We’re getting close to 50 years since “Dancing in the Street” was released. Currently, I’m reading Mark Kurlansky’s fine book: Ready for a Brand New Beat: How ‘Dancing in the Street’ Became the Anthem for a Changing America. The book is available through your public library, if a copy isn’t there, have them order it. I never buy books anymore, who has the room to store them??? Love the library!
“Fifty years ago, protesters were taking to the streets across the United States. Philadelphia and Harlem, N.Y., saw race riots. Atlantic City, N.J., saw picketers screaming outside the Democratic National Convention, and in Washington, D.C., anti-war activists took over the National Mall. It was a tense and volatile time. The soundtrack to it all was one song: Martha and the Vandellas’ 1964 hit, “Dancing in the Street.”–NPR site
Phil Ochs wrote that song for Medgar Evers who is being remembered this month since it is the 50th Anniversary since he was assassinated in the driveway of his home in the state of Mississippi. His wife, Myrlie Evers-Williams has kept Edgar’s memories and deeds alive for these past 50 years hoping that Medgar Evers would receive the recognition for his work in the Civil Rights Movement that he so deserves. Medgar Evers died for his family, for his people, for all people treated unfairly, for his country, for his beliefs and ideals. Let us never forget him and let us recommit to the work he started. It is still necessary.
“Freedom has never been free … I love my children and I love my wife with all my heart. And I would die, die gladly, if that would make a better life for them.”-Medgar Evers, 6/7/63
Happy 86th Birthday MR. Sidney Poitier!! Oh how I loved him and had a crush on him. What a human being, what an actor, what a face, what a man!!!!!! Did you read The Measure of a Man? I remember my mom taking me to the Ethical Society in NYC to see Mr. Poitier speak on Civil Rights with Harry Belafonte and I think James Baldwin, but I was very young, under 10, but I was mesmerized. That event had to be before 1963, so who knows who else was on that stage…Oh how I wish I could remember!!!!! At ten, mom took me to see Sidney Poitier in “Lilies of the Field” where we both walked out singing, “Amen.” Watch Mr. Poitier teaching the nuns English in “Lilies of the Field” and singing with them right here.
It was individuals like Sidney Poitier who helped shape my national and world views, along with my parents, and took me with them on the road to equal rights for all. Thinking of Mr. Poitier this morning brings back such memories of an individual who helped develop the conscious of America…who fought long and hard in the Civil Rights Movement, who demonstrated integrity, pride, true American values, a zest for life, the true definition of a M-A-N. I hope the younger generation is propelled to look up Mr. Poitier and learn more about him. Again, Happy 86th Birthday, Sidney Poitier, a man for all times.
“Each Person Must Live Their Lives as a Model for Others.” Rosa Parks, through her planned act of non-violent protesting, spotlighted the Jim Crow Laws governing southern states. Mrs. Parks and her husband, Raymond Parks, were very active in the Montgomery Alabama chapter of the NAACP, where she was their Secretary. Her refusal to give up her seat on the bus was not because she was tired nor was it a spontaneous act. It was a strategy that quickened the hearts of many around the world and ignited a generation to become the template of peaceful resistance resulting in many long struggles; the abolishment of unfair laws; the implementation of The Civil Rights Act and The Voting Act. The known heroes and unsung heroes of The Civil Rights Movement continue to teach ALL of us that equality, justice, freedom, peace are precious and necessary for any society to flourish and must be vigilantly taken care of. The light cast by Rosa Parks, Dr. King, The Freedom Riders, Congressman John Lewis cannot be allowed to burn out for we must continue to work together to “Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.”