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.
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.
My dad and my two brothers, ages nineteen and thirteen, started shoveling out our car that had been mired for two days in snow after the city's greatest twenty-four hour snowfall had brought Chicago to a standstill. They were down near thirty-third and Wentworth, close to IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) where my older brother, Paul attended, but commuted from our home on Keeler near Montrose. As they dug in their shovels around each of the tires, tossing snow over their shoulders, a group of twelve African American men moved toward them with determined strides.