I met the real Black Klansman, Ron Stallworth, author of the memoir, BlackKklansman, last Monday night at our local Evanston Book store, Bookends and Beginnings. It's a small, indie bookstore with nooks and crannies, that somehow packed in about 100 people. The event was sold out weeks in advance with a waiting list.
Martin Luther King made his "I have a dream" speech on August 28th, 1963. It was held that day in honor of the anniversary of Emmett Till's torture and murder on the same date, in 1955.
At West End and Keeler Avenues in Chicago's West Garfield Park, an elliptical blue-green dome rises above the surrounding bungalows and two-flats. It is the pinnacle of Bethel Church, a symbol of community and an anchor to this neighborhood for 125 years.
When an assassin felled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th 1968, it was not just the murder of the greatest leader of the Civil Rights Movement, it was the murder of hope for so many of our country's African American citizens.
Before Oprah spoke the name, "Recy Taylor" at the Golden Globe Awards on January 7th, most people hadn't heard of Mrs. Taylor, even though a new documentary, "The Rape of Recy Taylor," a film by Nancy Buirski had been released on December 7th, just a month before Oprah's speech.
Today is the first day of "Black History Month," an excellent opportunity to recognize the contributions of our fellow black citizens to America's history. Throughout the month, we'll read of scientists, artists, writers, astronauts (even women astronauts!), historians, inventors. Blacks have excelled in every field. They've just been short on recognition.
Monday, January 15th, our country will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this year the actual date of his birthday. It takes me back to the day of his "Dream" speech, when Jim Crow was fighting to keep blacks separate and unequal.
Two Chicago shootings within 16 hours of each other: a man was shot dead in East Garfield Park this past Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, another man was seriously injured: shot in the knee and stomach. The 2nd man isn't dead, but his injuries will surely compromise his quality of life as long as he lives.