United States.

February. Shortest month of the year...what gives?

Black Americans can't even win when they're being honoured.

IN THE COMMENTS: Commenter XWL brings up WEB DuBois in passing, noting the oft-virulent feelings some have in either the pro-Booker T. Washington, pro-DuBois camps.

This reminded me of an anecdote about Mr. Washington, that I thought you might like, if you hadn't heard it yet.

As you know, Booker T. Washington was the iconic black figure of his time, not only for his groundbreaking work in the Tuskegee Institute, but for having written his inspiring memoirs, Up from Slavery.

If you haven't read it, I HIGHLY recommend you do. It should be required reading in all high schools around the world.

But his presence on the world scene preceeded his actual autobiography.

And one of his best fans was none other than Queen Victoria.

Not too many people are aware that Booker T. Washington was invited to Windsor Castle, to have tea with the old, legendary Queen who gave her name to a whole era.

Now this fact is fantastic alone, but it becomes more poignant, because Mr. Washington was also invited to meet with then-President TheodoreRoosevelt, 3 years after having been received by the Queen.

Because Booker T. Washington had to enter through the tradesman entrance when he visited his own country's Presidential home, being a black man and all.

But the old Queen had him greeted by her Court Chamberlain personally...and he entered by the ceremonial front door.

Why not indeed.

She was famous for being one of the most unracist people of her time and background.

Many, many years later, I was at Windsor Castle, and I asked one of the few guides where I could find that entrance.

She said, you're standing in front of it.

And chills went down my spine, because I knew that maybe, my foot rested down on the same cobblestone, which Booker T. Washington had possibly stepped on, those many years before.

History is but a moment away from you, wherever you go.

10 Comments:

  • well i find another revolutionist here. so u want black history mth to be celebrated in another mth or add on more days to feb. 32 is fine i guess...lets fight for that

    By Blogger ramu, at Tue Jan 31, 11:00:00 am GMT-5  

  • well i find another revolutionist here. so u want black history mth to be celebrated in another mth or add on more days to feb. 32 is fine i guess...lets fight for that

    Yes, you find a Conservative revolutionist here.

    And for the record, I think February should have 33 days.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Jan 31, 11:19:00 am GMT-5  

  • By Blogger reader_iam, at Tue Jan 31, 11:33:00 am GMT-5  

  • I saw excerpts of that 60 Minutes interview, Reader_Iam.

    I also heard that Harry Belafonte tore Morgan Freeman a new one, for daring to say that, and for suggesting the NAACP did more harm than good (which I'm not sure was always true, but today it may well be argued that).

    But it was intriguing to actually hear him say what a lot of people believe in:

    Black History is American History.

    One day, I'll write that blogpost I've been planning, which goes something like this:

    Only people with inferiority complexes have months named after them, and parades in their honour.

    Italian and Irish-Americans, blacks, women. Etc. etc.

    When you see a "Kiss me, I'm a Brit" parade, bend over and kiss your hiney goodbye.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Jan 31, 11:54:00 am GMT-5  

  • Try denouncing DuBois and proclaiming yourself a Bookerite in an Ethnic Studies course.

    Not pretty, good thing elephants have thick skin.

    Plus the main DuBois defender had his Free Mumia, and Che stickers on his backpack, 'nuff said really.

    American history is black history and vice versa. It's always been thus, only now more so.

    Some schools in Southern California stopped with the obligatory black history assemblies since they would spark afterschool interethnic violence.

    Here's an excerpt from this article from a few years ago,

    "Almost every February for 10 years, Inglewood High School in Inglewood, Calif., has coped with violence between Latinos and blacks. February is Black History Month. Latino teens resent black culture's being recognized for a whole month, while they get only Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican army's victory over French forces in 1864.

    In February, Principal Lowell Winston, an African-American, canceled all ethnic celebrations."

    By Blogger XWL, at Tue Jan 31, 04:19:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Try denouncing DuBois and proclaiming yourself a Bookerite in an Ethnic Studies course.

    No way! I actually took a seminar about African-American history, and the professor was VIRULENTLY anti-Booker T.

    Whom I love...

    I will update the post with a comment you may like, XWL.

    Not pretty, good thing elephants have thick skin.

    Some pachyderms are not so sanguine, however.

    Especially when people use the same methods on others, which they condemn being used generally.

    Plus the main DuBois defender had his Free Mumia, and Che stickers on his backpack, 'nuff said really.

    Oh My God.

    American history is black history and vice versa. It's always been thus, only now more so.

    Yes. I like what Brazilians do, since they have a very healthy relationship historically, if not always in reality.

    Black Brazilians are an integral part of Brazil, as they are in the US.

    What else is there to say?

    Some schools in Southern California stopped with the obligatory black history assemblies since they would spark afterschool interethnic violence.

    Hmm, interesting.

    Here's an excerpt from this article from a few years ago,

    "Almost every February for 10 years, Inglewood High School in Inglewood, Calif., has coped with violence between Latinos and blacks. February is Black History Month. Latino teens resent black culture's being recognized for a whole month, while they get only Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican army's victory over French forces in 1864.


    Latino, no. Mexican-American.

    I'm sure the Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Puerto Ricans, et. al. who form the "Latino" community there, wouldn't appreciate being told they have Cinco de Mayo as their celebratory day.

    Since it has nothing to do with 'em...

    In February, Principal Lowell Winston, an African-American, canceled all ethnic celebrations."

    You know this is coincidental, XWL.

    I was talking to my postman (an African-American chap) today, with whom I awkwardly chatted.

    Awkward because I mentioned something about Coretta Scott King, and though I meant it to be nice, I am aware it sounded as a whitey, "I am sorry for your people today" type of message (I didn't actually say that, obviously).

    Fortunately, he took it in the spirit it was meant.

    He then astonished me by saying that he doesn't know why there is a Black History month, and that he doesn't like the parades associated with it.

    I replied, "parades?", since I didn't realise there were any.

    But then I suppose it depends on the city.

    What took me aback is that I hadn't realised until I heard Morgan Freeman, and now my postman, say it, that anyone had a "contrary" point-of-view, you know?

    Hmm, another blogpost idea has arisen here. You are always inspiring me!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 01, 01:11:00 am GMT-5  

  • Since it has nothing to do with 'em...

    I re-read my comment again, and it sounded odd.

    Just to make absolutely clear, my chastisement is for the people who would think that Cinco de Mayo is for all "Latinos".

    Not towards you! :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 01, 01:29:00 am GMT-5  

  • Booker T. Washington & George Washington Carver. Great men, forgotten by far too many Americans, much less Black Americans.

    When there's an Irish-German-American History Month, I'll accept the Black History Month. Until then, to heck with it! Diversity my chubby heiny!

    By Blogger benning, at Wed Feb 01, 10:46:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Booker T. Washington & George Washington Carver. Great men, forgotten by far too many Americans, much less Black Americans.

    Well said. ;)

    (BTW, George Washington Carver is one of those Americans which foreigners know next to nothing about, and that's a shame. Peanut butter rules!)

    When there's an Irish-German-American History Month, I'll accept the Black History Month. Until then, to heck with it! Diversity my chubby heiny!

    PASTY chubby heiny with that ethnic background. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria (who knows a thing or two about pasty hineys)

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 02, 02:06:00 am GMT-5  

  • After Martin Luther King died she seemed very lost and was an icon, or less kindly, a figurehead for those who took over the NAACP.
    She was continuing his work as they saw it, not herself and Mrs. King seems a sad person in History, even to her death.
    What did he have planned in the end? Did she even know?

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Feb 02, 09:02:00 pm GMT-5  

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