Posted by: lalunablanca | April 5, 2008

MLK – Memphis

MLK Looks on

I’ve been “passing through” Memphis now for 22 years now. I’m still amazed at the racial tension that continues as a product of ignorance. Particularly when it is seemingly intentional ignorance. I don’t have it all figured out; wish I did. However, I do tend to believe that understanding wards off stereotyping of all kinds (beyond racial).

This post is merely a few notables around the racial theme that I want to share.

History is no Rug Sweep

In the last year, I’ve had opportunity and means to consider the rich history of Civil Rights here in the south. I’ve visited a few historical locations (Money Mississippi, Birmingham and Montgomery Alabama). Some marked and some intentionally being swept under the rug of time. I do not advocate covering-up, forgetting, or fading-out historical landmarks. Even if they represent the most horrific acts of humanity. These things cannot be forgotten and denied. The two notables that

Bryant's Grocery, Money, MS

come to mind are Bryant’s Grocery in Money, MS where Emmett Till purportedly “whistled at a white woman”, and slave trading landmarks in Memphis.

National Civil Rights Museum

Most Caucasian people I know have never been there, but have a desire to. I don’t understand this (when I ask why, the answer is never really clear). I found this so frustrating, that I took the entire company (there’s only about 10 of us) there a few years ago.

Noose as a Racial Symbol of Hatred
I never made the association of a noose to lynchings. I grew up (not in the South, my Dad was in the Navy) knowing about lynchings, but I never associated a noose with racial anything. A noose to me was for hanging: horse thieves, cowboy gunslinger outlaws, capital punishment in some countries, and even a (wheeloffortune-like) spelling game. I was “ignorant” of this. In these days of our transient society, I’d expect there to be more content on the Web spelling out some of these racial icons/symbols and other cultural differences to help with that understanding.

Martin Luther King Day
Running a business, I had previously left “MLK Day” to be an option for people to use their floating holiday. After learning more about Dr. King in the last year, I am ashamed that observing the holiday was ever an option. The fact that it continues to be an optional holiday is an embarrassment to our country and our economy. I am glad to see that year-by-year more business are closed.

I was surprised last fall that there was not a Dr Martin Luther King Jr group on Flickr. So, I created it at http://www.flickr.com/groups/martinlutherking .

Peace.

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