Martin Luther King on Nonviolent Change

For this day, I wanted to see if I could find something that explained something that happened years ago that I had missed.

I am engaging in a little historical fact checking in my own head, a little self-reeducation of things that I had forgotten.

I had heard that Dr. Martin Luther King had been a strong believer in the process of nonviolent change.  Through the dust and fog of the intervening years, and through the current disturbances through the world, it was a strong contrast to how things have happened in this century.

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, December 11, 1964)

This is one of the videos that I have found that speaks to the subject.  It is Dr Martin Luther King being interviewed at some point in the 1950s after the desegregation of the Little Rock, Arkansas schools where he gives his own views on the subject as well as his own theories on how to effect change in society.

If you ignore the interviewer, who was not terribly effective, you hear MLK’s own words on this subject.

“Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good”  MLK

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Diane Cline’s Way… and Cake – Picture

One of the nice things about living in a “Small Town” is that things eventually get made right.

Diane Cline, a woman who I was privileged to know from my own civic work, passed a few months back.  To say that the central business district of Wilton Manors, the Wilton Drive, looks the way it does because of her and her efforts is a serious understatement.

She was the driving force behind the modernization of the entire district from the two lanes with parking it once was, to the widening and refurbishment of the current five lanes, the addition of improvements and other factors that make modern Wilton Manors what it is.  Recognizing the need for correcting the Car Culture of South Florida, she led the effort to reduce the Drive to two lanes via our own Wilton Manors Development Alliance, then the Wilton Manors Main Street. 

The Two Lane Initiative is the idea that we should turn Wilton Manors into an even more walkable city than it currently is by limiting the Drive down to two lanes and increase parking so that the businesses can thrive – it’s a win-win for everyone once it gets done.  It would also raise the property values of town, make it easier to cross the streets, and reduce the carnage that happens when people expect drivers in South Florida to follow the Uniform Vehicle Code by allowing pedestrians the right of way.   Diane understood this as a fundamental human right and worked tirelessly to allow this to move forward.

Her pet projects were many and historic, such as the Wilton Manors Historical Society, and the Wilton Manors Women’s Club.  If you didn’t know Diane, you probably didn’t know how Wilton Manors worked and how it came to be.

She used to say that Wilton Drive should have been called “Diane’s Way”, a clear double entendre to those who knew her.  But either way you read that, it was correct.   It simply wouldn’t be what it is without the efforts of this amazing woman.

Last night we gathered, Family, Friends, and the rest, at the little park in the middle of town, Jaycee Park to honor Diane with a get together.   There at the park, we saw the growing Children’s Art Project that was just expanded to include the bricks that form a small plaza in front of the Post Card through Diane’s efforts with the Wilton Manors Development Alliance and the Wilton Manors Historical Society.  The Jaycee Park improvements are there because of Diane’s and others civic efforts, and it was across the street from the heart of the city near Hagen Park, the Women’s Club, and “New” City Hall.

At least it’s “New” to me since I’m one of the long-time new-comers.  Newish?  Not sure.  Never mind that, I’m rambling.

There’s a little street behind the Jaycee Park and Children’s Art Project.  NE 5th Street.  To rename Wilton Drive might have brought a twinkle to Diane’s eye but it would have been a bit confusing to all the businesses.  So instead of renaming that, NE 5th behind that park will now have another name.   Diane Cline’s Way.  A nod to all of her works through her long and productive life.

We got to see the unveiling of the signs by the family, and the commissioners, and had a chance to visit with friends.  One of the nicer things about living in a small town.  Sure you get to know everyone, for better or worse, but when you get together, it’s always worth the time.   We got to stand in the middle of Diane’s Way, talking about her good deeds, and having her cake.   Diane did have a sweet tooth so she would have enjoyed some of that cake.  I know I did, I would have loved a second piece!

If anyone reading this would like to be a part of getting the Children’s Art Project finished, you can sponsor a brick.  Just follow through this link to the page on the Wilton Manors Development Alliance’s page for the artist’s drawing of the Children’s Art Project where you can see what will be when it is complete.

I promise you, I’ll keep an eye on them while I’m able.  Diane would have liked it that way.  

Remember

12 years ago the Towers were needlessly destroyed and the world changed.

There was an account of someone who had witnessed the offense from Lower Manhattan that day.   It was an email that got passed around the world many times.   Reproduced on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s web page, I have the link here

The current use of the site is for the National September 11th Memorial Museum.  You can see the write up on Wikipedia here.   The picture below is from that page.

Happy Labor Day, But What Is This Thing Anyway?

Ok so here I sit.  It’s September 2nd.  Today is a “day off” for most here in the US.

I have some beef in the refrigerator for the Traditional Cook Out.   We’ll be making burgers and baked beans.  Probably some canned corn will get nuked, not so sure about that, and there will be time for me to make some sort of dessert.  Some neighbor somewhere will be shooting off fireworks so the dog will hide in his crate later on.

But why did this come about.

When I was growing up, they made sure that we got some sort of feel for why the day exists, but I can’t say that the history is too well passed on.  The wind up to the day we’d hear blurbs about what the history was, and to be thankful for the struggle and so forth.

Maybe it’s me, but I just haven’t heard all that much about it.  I avoid most “live” broadcast media these days anyway.  If I watch the One Eyed Babysitter, it is with the remote control in hand and the 30 second skip button at the ready.  5 presses and I’m through most of the commercial garbage and back to the 21 minutes and 45 seconds of content per half hour.

So it could be me.

I just didn’t hear much programming on the International Labor Struggles of the late 1800s.  No mention of how the day started in New York City by Labor “activists” that spread through the US.  There was scant mention of how people actually died in strikes protesting 60 hour work weeks, to earn a full day off Sunday, let alone a weekend. 

It must be a result of having only six companies owning something like 90 percent of the media outlets in the US.   No wonder why I get my news from the BBC, and they have their own bias these days in comparison to the way they were when I was growing up.

I decided to look into things a little bit.  The US government has an amazingly dry and uninformative site up at the Department Of Labor that gives the barest of information.  I guess they are trying to be Politically Correct since they don’t want their budget cut by some right wing tea party propagandist.

The Wikipedia site goes into more detail about the history.  The thing with them is that they actually expect you to read more of the links and dig deeper on your own.  To really wrap your head around it, you might need to read about the history of Labor and Labor unions in the US.

There are professors who’s specialties are the entire subject of Labor “relations” in the US and in other nations.  You can read about it for hours.

It seemed that the history being history, you have to actually want to pursue this on your own until the dog knocks over a plant or you simply get your fill of the information. 

Most won’t, history is not going to go away – or will it?

The bottom line is that you have the Day Off today because there were people who died for that right.   They died for the right to a living wage, a safe workplace, and so many things that are taken for granted these days.  Unions are not perfect, I was “compelled” to join one when I worked at the School District, and since I am not a teacher, it was a complete waste of time for me.  They weren’t concerned with people in other job categories.

But Unions perform a function that is larger than their 11 or so percent of membership in this country.  Unions are a safeguard for the workplace.  They are there to make sure that the laws don’t slide backward too far, that things are kept in some sort of balance, and that the social programs that we have all forgotten that we have are kept in place.   Call it a safety net for society, they have a purpose much greater than the Day Off mindset would believe.

So when you have your burger and beer, enjoy it, but give a thought to why you are able to have that day off.   I’ll be in search of a Documentary.  Maybe I’ll get that insight I’m looking for.  

Now, where’s that remote?

50 Years Since I Have A Dream

When I worked at the School District of Philadelphia, I would get the Martin Luther King holiday off of work.  I wasn’t the kind of person that would volunteer to build schools, I always had enough of my own projects to do.  What I would end up doing was to have the TV on and get caught up in my home.

One year I got the bright idea to leave the local PBS TV station on when they ran a day of programming about the Civil Rights Struggle.  I’m a documentary junkie so I got my fill that day.   They did run the I Have A Dream Speech as well as many others, and what I was left with was more than just a sense of history, but a deep sense of loss that this man, Dr. Martin Luther King didn’t have more years to share his vision.

The few speeches that did get recorded were always worth listening to, and always fascinating both in and out of context.

I managed to find a place to pull them down on MP3 and loaded them on my trusty player at one point.  Listening to them on the way to and from work on the train happened more than once, they did get into “rotation”.

No matter what your political bend, the time spent listening to this man is well worth it. 

Since the I Have A Dream speech is available readily online, you can find it here.

As for the other ones, I’d say happy listening.  Many of them are available in random places, and I did find a helpful web site at Stanford University with a list of some of them for your clicking pleasure.