Charleston Church Shootings
I am listening to Mahalia Jackson. Never since the struggle to overthrow segregation in the South has there been such an endless stream of grim racial headlines. The lynching of Emmitt Till, the murder of the Maryland postman William Moore, the bombing of the Freedom Riders’ bus, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, the lynching in the woods of the three voter registration workers; this is a short list of the grisly violence that was provoked by the Movement. This was the violence that in many ways created the Movement. Political terrorist groups, usually the KKK, carried all of it out.
A few days ago I appeared at Oberlin College on a panel with Richard Schwerner, the brother of Mickey Schwerner, the CORE worker that was murdered by the Klan in 1964. Someone asked if this current wave of violence, the endless police murders of unarmed black men, and now these assassinations inside a black church, a church where they pray to Jesus and sing some of the greatest music that exists in the world, black gospel; ” is this violence connected to the fact that we have a black president” and Richard Schwerner said, “Yes”.
Adolf Hitler liked the Confederacy. A lot of people did. And if there was ever a war worth dying in, that was the American Civil War. Fighting for the North that is. As Grant said of the Confederacy, “Never have men fought more bravely for such a rotten cause.”
What’s with these people all across the nation that are dis-enfranchising African Americans? What’s with the governments of these southern states? What’s with the members of Congress and the members of the Supreme Court that keep pushing us backwards and pushing Africans Americans down? Do they think the South won the civil war? Do they want another one?
My father was a German Jew. As a student in Munich in the 1920’s, he and his fraternity brothers drank in the same beer hall as the new Nazi Party , the Brown Shirts. “Hitler used to walk right by my table,” my father said. “I could have shot him with a gun.” But the young medical student didn’t shoot Hitler. He was not political. The Germans that fought back against the Nazi’s, including the Catholics, the Protestants and the Jews, were political.
Go into politics. Only don’t do it in Brooklyn. Do it in Texas. Do it in Kansas. Do it in Georgia. Go out and become part of Amerika, the real Amerika of the heartland, meet your enemy, embrace him, and once you have so changed yourself, change your enemy.