News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Law: Leader in Mississippi murders charged
I have learned of an interesting new development in one of those cases in which civil rights activists were killed, but no state convictions occurred. Jonathan Singer, at Basie!, brought the news to my attention. Edgar Ray Killen, believed to me the ringleader of those responsible for the deaths of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, has been charged with three counts of murder in Neshoba County. A jury failed to convict Killen on federal charges in 1967. He has been a hero to some Mississippians during the subsequent decades.
The Washington Post is covering the case.
Killen's trial will reveal how much influence the opponents of civil rights, who are definitely still very much present in the South, still have in the Mississippi Delta. The state's image would benefit by a conviction, but many white Mississippians are believers in white supremacy.
Singer will be shedding no tears for the elderly defendant.
The neo-Confederates in forums I monitor are extremely proud of the racist abuses they and their leaders have gotten away with. Holding even one of their heroes legally accountable is one of the best anecdotes I can think of.
Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town obscure except for being the site of the murders of Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney. Doing so was a wink and nod to Southern voters who opposed civil rights. Jack White, at Time, has given the matter some thought.posted by J. | 10:00 PM
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
News: Shirley Chisholm set high standard
The nature of American history is such that well past the middle of the last century, people of color doing the kinds of things that democracy is supposed to guarantee could be deemed 'firsts.' One of those firsts was a state politician who graduated to the national stage when the progress of the civil rights movement resulted in African-Americans being significantly represented in Congress. CNN chronicles the passage of Shirley Chisholm.
A favorite phrase Chisholm used to describe herself was "unbought and unbossed." Despite the benefits available to black politicians who compromised their values, such as contemporaries Edward Brooke and Samuel Pierce, Chisholm remained steadfastly her own person. That meant weathering criticism for being outspoken and not knowing her place.
She never wavered.
A memorial service for Shirley Chisholm will take place Saturday in Palm Coast, Florida. She will be buried in New York City.posted by J. | 9:00 PM