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This brief introduction to Selma’s bottom up history can help students and others learn valuable lessons for today. As SNCC veteran and filmmaker Judy Richardson said: “If we don’t learn that it was people just like us – our mothers, our uncles, our classmates, our clergy – who made and sustained the modern Civil Rights Movement, then we won’t know we can do it again. And then the other side wins – even before we ever begin the fight.”
Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson, lamenting that too many Americans “live on the outskirts of hope,” declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This will not be “a short or easy struggle,” he stated, “no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we will not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”
Scalia has made it clear why this case is before the Court – it’s about race and white “race entitlement.” The Voting Rights Act was passed because no group is going to “apportion themselves out of power.” If the Court rules in favor of Shelby County in the face of its racist record, it will be doing nothing more than validating white power and racism.
He was considered by some the most dangerous man in America. He spent many nights locked up in jail cells. There were constant attempts made on his life. During his last years, he was constantly harassed by law enforcement. The real reason for his untimely demise before the age of 40 still remains a mystery.
As we celebrate the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 83rd birthday, let us remember that he not only fought for racial justice and equality, but also called on us to end poverty and eliminate war. In his Nobel lecture, Dr. King said: “(T)he poor in America know that they live in the richest nation in the world, and that even though they are perishing on a lonely island of poverty they are surrounded by a vast ocean of material prosperity. ... (T)he infection and sickness of poverty (must) be exposed and healed – not only its symptoms but its basic causes. ... (W)e must not be afraid to pursue the remedy no matter how formidable the task.”
Third-party presidential candidate George Wallace, the former governor of Alabama, was in Omaha in March 1968 to qualify his American party in Nebraska. Wallace had arrived in Omaha on Sunday, the day before, and held an angry news conference to provoke a large turnout at his rally.