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DISCLAIMER: The articles are published as submitted by the authors who hold the intellectual rights and take full responsibility for the content.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BSEC.  BSEC takes no responsibility or liability for errors or omissions in the content, including any copyright infringement.

BSEC Members’ Blog

BSEC Members BlogDISCLAIMER: The articles are published as submitted by the authors who hold the intellectual rights and take full responsibility for the content.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BSEC.  BSEC takes no responsibility or liability for...

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My 9/11 by Muriel Tillinghast (Members Blog)

My 9/11 by Muriel Tillinghast (Members Blog)

I have written about this elsewhere, but I will commit to writing about it now.  I can remember the day it happened  It was a Tuesday morning.  It was a day to remember not only because of the events that unfolded, but because it was an exceptionally beautiful...

read more

Covid- Virus Update/Uptick (Members Blog)

By Muriel Tillinghast As you can see, most of the Northeast and upper Midwest, as well as much of the West, have only “moderate” or “low” transmission."  But it looks to me like except for these areas, the rest of the country is off the chain and we are heading into...

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The 1960’S: Decade of Assassinations (Members Blog)

By Lujira Cooper Medgar Evers 1963 June CIVIL RIGHTS John F. Kennedy 1963 November EXTERNAL CONFLICT James Chaney 1964 June FREEDOM RIDER Michael Goodman 1964 June FREEDOM RIDER Led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Andrew Schwerner 1964 June FREEDOM RIDER Malcom X 1965...

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Pondering War by Muriel Tillinghast (Members Blog)

(Download this document here)  I was in my third year at Howard University when I had an unusual opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia.  One of my stops was in the Philippines — an archipelagic country, a big word for a nation of islands, in this case about 7600...

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Legislation Celebrates Juneteenth (Members Blog)

Legislation Celebrates Juneteenth (Members Blog)

A Day Which Commemorates Black and African American Freedom and Achievements Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed into law legislation (S.8598/A.10628) designating Juneteenth as an official public holiday in New York State. The new law celebrates Juneteenth, a day...

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The Sentry (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) (Members Blog)

We are mourning the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who for 27 years sat on the United States Supreme Court. Her impact in writing, affirming and advocating primarily the rights of women in a fractious and increasingly conservative judicial arena gave her various...

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America Not at its Greatest (Members’ Blog)

Note: This is a statement of solidarity with and for the current public responses to the police murder of George Floyd, late of Minneapolis, Minnesota by the Ethical Action Committee of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. Today, millions of people around the...

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Juneteenth, a Historical Analysis (Members Blog)

Juneteenth, a Historical Analysis (Members Blog)

 Platform speech by Muriel Tillinghast (used with permission)July 7, 2019  It was an honor to delve into this annal of American history.  It allowed me to probe some historical confusions and to, hopefully, correct a few misconceptions — mine and probably yours as...

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OPINION – Mask-less? Anti-virus shots? Really? ( Members’ Blog)

By Muriel Tillinghast

“As anti-vaxx groups nationwide continue to push dangerous theories, some are already reaping the consequences. In their latest deadly advice, the same anti-vaxx groups that pushed at-home COVID-19 remedies including drinking bleach, taking ivermectin, and gargling Betadine have been encouraging members not to go to the hospital.”
Daily Kos, Aysha Qamar , September 217, 2021

Clearly there is something going on in the resistance COVID protocols including wearing masks, frequent hand and face washing, and maintaining about 6 feet distance between strangers. I shake my head regarding not only the resistance, but the fury with which some of those parties respond. Masks and inoculations/vaccinations seem to be the prime targets. I try not to be judgmental, but here’s my thinking:

1. OK, I get it that one doesn’t want to be told what to do, but everyone gets directions, orders, advisements all during one’s life, some you follow willingly and others not so. However, if someone provides the hope of saving your life and the lives of your loved ones, what’s the beef?

2. I don’t like wearing masks either, but I have learned to make it work. It is a matter of getting use of something. I breathe through my nose and mouth when I have the mask on and I manage. You will too.

3. “I am not going to get the disease.” There’s no reasoning behind that one, so I’m going to skip that argument.

4. I got the flu after I got my flu shot. No argument. And you might catch COVID after the COVID shot, but here’s the kicker. With no immunity, severe illnesses including death is almost certain, if the virus is contracted. With the shots, it appears that the virus will be less virulent. Avoid the most serious effects is personally and medically important. One article said that 70 million people who are avoiding the inoculations are “simply kindling for the virus fire surely to come.”

5. So what is this virus in simple terms:

a. As a virus, this thing has no life. It is not a bacterium. It cannot be killed. It can be arrested when it has no more hosts in which to bred itself. How long can that last? Science doesn’t know. The idea here is to stop providing hosts in which the virus can breed and breed it does exponentially when it comes “home” to living, unvaccinated body.

b. Once inside the body, this rapidly reproducing virus can evolve at a rate this is nothing short of phenomenal. The virus enters in one form does not stay that way. The virus can evolve into several different forms depending on the host (your body) and its specific attack formations in various areas.

c. One viral entry can set up more than 12 or more different internal viral formations which can continue to create other formations. I now understand when doctors say, “There is nothing more we can do.” They are not chasing one problem, they may be chasing thousands of problems in one body: blood vessel (clouts), lungs (pneumonias), the heart to name few prime areas where the virus “sets up house.”

d. On NPR “Science Friday,” (October 1, 2021), a British case study was reviewed and it really effected me. About 10 days after he was infected, a man went to the hospital. The infection was noted, but nothing was happening to put them on alert and so he was sent home. As you know, hospital beds are in shortage and so is medical staffing, so he was not a priority. About 35 days later, he was back in the hospital and again his case was considered mild, nothing to work on. Then he came back 75 days later and he was in acute distress. He never got better. On the 101 day of his ordeal he died. His body carried more than a 1 billion viral load of the COVID type. That made me stop in my tracks. I don’t think that people understand this medical adversary. I know I didn’t!

1. Wait, there’s more, something called Long-COVID, for people who survive the virus. Here’s a layman’s type definition: “Although long COVID is poorly defined, the researchers [acknowledge] such symptoms as chest/throat pain, abnormal breathing, abdominal symptoms, fatigue, depression, headaches, cognitive dysfunction and muscle pain.”

2. COVID and its fallout will be with us for decades to come. As of this writing 700,000 Americans have died from the disease, the highest number of COVID deaths in the world. The social and economic impact is staggering, e.g., the number and care of children who have lost one or both parents and other significant family members, the loss of income by death or incapacities per household, loss of property, etc.

Be wise: get the shots, stay up on your vitamins, follow the protocols.

 

 

My 9/11 by Muriel Tillinghast (Members Blog)

My 9/11 by Muriel Tillinghast (Members Blog)

I have written about this elsewhere, but I will commit to writing about it now.  I can remember the day it happened  It was a Tuesday morning.  It was a day to remember not only because of the events that unfolded, but because it was an exceptionally beautiful morning.  The sun was shinning brightly and the sky was the kind of clear blue that I would say is reserved for Central Asian skies which were the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.  So, all of that was going through my mind while I was driving down 2nd Avenue on my way to a Head Start Sponsoring Board Council meeting.  These meetings were held in a conference space of a major law firm housed at Grand Central high above the main floor. 

I was listening to the news on 1010-WINS on AM as I remember.  In the clarity of the moment, I looked at the sky and saw a plane approaching the World Trade Center (WTC),  The building was so big that it could be seen for miles and  from 42nd Street it was quite visible.   I knew instantly something was wrong.  No jet planes fly over that landscape in Manhattan.  All jet plane traffic is routed to Queens, so I knew something was off.  I just didn’t know how off!  

I saw the impact and the black smoke and then the flames.  I didn’t have answers, but I saw that there was an attack underway.  That was from the left.  On the right, while I don’t think that saw that plane, I saw its impact a few minutes later.  And, another large cloud of smoke was curling in the crystal blue sky.  The World Trade Center — I tended to speak  of both buildings as one — was on fire on its topmost floors.(1)  

As I had been to 109th floor several times in obviously better times, I knew that the fire department had no way of reaching whomever was up there as the fire equipment cannot go beyond the 9th floor,   And, no water pressure could reduce that kind of combustion that far up.   It is true that they can do some rescue off of rooftops, but that is assuming that the roof is not on fire and that was to going to be the case now.  The people at the top — the ones who reported to work early — were going to be trapped by the fire.  Who were they?  Why had this occurred?

Fire trucks by the score were racing down 2nd Avenue along along with ambulances.  I moved off to the side, parked and proceeded to my meeting in somewhat of a daze.  The world that I saw through others’ eyes was fractured, and we all moved as if we were stunned.  When I reached the mezzanine of the Pan Am Building, the former name for Grand Central  Station, which I reached by escalator, I was told several things:  there would be no meetings at this building today; the elevators were closed and we could not proceed any further, wait.   Clearly, no we had no idea what in the devil was going on in our financial district or anywhere else, but the building was on lockdown.  The word was, stop! After a while I could leave.  We all were in a quiet hysteria.

I had to think!  What to do now? One of my children was abroad, at least for now, there was safety there.  I retrieved my car and proceeded south.  Curiously, a continuous layer of thick, light-colored soot floated in the air and was soon to cover everything.  According to the moment-to-moment news, a plane was in trouble in Pennsylvania.  No details were available just then and another plane had run into the Pentagon.  Four jets, four acts of kamikaze-style aggression actually not seen since WWII and pretty much unknown on this landscape were in full display.(1)  The country was temporarily paralyzed.  Those of us in motion moved around Manhattan in somewhat of a daze, but we kept on moving.  Eventually, I headed back north towards upper Manhattan after being turned around because I could not proceed southward after a point.  The police were re-routing all traffic after a certain point.  I found my daughter who was on foot up around Columbia University.  Those students were tumbling out of their classes, too, in disbelief.  That I found my daughter rather easily was in itself a miracle! 

[Lower Manhattan was now being cordoned off at Canal Street, I believe.  At some point in the next several weeks, as I recall, I was there in the debris of ash along with the myriad of fire trucks and ambulances, police still trying to figure things out.  On that day, however, whatever order existed was self-imposed.  Getting a hold to what was happening took a bit of rock-hard sanity.  Before returning to the upper part of Manhattan,  I remember continuing going downtown on the east side as close  to Lower Manhattan as I could get to find out more.  Everywhere I was on that day, Manhattan was eerie, ghostlike, quiet, sobering, and ominous.  We didn’t know what was coming next.]

Everyone, including me and my car was getting covered in this light white-grey soot which was everywhere.  I was to learn that each one of us was on our own. I observed people were actually helping each other and people needed help.  I remember that many restaurants opened their doors and gave people seats and water — the two things everybody needed.  I may have taken a bottle or two of the free water, but once I joined with my daughter, we need to find a way to get home.  That was our priority.  

I was thankful having a car because the subway system was pure chaos.  But a car had its limitations.  All the bridges exiting Manhattan were closed.  The Canal Street and Williamsburg connections were useless.   At 59th Street, until way late in the night, that bridge was also closed.  I thought about going up through the Bronx and coming down through the Whitestone, but that was closed, too.  On another mission, I went to the bank to withdraw some funds and that was closed, too.

All the while, from the earliest time of this event — close to  9 A.M. —  people were coming to rescue what they could at the WTC.  It turns out that they couldn’t rescue much.  With the fires burning and people jumping out of the windows to avoid the flames, but dying for sure on impact, being at the WTC was dangerous business all around.  How many really died that day, I submit that we will never know. 

I clearly remember that I tried to get someone to open an elevator which was packed with people in a particular building.  I don’t remember how I came to learn that information at this time, but it doesn’t matter.   It was ignored.  Few, if any elevators were opened for various reasons they later said.  And, those people that I knew of died.   I never got nor did I expect to get an explanation as to why a specific elevator which I knew of was not opened when there was still hope for life.  Were I less aware, I would say that the people in charge knew what they were doing, but I know better.  Then after the planes’ impact and those immediate deaths, the buildings were due to collapse and so the danger continued.  Breathing that air was toxic and actually fatal.   And, Rudy Giuliani, America’s mayor, he was no where to be seen.  We were on our own.

Christine Todd Whitman, who was at that point the inept head of the Environmental Protection Agency, put out a public notice that uniformed first responders were not to come with any individual protective equipment, e.g., masks, hazard suits and gear and so forth.  She was probably goaded into that position as were her other policy moves.  However, I thought that this one was particularly odd and colossally stupid.  It turns out that I was correct on both counts because almost to a person, all of those who were at scene and obeyed those insane directives have died as a result of some form of cancer.   Double deaths, but those of the rescuers could have been mitigated with some common sense.  Nope, no common sense was available — just shock and reaction which is how we got to Afghanistan, but that is several paragraphs down in this writing.

We finally learned some of the businesses and companies were tenants.  We would never know all as some information remains classified.  We know many of the people who were caught in the conflagration, but some we would never know.  Families would know who was caught because they didn’t come home ever again.  Lots of undocumented people frequented the area for “off the book” work.  The Wall Street area was infamous for immigrant workers in that regard.   Also, the WTC was a major artery for many subways and underground walk throughs.  It is very possible that people at the street level and below were the last to really know what was happening above their heads and by the time their learned, for many, it could have been too late.  

There were shops in the area that I loved to browse.  There was a great shop on the corner which had the best peasant loft bread and it was not far from a small jewelry store that frequently caught my eye.  Across the street from where I once worked was the best hamburger joint in the world and down the street on the other side was a favorite Chinese restaurant on the second floor and a number of others serving great food within walking distance not too far away.  Windows on the World, a top gourmet restaurant, was on the 109th floor at the top.  

Only the people who were below where the planes hit had a chance to leave the buildings, if  they moved quickly and exited by the stairs.  Once I knew someone who was doing temp work in one of the buildings.  She said, the building shook hard and she smelled smoke.  Over the loud speaker, workers were encouraged to stay at their desks.  She started putting her things together and heading for the door.  She was on the 80th floor.  She spoke to another person across the aisle and asked if she were leaving.  And, they young woman said no.  Well, my girl got up and headed for the stairs which were now flowing with a constant stream of human traffic.  Two men were carrying a wheel-chaired co-worker down the stairs.  They were not abandoning her.  Everyone was moving quickly and quietly, helping where they could.  No shoving, just focused determination and energy.  No time to waste!  According to her experience, they all  made it, down and out as they scattered in the street streaming uptown.   One hour and 42 minutes after impact, the inevitable happened.  In the fire, the buildings collapsed.  The people who stayed were never heard from again.

Anyone in an elevator was doomed.  In fire, the elevators automatically go to the bottom shaft which is below floor level and have to be opened by engineers or trained service personnel — all unlikely to be available under these circumstances.  This is why it is written on all elevators near their doors that in case of fire, take the stairs.  “In Case of Fire, Do not Take This Elevator” should be familiar to everybody.   All of it — that cozy enclave of wealth and consumer pleasures which was the financial district was gone almost in an instant.   Confusion, anger, confusion and frustration, death remained.   That was on that day and for many days and years to come.  

In a day or two, a name was floated on the news, Osama Bin Laden.(2)   I didn’t remember hearing of him before, perhaps I had, nor had I paid much attention to a country called Afghanistan. I am reminded, however, that prior to the New York experience with him, “he blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.”(3)   Still he was vague, but not for long.(2) 

It seemed, at least according to the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld issued statement, that the United States had been the victim of a state of war by one Osama Bin Laden and they were going to get him no matter what.(3) Now a thousand questions were asked then and most of them remain unanswered even now.  How does an entire country get to be the target by one man’s operation even if it did cost thousands of lives?  It was a complicated question and the answers were even more complicated.  Nonetheless, soon, the United States was headed to Afghanistan to find this elusive character who lived in a cave and was on dialysis.  In any case, the Americans who worked in Afghanistan knew him.  It seems that there was a history via the mujahideen, the Afghan fighters, who had been battling the Russians for the previous decade or so.  It seems that the United States  — always itching to fight the Russians in a proxy war — knew and had trained many of the mujahideen who now had a leader who now declared war on the United States.

 

Let me add to the package of absurdities, our fearless leader, George W. Bush, the son of Herbert Walker Bush, who was not only not the sharpest knife in the drawer, was also the puppet to the puppet masters of Richard Cheney, his vice-president, and head of Halliburton, a big war contractor,  along with  Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.  This ensemble to arch-right nut jobs not only decided that a full-scale war should be raised against Afghanistan, but declared that “this would be a short war,” that we’d be over and out in a matter of weeks.  Spoken aloud and with some semblance of intelligence, a war was started.   

 

The blind were leading the blind, the United States walked into an area full-blown about which they knew little or nothing.  In fact, maps of the country were so rare that the map sellers in the Manhattan had their maps pulled by the Pentagon.  I know because I spoke to several of them.  And, now 20 years later the Americans have finally left the best way they could, running and in some disarray. It wasn’t easy coming in.  And, it was never going to be easy or victorious coming out.  That I could have told them for free, not at the cost of $825 billion for which they have nothing to show for lives lost, money spent and the destruction.(4)  

 

Alexander left Afghanistan 2,000 years ago.   The Russians left it willingly after their losses in the 1990s.  So why would the Americans think they could shape this rugged country in their image with some people they had just met and with whom they have almost nothing in common?  Arrogance!  Billions spent on something useless,  while the infrastructure of the country was decaying, lots of homegrown issues were left to simmer then flameout. . .   Osama was finally caught and disposed of on a clandestine mission in Pakistan of all places.  

 

These are my short notes on the long engagement in Afghanistan and America’s militarism as its prime and most consistent area of foreign policy.  Enough has been said for now.

 __________________________

END NOTES

1  Later I learned that all 4 jets had about 20,000 gallons of fuel and were due to fly out to California.  So, they were deliberately selected to do maximum damage for an air strike.

2 Some of the huge family spell their name Ladin, maybe to separate themselves from Osama’s legacy.

3   “ . . .[T]hat killed mostly Kenyans and Tanzanians (224 dead, 4,500 injured.”   Additionally, he was the mastermind behind blowing up the USS Cole, a ship deployed in the Gulf.   

Source: “In The End, Bin Laden Won,” Michael Moore, online substance.com, September 7, 2021 

The USS Cole was a naval destroyer in the Gulf of Aden.  Seventeen American sailors were killed, 38 wounded.  Source:  USS Cole attacked by terrorists – HISTORY

https://www.history.com › this-day-in-history › uss-cole…

1,856 of these deaths have been the result of hostile action. 320 American service members have also been wounded in action during the war. In addition, there were 1,720 U.S. civilian contractor fatalities, for a total of 4,096 Americans killed during the war. More than 46,000 civilians have been killed by all sides in the Afghanistan conflict. These are the direct deaths from bombs, bullets, blasts and fire. Sep 1, 2021  See,

United States military casualties in the War in Afghanistan

https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › United_States_military_c…

 

Covid- Virus Update/Uptick (Members Blog)

By Muriel Tillinghast

As you can see, most of the Northeast and upper Midwest, as well as much of the West, have only “moderate” or “low” transmission.”  But it looks to me like except for these areas, the rest of the country is off the chain and we are heading into big-time Covid-Delta trouble.  The medical community is bracing for a peak in the fall which will backslide all of the efforts to date in keeping the positivity rate under control.  30% of the country remains uninoculated.

COVID-Delta is taking more than 50,000 people a day in England.  In the United States, which has experienced more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other country, the Delta variant represents about 83% of new infections. So far, unvaccinated people represent nearly 97% of severe cases.Haven’t we been here before? 

Doctors and researchers don’t know everything about the Covid, but their information fields are growing and new strains of the virus are evolving.  

For now, they know this much:  

(a) Wear the mask in closed areas and among strangers.  Double-masking is ok.

(b) Wash your hands and face frequently, running water and soap is the best.
 Keep your unwashed hands away from your face.
Keep hand sanitizers with you at all times.

(c) Avoid closed-in locations with strangers.  Keep your social distance (6 feet spacing is best!)

(d) Get inoculated and encourage others who have not.  

This is the best prevention.
No, it’s not 100%, but it’s the best we have.
Ninety-seven percent of the people with Covid-Delta have been unvaccinated!

In parts of the country with relatively low vaccination rates, e.g.,  Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Nevada, hospitalizations have increased rapidly.  You can see the map for yourself!  The Delta variant is more highly transferable than the earlier Alpha one with which we struggled last year.  

The unvaccinated are playing Russian roulette with their own lives and yours.

Sources:

The New York Times, The Morning, July 28, 2021, David Leonhardt

How the Delta Variant Upends Assumptions About the Coronavirus | Top News | US News – USNews.com

The 1960’S: Decade of Assassinations (Members Blog)

By Lujira Cooper

Medgar Evers 1963 June CIVIL RIGHTS
John F. Kennedy 1963 November EXTERNAL CONFLICT
James Chaney 1964 June FREEDOM RIDER
Michael Goodman 1964 June FREEDOM RIDER Led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Andrew Schwerner 1964 June FREEDOM RIDER
Malcom X 1965 February INTERNAL CONFLICT
Martin Luther King Jr. 1968 April EXTERNAL CONFLICT
Robert F. Kennedy 1968 June EXTERNAL CONFLICT
Fred Hampton 1969 December EXTERNAL CONFLICT (FBI)

The 1960’s was a tumultuous and exciting time. People observed Flower Power, anti-Vietnam protests, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the Black Arts Movement against a backdrop of a slew of assassinations. The greatness of the decade was obliterated by the untimely, unnecessary and the unfortunate deaths those living in that time experienced.

In the decade of clamoring for civil rights death reared its racist head. In the decade of the Black Arts Movement to instill Black Pride with “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” voices were silenced. In the decade of fighting for voting rights, assassinations were the soup du jour.

Civil rights took a brutal hit in the 1960’s. Assassinations ruled this time some from internal conflict and others from external forces. Nine individuals died and seven of them (maybe all) due to civil rights activism. A charged time when Black people began to flex their power, however, Freedom Summer (1964) was not freedom to Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. It led to their deaths or more appropriately murders.

In a time when Black people began to fight back because they as Fannie Lou Hamer said, “were sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Note: Lottie L. Joiner spoke of Hamer’s impassioned speech as a catalyst for the all-White male Southern Democrats to switch to Republican. A tsunami of blood flowed through this decade. It began with the death of Medgar Evers born in Decatur MS, a was murdered in Mound Bayou, MS., in front of his home. The murderers didn’t care he had small children who might have seen him killed. According to the NAACP, Evers fought in the Battle of Normandy but as we know that did nothing for him when he returned home. Later the University of Mississippi’s Law school rejected his application.

Before his assassination there had been several attempts on his life. A Molotov cocktail thrown and being nearly run over. His murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, three decades later was convicted. The killing spurred by investigation of the death of Emmitt Till (1955) and his vocal support of Clyde Kennard whose integration actions led to him being framed for robbery. Mickey Levine, past chairman of the American Veterans Committee, said of Evers, “No soldier in this field has fought more courageously, more heroically than Medgar Evers (NAACP).

Our next ghastly crime is the assassination of JFK. Basically, it’s a story no one knows the truth about. We do know Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly shot and killed JFK and then through some magic was killed by Jack Ruby while being transported from one jail to another. Questions still abound about this. Oswald’s death leaves many unanswered questions. Like why he wasn’t guarded better? How did a civilian get into the area and a host more? That’s two in 1963.

In 1964 the country faces the deaths of Freedom Riders Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney. The three stopped by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price (aka KKK) for on a fabricated charge of a church are thrown into a jail cell. Price released them after seven hours then dropped off another deputy and raced to catch them before they got out of Philadelphia, MS. With the help of other KKK members shot to death and burned their bodies. With the help of an informant, the FBI arrested nineteen men for violating their civil rights. In 1967 nine were acquitted and seven found guilty including Price and KKK Imperial Wizard Bowers. Although hailed as milestone, since no one had ever been convicted of killing a civil rights worker, the judge, William Cox, an ardent segregationist sentence would be laughable if not tragic. He meted out time of three to ten years saying, “They killed one n*****, one Jew, and a white man. I gave them what I thought they deserved.” Question how serious did he take it if that was his comment? (seven guilty, nine acquitted and three deadlocked). The longest sentence came in 2005 when Edgar Ray Killen received a sentence of sixty years for three counts of manslaughter, (History.com). another note to this tragic story was it took three years of wrangling until the Supreme Court upheld the indictments.

The next chapter in this tragic saga is the death of Malcom X. who was killed in the Audubon ballroom in Harlem, NY.  According to Josiah Bates of Time magazine, three people in 1966 were convicted for his death “Talmadge Hayer or Thomas Hagan (a.k.a Mujahid Abdul Halim), Norman Butler (a.k.a Muhammad Abdul Aziz) and Thomas Johnson (a.k.a Khalil Islam).” Why was Malcolm killed? Bates reports a few things led to his death, however his comment “chickens coming home to roost” regarding to JFK’s assassination led to a final break with the Nation of Islam (NOI). The question remains were the three following orders of Elijah Muhmmad, a mandate of the NYPD’s Bureau of Special Services (BOSS) or J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI since spies were very prevalent in Malcolm X’s breakaway organizations Muslim Mosque, Inc (MMI) and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). Law enforcement perceived him as a threat to the social order. Hoover, according to Bates, said, “Do something about Malcolm X.”

Two intriguing factors may have contributed to his death. The first telling his security not to search for weapons. The reasoning was to get away from NOI’s image and the other more striking no police presence there. This is surprising since they always showed up. Bates further notes an intriguing comment about Malcolm’s death from Elijah Muhammad who claimed no involvement, “He got just what he deserved.” Wonder what he meant.

The next victim was Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated on April 4, 1968, another day that goes down infamy. King had arrived in Tennessee in preparation to march with Memphis striking sanitation workers.  An escaped prisoner, James Earl Ray, was the alleged assassin who eventually was sentenced to 99 years in prison since he confessed to the crime. King was shot with a 30.06 Remington rifle. King a man of peace had his life cut short because he spoke out against the injustices he saw.

Robert F. Kennedy as Attorney General pressured the FBI to investigate the deaths of Goodman, Cheney and Schwerner. Which culminated a trial where the segregationist, U.S. District Judge William Cox took the case seriously from fear of impeachment.

RFK along with his brother and later Lyndon Johnson got the Civil Rights Act passed. Ted Kennedy said of Robert’s funeral, he was, “a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it,” (History.com). Also of note was his travels to “Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, migrant workers’ camps and urban ghettos to study the effects of poverty and made trips abroad to such places as apartheid-ruled South Africa to advocate for the advancement of human rights” (History.com). RFK was an outspoken opponent to Johnson’s escalation of the VietNam war. RFK sent troops to enforce a ruling that allowed James Meredith to enroll in the University of Mississippi. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan assassinated RFK allegedly because of he resented Senator’s Kennedy’s” support of the Six-Day War intervention in Israel the previous year,” (History.com).

Our final fatality of the decade is Fred Hampton. He was a charismatic leader allegedly betrayed by one of his own. Hampton led the Chicago arm of the Black Panthers. According to the Chicago-Sun Times, Hampton was “A young, gifted leader with a talent for organizing.” In high school he led a boycott of homecoming. In doing this it permitted black girls to compete for the coveted title. He also led the Inter-Racial Council to diffuse racial conflict at Proviso East High School (Chicago-Sun Times). Racism, capitalism, and police brutality were an anathema the Black Panthers who formed community alliances to defeat these isms. Now onto why he was hunted and killed. Bring in the same culprit who worked hard to discredit King, FBI Director Herbert Hoover who called them, the Black Panthers, “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,” according to Curt Gentry’s “J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets.” Hampton was betrayed by one of his own according to information allegedly by William O’Neal head of Security for the Black Panther party. Hoover’s fear of Hampton’s charisma and Chicago’s untamed and corrupt police force fought the idea of Black folks rising and with help of a “friend” silenced the voice of Hampton.

Each change creates a new normal.

References

“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute” Stanford University

“Slain civil rights workers found.” August 1964. A&E Television Networks

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/slain-civil-rights-workers-found

Bates, Josiah 2020. “The Enduring Mystery of Malcolm X’s Assassination” Time 

https://time.com/5778688/malcolm-x-assassination/

Cooper, Lujira. (2019). LGBTQ AGING IN A HETEROSEXUAL WORLD

Joiner, Lottie L. (2014). Remembering Civil Rights Heroine Fannie Lou Hamer: ‘I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired’ Daily Beast 

© 2021 Lujira J. Cooper