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21st Century Freedom Riders
An honest [musical] telling of the American REvolution.
b/ dave. (originalnoise.org)
@ The Pompano Beach Community Center
Pompano Beach, Florida
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (2015)
George Gershwin wrote the “PORGY AND BESS” aria in 1934, telling the story of a crippled street-beggar struggling to survive on Catfish Row, a black tenement in 1920s Charleston, South Carolina. “Porgy and Bess” was based on real-life, Charleston resident, Samuel Smalls.
6“Strange Fruit” b/Billie Holiday
(Billie Holiday by William P. Gottlieb)
Billie Holiday 1939
The song (“Strange Fruit“) was written by Abel Meeropol, a white, Jewish school teacher in the Bronx, New York. At first Holiday was uncomfortable singing the song, the lyrics being so sad and horrific. From the beginning and until the end of her career, Holiday was weeping at the end of “Strange Fruit,” whenever and wherever she sang it.
• Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. The photograph (above) is from a collection of James E. Allen, an Atlanta antique dealer, and John Littlefield, a software engineer. The collection had been on loan to the Special Collections Department of Emory University.
• THE FREEDOM RIDERS were Civil Rights Activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of The United States Supreme Court decisions [Morgan v. Virginia 1946 and Boynton v. Virginia 1960] ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.
Southern states ignored the Supreme Court
and the federal government did nothing to enforce them.
MAY 04, 1961 / THE FIRST FREEDOM RIDE LEAVES WASHINGTON, D.C.
MAY 17, 1961 / SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE IN NEW ORLEANS.
May 1961 — Groups made up of young, white, often-Jewish Civil Rights activists and oppressed African Americans, rode Greyhound buses from New Jersey, south to New Orleans, throughout the South, and back north, up the Southeast coast, ending in Washington D.C.
Along the way, the Freedom Riders were often met by violent white segregationists, including local law enforcement, showing their defiance of recent Supreme Court rulings against segregated public transportation.
b/ dave. (OrignalNoise.Org)
— DreamWorks / Universal Pictures (2018)
“The Green Book” (Set in 1962)
“I Have A Dream”
…b/ Martin Luther King w/The Funk Brothers (Motown)
6“Strange Fruit” b/Billie Holiday
August 28, 1963 — Two years after the first Freedom Ride, at the end of THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR JOBS AND FREEDOM. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream“ speech, and called for voting rights, overall economic justice, and
to end racism in the United States.
• September 15, 1963 — A bombing at the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, killed four young girls, and marked a turning point in the fight for civil rights.
Playing to promote Truth and Justice in America.
21st Century Freedom Riders / Miami, Florida [January 2014]
Allan Harris (vocals/guitar)
Doug Wimbish (bass guitar)
Jesse Jones Jr. (alto saxophone)
Howard “Howie” Schneider (piano)
Keith Leblanc (drums)
“Change Is Gonna Come”
The 21st Century Freedom Riders @ WLRN Studio (Miami, Florida)
January 17, 2015 was Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday, a fact known and mentioned by Allan.
b/ dave. (originalnoise.org)
Allan and Doug played their first set together, that Thursday at WLRN (Miami PBS Radio) in Downtown Miami. Considering Martin Luther King Jr. Day fell during the weekend, they chose to include “The World is a Ghetto” and “Change is Gonna Come” in their first playing of “The Bridge.”
In attendance, was a small group (maybe 25) who already knew Allan, and expected a Nat King Cole-style set of straight-ahead jazz. Allan and the band delivered the jazz, but to everyone’s pleasant surprise, stretched out into what was the first performance of “The Bridge.”
Georgia Congressman John Lewis — On the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama (March 7, 1965), march organizer John Lewis, who himself was assaulted, re-visits the bridge and talks to Bob Schieffer on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“Eyes On The Prize”
Spike Lee won his first Oscar at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. The iconic director was recognized in the category of best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. Lee honored American slaves in his speech and made a call to action for the 2020 presidential election.
In his acceptance speech, Lee didn’t shy away from politics. “Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history,” he said. “Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
The New York City filmmaker was previously nominated for two Oscars—Best Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing and Best Documentary for 4 Little Girls. He was also nominated for Best Director.
The documentary of the Civil Rights Movement originally aired on PBS (1987). Created and executive-produced by Henry Hampton at the film production company Blackside, and narrated by Julian Bond. The series uses archival footage, still photographs, and interviews of participants and opponents of the movement.
The title of the series, which is used to open each episode, is derived from the folk song “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.”
Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954–1965 — The time between Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the Selma to Montgomery Marches of 1965. It consists of six episodes, which premiered on January 21, 1987 and concluded on February 25, 1987.
Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965–1985 — chronicles the time period between the national emergence of Malcolm X during 1964 to the 1983 election of Harold Washington as the first African-American mayor of Chicago. It consists of eight episodes, which aired on January 15, 1990 and ended on March 5, 1990.
MARCH 7, 1965 — In his historic effort to persuade the United States Congress to pass a bill securing voting rights for black Americans, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march (to Montgomery, Ala.) of thousands across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama. Upon crossing, King and his fellow activists were attacked by a hostile group of residents and Alabama State Troopers. The violent event became known as “BLOODY SUNDAY.”
As Georgia Congressman John Lewis, 50 Years Later, stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he told CBS’ Charlie Rose,
“I thought I was going to die on this bridge.”
Georgia Congressman John Lewis was a young man who had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. as an important part of the original Freedom Riders. He narrates this short video of his crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and his being assaulted by Alabama State Troopers as he and the group reached the other side.
“I thought it would be my last demonstration.
I thought I was going to die.”
John Lewis and Civil Rights activists were met by violent Alabama State Troopers after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
— illustrations by Nate Powell from John Lewis’ (w/Andrew Aydin) graphic novel “March”
THE BRIDGE’s RACIST NAMESAKE
Edmund Winston Pettus (July 6, 1821 – July 27, 1907), was an American lawyer, soldier, and legislator, for which the Selma, Alabama bridge crossing the Alabama River is named. He served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War, during which he was captured three times. After the war he was the Grand Wizard of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, and was elected U.S. Senator. [READ MORE]
Two weeks after “Bloody Sunday” (March 21, 1965) Martin Luther King Jr. joined John Lewis and thousands of like-minded activists who successfully crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and marched their way to the Alabama State Capitol Building in Montgomery.
Young and old, black and white, a diverse group of thousands participated in the Voting Rights march that was planned between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama.
Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of Voting Rights activists (including Georgia Congressman John Lewis, right) march toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
After announcing that Alabama Gov. George Wallace had forbidden the march, State Troopers deployed 40 canisters of tear gas, 12 cans of smoke, and eight cans of nausea gas, before striking the marchers and chasing them back across the bridge. That is now Georgia Congressman John Lewis in the foreground, being struck by one of the Alabama State Troopers.
The Edmund Pettus Bridge crosses the Alabama River.
After signing the Voting Rights Act (August 6, 1965) U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Martin Luther King Jr. with the pen with which he had signed the document. [READ MORE]
Abraham Martin and John
b/ Marvin Gaye That’s The Way Love Is (1970)
(original) b/ Dion DiMucci, 1967
Today, under assault by a white nationalist-controlled government, Civil and Voting Rights in America have never needed advocates more … Those who believe in the democratic way of life … Those who care about more than themselves … Those willing to stand up and fight back, for the underprivileged, the overlooked, the lonely, and the forgotten. Resistance is not enough, people must FIGHT FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE.
“I Can See Clearly Now”