Upon the cross He died to save us from Racism and Death

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VDare had a great piece the other day on the image of Martin Luther King. In Gottfried’s view, the MLK has become the new redemptive martyr for secularized Christians. As for claiming that life wasn’t so bad under segregation, I’m skeptical. But here’s a great quote from Brimelow’s introduction:

“I don’t think King can bear the symbolic weight our interlocutor wants not merely because of King’s personal failings (adultery, plagiarism, fellow-traveling etc.) but also because he quite probably didn’t believe all that tactical color-blind rhetoric himself.

39 Comments

  1. I think focusing in on King’s failings such as adultery and plagiarism is cynical and pointless. Much like the self-righteous cynics who harp on about Jefferson’s slaves they end up missing the forest for the trees. King stood up against an unjust system and reaffirmed America’s principle values of equality and merit.
    As for “may”, it is without a doubt that King supported Affirmitative Action, I could find several quotes. I think it was almost necessary, at least for a while, after the Civil Rights Movement to indeed help level the playing field. The cards had been stacked to a crippling degree. If there’s one thing that Liberals and Conservatives agree on it is that AA, like war, is an evil, but that it can be a necessary one. I think AA, like vietnam in the 70s, has outlived its necessity to the point where it is now just an evil. But also like vietnam, I sympethize with those who supported it as the thorny way to better place.

    (I also wish Vdare, esspecialy Sam Francis, would grow up and realize that the destinies of whites and the “swarthy masses” are now forever intertwined- Its time to come to grips with how to get along better guys.*)

    *this is in no way an endorsement of unchecked immigration.

  2. I agree that King’s contributions far outweigh his flaws. All I’m saying is that he’s not the Messiah no matter how much liberals and neocons want him to be.

  3. Well, those of us who don’t believe in any Messiah think that the hagiography surrounding King is no worse than that surrounding one dead Jew from 2,000 years ago.

    Also, in the article, Gottfried claims that his parents escaped from Auschwitz. That’s pretty sloppy writing. No one escaped from Auschwitz. Alive, anyway.

  4. Actually 26 people escaped from Auschwitz. Perhaps his parents were among the 12 not recaptured?

    Or perhaps he meant escaped going to Auschwitz . . .

  5. On the matter of life under segregation, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and, I think, John McWhorter have all pointed out that Harlem and Chicago both had thriving cultural and commercial communities during the 1920′s and 30′s that belie the idea that segregation had a “crippling” effect on black prosperity and culture.
    This not to defend segregation of course but the question comes down to ends and means. Is violating the freedom of association of one group, a means, justified in correcting an injustice to another group, the ends? That can be debated, although my starting point would be that it is rarely so, except in cases of direct culpability. Who is directly culpable here? The politicians of course but they are not notably the ones being targeted. It is above all poor whites who have born the brunt of the state’s intervention.
    The effect of affirmative action, on the other hand, seems to be primarily the production of a government dependent class of citizens who then become a political football used to justify many follow on measures. I would argue this is entirely deleterious to the best interests of both populations.

  6. Diana,
    I believe in separation of Church and State. MLK is becoming the Messiah in a new, leftist theocracy. I react similarly to the Christian Right.

  7. what price dignity? what principles would we sacrifice for our loaf of bread?

    these are the questions that are smoked out when we ask:
    “Was segregation better?”
    “Was white-rule better?”

    these ?s should not be out-of-bounds, because those of us that believe in equality-before-the-law become too complacent if they are not asked. these ?s force us to clarify & justify our thinking.

  8. Uh, I am one of those poor whites who have been screwed by affirmative action. And I foresee I bloody future for the U.S.

    As for “level playing field,” there ain’t one. Never was one. My feeling all along is that those blacks who were directly affected by Jim Crow and discrimination should have sued the government for damages. Affirmative action screwed me and other whites for sins we did not commit.

  9. Razib,
    You ask:
    “Was segregation better?”
    “Was white-rule better?”
    Maybe not, but I think those are not quite the right questions to ask. I would ask: what was the best response to state enforced segregation? And I would answer: elimination of state enforced segregation not state enforced integration. The latter is not a necessary corollary of the first.

  10. “On the matter of life under segregation, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and, I think, John McWhorter have all pointed out that Harlem and Chicago both had thriving cultural and commercial communities during the 1920′s and 30′s that belie the idea that segregation had a ‘crippling’ effect on black prosperity and culture.” — John Purdy

    Segregation existed only in the South. It didn’t exist in New York City, which is where Harlem is (and where I’m originally from), or Chicago. (And please don’t tell me about “de facto segregation” existing in the North: we’re either talking about Segregation — the real deal — or we’re not.)

  11. Only the south had formal segragation,true.As one old southron said,”the yankees are smarter than us,they do the same thing,they just don’t right it down”.Blacks in NY and Chicago knew damned well to stay in back of the bus,just like in ole Miss.There is no difference between de facto and de jure other than the paper work.If the nazis hadn’t been record keepers,does that mean it wouldn’t have counted?

  12. Jason M:

    King stood up against an unjust system and reaffirmed America’s principle values of equality and merit.

    Do you actually believe this? Have you seriously thought about what you are saying, or are you just repeating the babble you hear on TV?

    Hint: America is not a “Proposition Nation”. America was founded by whites, many of whom owned slaves.

    When Hector St. John Crevecoeur posed his famous question “What then is the American, this new man?” he answered: “A mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes…. He is either a European, or the descendant of a European.” This at a time when fully one-fifth of the population (the highest proportion in our history) consisted of Africans and their descendants.

    The power of slavery to shape ideas about race and its connection to American identity was revealed in the Naturalization Act of 1790, which offered the first legislative definition of American nationality. With no debate, Congress restricted the process of becoming a citizen to “free white persons.” For 80 years, only white immigrants could become naturalized citizens. Blacks were added in 1870, but not until the 1940s did persons of Asian origin become eligible.

    Eric Foner

    I think it was almost necessary, at least for a while, after the Civil Rights Movement to indeed help level the playing field.

    This settles it. You are an unthinking product of the public school system.

    I also wish Vdare, esspecialy Sam Francis, would grow up and realize that the destinies of whites and the “swarthy masses” are now forever intertwined- Its time to come to grips with how to get along better guys.

    How principled.

    duende:

    I agree that King’s contributions far outweigh his flaws.

    What contributions?

    John Purdy:

    This not to defend segregation of course but the question comes down to ends and means. Is violating the freedom of association of one group, a means, justified in correcting an injustice to another group, the ends? That can be debated, although my starting point would be that it is rarely so, except in cases of direct culpability.

    Why should freedom of association ever be violated?

    Anti-Inclusiveness FAQ

  13. many conservatives argue that washington’s slave-owning or lincolns white separatism should be viewed in the context of their times, and their contributions to american society should not be besmirched by views that today would be considered beyond the pale. why can’t the same apply to king?

    i’m not an unalloyed king fan-he seems more an opportunist than the saint he is depicted (the same could be said of gandhi as well). but it seems that some hold him to the same stanards of purity that they caution Leftists not to use with other historic american figures. and of course, the other way around-Leftists who deify king crucify the failings of the founding fathers and other historical figures.

    is there no middle ground? is anyone that says a good word about king brain-washed and without any capacity to think?

    and i thought this sort of name-calling was only used by the Left….

    disagreemant seems no proof of anyone’s lunacy to me.

  14. many conservatives argue that washington’s slave-owning or lincolns white separatism should be viewed in the context of their times, and their contributions to american society should not be besmirched by views that today would be considered beyond the pale. why can’t the same apply to king?

    This comment is amusing on so many levels.

    i’m not an unalloyed king fan-he seems more an opportunist than the saint he is depicted (the same could be said of gandhi as well). but it seems that some hold him to the same stanards of purity that they caution Leftists not to use with other historic american figures. and of course, the other way around-Leftists who deify king crucify the failings of the founding fathers and other historical figures.

    Who says the leftists are wrong? If you buy into political correctness, the founding fathers are the devil. The “civil rights” movement didn’t “reaffirm” anything, it tore down and replaced American society. Yes, the founders were “racist”. Yes, America was a “racist” country. If one accepts the leftist paradigm (which, of course, many present-day “conservatives” do), the founders were terrible people. So were nearly all Americans until a time within living memory.

    Many people appear to believe that the motto E Pluribus Unum means that the United States was always meant to be a melting pot of the world’s people. In fact, “out of many, one,” the motto chosen for the great seal in 1776, refers to the 13 colonies united into one nation. It has nothing to do with multi-racialism.

    Since the founding, and up until just a few decades ago, virtually all Americans took it for granted that the United States was, by nature and destiny, a white country. To be sure, there were blacks and Indians, but most Americans saw their presence as a misfortune, and certainly as no threat to the numerical and cultural dominance of whites.

    Jared Taylor (Read the whole thing. I think most of you could benefit from this little history lesson)

    is there no middle ground? is anyone that says a good word about king brain-washed and without any capacity to think?

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain King’s “contributions” — in words, rather than memorized, party-line, ahistorical PC-babble.

  15. Roger Armistead:
    Well, that’s what I get for trying not to seem doctrinaire. I would agree with you there is no case for the violation of freedom of association – excepting maybe the same things that get you a prison sentence.
    Razib:
    No, everyone uses name-calling just for different things is all. But MLK is certainly not what we have been led to believe and it seems pretty clear he stood for, or would’ve stood for, affirmative action had he lived. Those of us who are strongly opposed to AA therefore tend to view him in a very unfavourable light.

  16. Myths of Martin Luther King

    Myth # 2: King was an American patriot, who tried to get Americans to live up to their founding ideals.

    In National Review, Roger Clegg wrote that “There may have been a brief moment when there existed something of a national consensus – a shared vision eloquently articulated in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, with deep roots in the American Creed, distilled in our national motto, E pluribus unum. Most Americans still share it, but by no means all.” Many other conservatives have embraced this idea of an American Creed that built upon Jefferson and Lincoln, and was then fulfilled by King and libertarians like Clint Bolick and neocons like Bill Bennett.

    Despite his constant invocations of the Declaration of Independence, King did not have much pride in America’s founding. He believed “our nation was born in genocide,” and claimed that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were meaningless for blacks because they were written by slave owners.

  17. Has anyone here ever looked at this?

    http://www.mlking.org

  18. Well Roger,

    Let’s review some reasons why I shouldn’t be all too polite with you:

    “Do you actually believe this? Have you seriously thought about what you are saying, or are you just repeating the babble you hear on TV?”

    “This settles it. You are an unthinking product of the public school system.”

    Actually Roger my opinions are informed by reason and the presupposed dignity of all men. Your snide condescensions may help give you a warm-feeling rush of superiority (your highest goal in life, no doubt), but it does little to impress or persuade me that some animals are indeed more equal than others.

    Let’s face it Roger, perhaps miscegenation laws, law-enforced segregation, and “separate but equal”, weren’t the most dignified position for majority whites to enforce upon American blacks (many of who fought bravely for this country against Hitler’s armies).
    It also seems strange for someone who criticizes me for allegedly being force-fed by the school-system and the TV, to then expect me to bow low before every sacred word of America’s founders, simply b/c of who said it! Talk about not thinking for yourself.

    So tell me this Roger, when Jefferson proclaimed:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident…
    …that all men are created equal. . .

    What do you think the best interpretation of this should be:

    1)that Jefferson literally believed in the physical and mental sameness of all men

    2)that Jefferson believed that all men should be afforded equal justice and protection under the law . . .but that black people weren’t human

    3)that Jefferson believed that all men should be afforded equal justice and protection under the law . . .but like all men, Jefferson was a man of contradiction and sin. He knew the principles that men should journey towards, but didn’t quite have the personal strength to meet the values he knew were best. (kind of like my man, MLK)

    Now let’s hear some more of those inviting jabs thrown down from the ivory peaks of Mt. Teuton, you daring free-thinker you. Don’t forget to quote Jared Taylor.

  19. uh, do you read this blog much roger? i think you are going down the wrong track when you say we need to read more Jared Taylor, i read AMREN and its archives all the time.

    and i believe there is a difference between what america WAS, and what it IS. you seem to thnk we need to go back to what it WAS. that is your opinion. i disagree. what’s there to argue about?

    and i’m kind of amused that you would imply that i’m politically correct….

  20. It also seems strange for someone who criticizes me for allegedly being force-fed by the school-system and the TV, to then expect me to bow low before every sacred word of America’s founders, simply b/c of who said it! Talk about not thinking for yourself. So tell me this Roger, when Jefferson proclaimed

    Make up your mind. Are you or are you not trying to shroud yourself and King in “American values”?

    King stood up against an unjust system and reaffirmed America’s principle values of equality and merit.

    Again, King didn’t “reaffirm” anything. The “civil rights” movement went against the thinking of essentially all Americans up until that point in history. Perhaps you should let Jefferson speak for himself:

    “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people (the Blacks) are to be free, nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government.”

    What do you think the best interpretation of this should be

    Lincoln, another president neocons and leftists (including King) have been fond of quoting:

    “Now I say to you, my fellow citizen, that in my opinion, the signers of the Declaration of Independence had no reference to the Negro whatever. One great evidence is to be found in the fact that at the time every one of the thirteen colonies was a slaveholding colony, every signer of the Declaration representing a slaveholding constituency, and not one of them emancipated his slaves, much less offered citizenship to them when they signed the Declaration. If they intended to declare the Negro was equal of the white man, they were bound that day and hour to have put the Negroes on an equality with themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln, during the October 16, 1858 debate in Peoria, IL with Douglas. “I can conceive of no greater calamity than the assimilation of the Negro into our social and political life as our equal. . . We can never attain the ideal union our fathers dreamed, with millions of an alien, inferior race among us, whose assimilation is neither possible nor desirable.” – Abraham Lincoln, after signing the Emancipation Proclamation (like other presidents, Lincoln sought to repatriation of freed Blacks to Africa).

    Note, that “your man King” was one of those “self-righteous cynics” who believe America was “born in genocide”, and that “the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were meaningless for blacks because they were written by slave owners”. Of course, that didn’t stop King from quoting the Declaration of Independence to give himself an air of legitimacy in pushing his own radical beliefs.

    it does little to impress or persuade me

    Honestly, I don’t care to persuade you. Feel free to continue mindlessly adhering to your feminized belief system. I’m merely reminding you it has no precedent in early American thought.

    American blacks (many of who fought bravely for this country against Hitler’s armies).

    I’m not seeing the relevance here. America should have stayed out of the European theater, anyway. But don’t shortchange blacks, WWII isn’t the only war they’ve been involved in.

  21. razib:

    i think you are going down the wrong track when you say we need to read more Jared Taylor, i read AMREN and its archives all the time.

    That comment was directed at people like Jason M.

    and i believe there is a difference between what america WAS, and what it IS.

    Obviously. But some people forget just how young the new “America” is.

    you seem to thnk we need to go back to what it WAS. that is your opinion. i disagree.

    Being a non-white immigrant, of course you disagree.

    But it’s not merely a matter of my “thinking we need to go back”. “What America IS” is inherently unstable. It is a radical departure from anything that has come before it, it is at odds with human nature, and it can’t last long.

    Just one example, affirmative action and mass non-white immigration don’t go together, as Steve Sailer has discussed.

  22. Make up your mind. Are you or are you not trying to shroud yourself and King in “American values”?

    you didn’t answer my question. 1,2, or 3- please pick.

    Lincoln, another president neocons and leftists (including King) have been fond of quoting

    Licoln modified his views over time, Roger. He no longer favored repatriation, and made statements later in his life that showed that, though he thought blacks and whites may not have the same intellectual or “moral” capacity, he saw them as Jeffersonian equals before the law:

    I agree with Judge Douglas that he [a black] is not my equal in many respects, certainly not in color — perhaps not in intellectual and moral endowments; but in the right to eat the bread without leave of anybody else which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every other man.”

    Not that it matters what Jefferson or Licoln said or didn’t say. It is the ideals themselves I think that rise above the authority of any one person. Like truth itself, these values are testament to their own beauty and worth.

    [pointless histrionics self-deleted]

  23. But it’s not merely a matter of my “thinking we need to go back”. “What America IS” is inherently unstable. It is a radical departure from anything that has come before it, it is at odds with human nature, and it can’t last long.

    Right on. I’m glad to see I’m not the only person here who doesn’t want America and Europe to turn into Brazil.

  24. I’m glad to see I’m not the only person here who doesn’t want America and Europe to turn into Brazil.

    Oleg, no one here has said they want to turn America into Brazil. There’s a very important distinction between who and how many we decide to let in and how we treat those already here.

  25. M: majority ethnic ‘hoods in large cities is NOT the same thing as segregation.

    Roger: Good question about whether the gov’t ever has the right to infringe upon freedom of association. We really should debate that. There is no debate that anti-miscegenation laws and “colored only” public accommodations are infringements of this right. The right to bear arms is pretty clear to me. Do I have the right to chase you away from a public bench at gunpoint?

  26. “What America IS” is inherently unstable.
    What EVERY country IS is inherently unstable.
    Always has been, at least since the industrial revolution.
    Frankly, while racial instability isn’t negligable, it’s no substantial part of the overall instability.
    What Americal WAS only lasted for four score and seven years. What it became after that lasted two score and thirteen (until the income tax). Everything since then is the predictable degeneration to mob rule, but some semblence of freedom probably has at least a full lifetime left, so let’s eat drink and be merry, at least, unless we have kids.
    Anyway, racial conflict is going to be DWARVED by species conflict sometime this century.

  27. Michael Vassar:
    “Anyway, racial conflict is going to be DWARVED by species conflict sometime this century. “

    What do you mean by this? Martians vs Earthlings, Birds vs Man…?

  28. I think he’s referring to genetic engineering of humans – which does indeed have the potential to render many of these internecine squabbles irrelevant…

  29. “M: majority ethnic ‘hoods in large cities is NOT the same thing as segregation”
    Diana,you are quite right,however you want to take the same tack that if it wasn’t formal,it didn’t count as “real
    sgragation”.Are you saying that blacks moving into white neighborhoods 50 or 60 yrs ago would have been welcomed with opne arms???Overt forced intergragation was broken in Boston,not Birmingham.Boston and SF are much more segragated than Atlanta or Memphis.Let me repeat,there is NO difference between formal or informal,blacks were treated little differently.

  30. If vasser IS right,hhhmmmmmm.In Mexico before independnce there were 3 classes of citizens,spaniards from Spain being 1st class citizens,spaniards born in Mexico being 2nd class citizens,mestizos being 3rd class and indians not counted at all.
    What will affluent soccer moms want their engineered kids to be like?Themselves only moreso,of course,captain of the football team,head cheerleader,student body prez and class valedictorian.
    And what would they like them to look like??
    Interesting possibilites.

  31. Are you saying that blacks moving into white neighborhoods 50 or 60 yrs ago would have been welcomed with opne arms???

    No more than Jews moving into an Irish neighborhood, or Italians moving into a German neighborhood.

    Segregation refers to the use of the LAW against African-Americans. Or should. It doesn’t refer to the fact that like likes to stick to like. (Except for brown Desis who lust for blondes…)

  32. Jason M:

    you didn’t answer my question. 1,2, or 3- please pick.

    Obviously, non-whites were not counted among “all men”. That is the point.

    Not that it matters what Jefferson or Licoln said or didn’t say. It is the ideals themselves I think that rise above the authority of any one person. Like truth itself, these values are testament to their own beauty and worth.

    If you want to base your philosophy on one line from the Declaration of Independence (just as, in typical neocon fashion, you apparently base your opinion of King on one line from one speech), be my guest. Just don’t pretend your belief system is a “reaffirmation” of “American values”.

    Diana:

    There is no debate that anti-miscegenation laws and “colored only” public accommodations are infringements of this right.

    In keeping with freedom of association, privately-owned “public accomodation” (restaurants, theaters, etc.) should of course be able to “discriminate” as they please.

    The question of who can use a park bench should, I suppose, be decided by those who paid for it.

    michaelvassar:

    What Americal WAS only lasted for four score and seven years. What it became after that lasted two score and thirteen (until the income tax). Everything since then is the predictable degeneration to mob rule, but some semblence of freedom probably has at least a full lifetime left, so let’s eat drink and be merry, at least, unless we have kids.

    Good points. I was speaking mainly about race/citezenship, and the transition from a racially homogenous nation-state to a multi-racial “proposition nation”, which is quite recent (even though, officially, blacks have been citizens since 1865). Increased centralization, bigger government, and moves toward empire have sometimes accelerated this process and sometimes been accelerated by it.

    Anyway, racial conflict is going to be DWARVED by species conflict sometime this century.

    Maybe, maybe not. But why keep adding fuel to the fire with mass immigration and “civil rights” laws?

    vassarisright:

    I think he’s referring to genetic engineering of humans – which does indeed have the potential to render many of these internecine squabbles irrelevant…

    Personally, I’d prefer not to gamble on scientific advances which haven’t happened yet. I think Godless has suggested genetic engineering will magically turn the low-IQ immigrants of today into tomorrow’s productive Americans. I am skeptical that will ever happen. It certainly won’t be made any easier by continued mass immigration, which will result in an increasingly overregulated country with an increasingly anti-scientific population.

  33. Main Entry: 1seg·re·gate
    Pronunciation: ‘se-gri-”gAt
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): -gat·ed; -gat·ing
    Etymology: Latin segregatus, past participle of segregare, from se- apart + greg-, grex herd — more at SECEDE
    Date: 1542
    transitive senses
    1 : to separate or set apart from others or from the general mass : ISOLATE
    2 : to cause or force the separation of (as from the rest of society)
    intransitive senses
    1 : SEPARATE, WITHDRAW
    2 : to practice or enforce a policy of segregation
    3 : to undergo genetic segregation
    - seg·re·ga·tive /-”gA-tiv/ adjective

    Diane,sorry but the north was almost as “segragated” as the south,it was simply informal and imposed via social norms. Northern schools were segragated,neighborhoods were segragated and srvices were segragated.As I stated in an earlier post”if the Nazis hadn’t kept records,it wouldn’t have counted”?
    Of course it would have whether there had been records or not.The legal doctrine of seperate but equal,as it was known,was in effect in varying degrees throughout the U.S.,only in the south was it formal law.

  34. M: I can read, and unlike you, I can spell (the word is spelled “segregate”). I also know urban life, and unlike you, have a mother who took pictures of the first elementary school class she taught, in Harlem, in 1938.

    It showed black and white children. I have the photos.

    BTW, she doesn’t remember the black children as being particularly unruly.

  35. “Obviously, non-whites were not counted among “all men”. That is the point.”

    “If you want to base your philosophy on one line from the Declaration of Independence (just as, in typical neocon fashion, you apparently base your opinion of King on one line from one speech), be my guest. Just don’t pretend your belief system is a “reaffirmation” of “American values”.”

    I base my opinions on King and on Jefferson, not on a single speech or written declaration, but on what they did, Roger, and the historical philosphies that governed those actions. Your inability to see three-hundred years of congruent political philosophy and its logical trajectory within Western thought, shows a far more selective memory and forced interpretation of America’s founding values than what I’m using. For instance am I basing “my philosophy”, on “one line from the Declaration of Independence”, or is it that the one line from the Declaration of Independence and my philosophy are stemming from the same tradition regarding the primacy and dignity of the individual? Jefferson didn’t pen those words in a vaccuum, Roger, they were symptomatic of Enlightenment ideas that were driving the Revolution. Jefferson didn’t invent “natural rights”, but he did understand their necessity within a stable government application. Furthermore Locke didn’t qualify his ideas with racial provisions.
    Its a failing argument on your part to try and tell me that post-revolutionary America was the perfect realization of its own ideas. Abolitionists, the Women’s suffrage movement, and the Civil Rights movement weren’t trying to subvert the American idea, but to fulfill its own promise. Perhaps if the founders didn’t want these things to happen, or expect them to occur as the conditions could suit them (your position), a greater expression of those ideas would have been codified within the system. But they didn’t, so you are forced to dig around in private documents and act like ideas that were never presented as priciples which should be inherent and unchanging in America’s expression, are somehow more important than ones that actually were! (“Just a line” within the Declaration of Independance, eh?).

    btw, was the Aristotlean idea of “natural slaves”, a part of what you understand to be “American values”, since the FF privately owned them? If so, should that be part of your Renaissance?

  36. M., you don’t know what you’re talking about. In an earlier comment, you said that in the north before the 1964 Civil Rights Act, blacks knew they had better ride in the back of the bus just like in segregated Mississippi. I was in high school in 1964, in Queens, New York City, where I was born and raised, and just about every day of one’s life one took the bus somewhere (one took the public city buses — not school buses — to ride to high school and back every day, for example), and just about every week one took both bus and subway, going to other parts of Queens, or into Manhattan, or the Bronx, or somewhere. I can tell you that no black went to the back of any bus, or thought he had to, and no white looked askance at any black for using any public accommodation exactly as any white would, and no black was excluded from going anywhere or doing anything he wanted whatsoever, anywhere in the five boroughs of New York City.

    Yes, people were separated into white neighborhoods and Negro neighborhoods, and — in the residential parts of Queens, anyway, where I grew up — whites and Negroes preferred it that way. A few blocks from where I lived in Queens there was a perfectly nice Negro neighborhood which we white kids used to walk through and ride our bikes through all the time with hardly ever any problems.

    In Frederick Douglass’ autobiography (an excellent book) he does describe anti-black conditions, such as you imagine, being present in the New England of the early decades of the 1800s — blacks couldn’t ride in passenger trains on an equal footing with whites, etc. That was right after he had escaped from slavery in Maryland, decades before Abraham Lincoln was elected president. If you really and truly think that sort of treatment was imposed on blacks in the north in the twentieth century, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Negroes could and did do anything they liked in the pre-1964 New York City of my childhood.

  37. (I’ve posted here before under “Cognassier.” I’m switching to “Unadorned,” since that, by pure chance, is the pen name I use on other sites’ readers’ forums, such as the ones at RichardPoe.com (which is temporarily closed while Richard Poe brings a book project to completion) and http://www.Counterrevolution.net/vfr.)

  38. Unadorned,the point I’m trying to make is aimed at those who insist that only the formal,legal segregation of the south “counted”.I’m aware that northeners prefer to see themselves somehow different than southerners on this issue.For example,they prefer to forget that northen states passed laws to ban freed slaves form moving north after the war or that the last slaves were freed in N Jersy,in 1867-8 I beleive or that the KKK had greater political power in Indiana than Alabama in the ’20′s(they were basically the largest political party in the state).My point is simply that the north wasn’t all that much better,like it or not.As for King,I would like to see his FBI file,which his own wife stated would “destroy him”.What’s in it that could be so bad?

  39. Actually, northern cities did have segregation – this was especially true of several large Northern city school systems – think Boston, whose school board openly discriminated against persons of color via budget outlays, the drawing of districts, etc.

    Places like Harlem were in fact islands in a sea of segregation and state-sponsored or state-supported discrimination. Unions in the northern cities were also prominently involved in segregating the northern workforce as well. Which is why there was such a push by black civil rights leaders to integrated the war time inustries in WWII – they took the oppurtunity during the war to use shortages in labor at these industries to gain leverage in getting onto the shop floor as well as getting into the engineering programs sponsored by the federal government during the war (these were crash courses that opened up oppurtunities for many – women, black men, etc. – to learn engineering skills that would have never been available otherwise). If you want a literary protrayal of Northern discrimination, then read Ralph Ellison’s wonderful novel “Invisible Man.”

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