Thursday, March 02, 2006


'Unseen. Unforgotten'

Historic pictures of civil rights struggle, never before published, from the Birmingham News.

Thanks to AE at Arse Poetica.

I'm 41. My memory begins in about 1968, just little wisps. Tell me your memories of these times and events.


There are two series of pictures that stand out in my mind from this era. One was during the Eisenhower Presidency from Life magazine I think.. They are pictures of two very large suited U.S. Marshals escorting a very small 7 or 8 year old girl to school in Little Rock Ark. These were accompanied by pictures of screaming white parents with looks of extreme hatred on their faces.
I was about 14 then.
The next was in the Kennedy administration. It was the TV images of Bull Connor's men turning firehoses and letting lose dogs on Black protesters crossing a bridge. I was about 17 when that happened.
That IS an iconic pic, the one from Little Rock. I might know it well from proximity to that city.

Ya know it was just 20 years ago that Orval Faubus, the governor at the time, made his last run for governor.

Read "Yellow Dogs and Dark Horses" by John Robert Starr, longtime Little Rock journalist, for a good take on Arkie politics during the era.
If you are in San Francisco...
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has a new show on March 18th. The show features the Black Panther Party.

"The exhibition pairs rare artifacts—never-before-released documents, recordings, film clips and archival photos, including seminal historical photography..."
Drlobojo, I think yer the only real grownup here! I don't think most ER readers have memories of the time and era 'cause they were still glimmers in their daddy's eye!
Word verifornication just had me type in:


Don't know about being grown up and all, maybe I'm just old. I've been accumulating more toys now than I did as a kid.
Oh, I have many, many memories. Of course I was a precocious kid of the '60s. My parents even subscribed to "Jet" magazine to expose me to things I wouldn't otherwise learn.

1968 was a harsh year. First was the assassination of Martin Luther King, followed by the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the turmoil of the '68 Democratic convention. All of those events are burned into my memory, especially that June evening when Kennedy was shot.

I remember George Wallace before he had his late-life "come to Jesus" repentance. In eighth grade civics class we were randomly assigned candidates to design a political campaign for; my dad was downright apoplectic that I had to do one for George Wallace who was running as an Independent.

One of Wallace's more imposing acts was in 1963 when he stood at the door at the University of Alabama in Montgomery and refused to allow two black students (with federal guards) to enroll.

His run for the presidency siphoned off Democratic votes from Hubert Humphrey and put Nixon in the White House.

Here's an event that will show you what kind of impact this era had on me: Summer of 1971, my family was on an extended vacation. We stop for the night at a cheap motel in Cairo, Ill. We need to restock the cooler, so ... my mom and I set out on foot to walk to a nearby grocery store for more lunch meat and bread. Dad and brother stayed at the motel to watch an episode of a new TV show: All in the Family. The episode where Archie is reluctant to donate blood because he's afraid a non-white person would be the recipient.

As mom and I came out of the grocery store, we were really surprised to see dad with the car at the door. Not in the parking lot, mind you. At the door. Shaking.

We get in, thinking "Man, this is unlike dad to come pick us up." He couldn't speak until we got back to the motel and saw a local news feed showing the race riot that was taking place in the neighborhood.

And then, back to Archie.
I had to go see what I could find about that Cairo incident. Here's the story, in brief:

On June 26, 1962 sit-in demonstrations and a nonviolent resistance movement began in Cairo, Illinois. Demonstrations against segregation in a swimming pool, a skating rink, and other facilities continued for several months.
On the night of October 24-25, 1970 Blacks attacked the police station in Cairo, Illinois. The October attacks began the evening of the 24th shortly after a white-owned grocery store was burned. Cairo Mayor A.B. Thomas called the incident an "armed insurrection."
On May 30, 1971 three police officers were injured in a gun battle in Cairo. Mayor Thomas blamed the shootings on the United Front, a predominantly Black organization that had led a boycott of the town's White merchants. The United Front declined to comment on the incident.
Dudette. Closest I can come to anything oike that -- and it's not close atall -- is a loud but nonviolent Klan rally in Fort Smith, Ark., in the '80s.

Uh, I was there as a curious onlooker-student journalist.
I tell you what, I find it odd that anyone could ever be bored in a world like ours.
Oh, there's something on my blog you'll enjoy...
An aside: I was Cairo Ill. this last Fall. It is what much of New Oreans will be, a ghost town. It is simply a place with empty buildings flooded out in the 1993 flood and never fixed. It was amazing. A little of the city North of a flood gate was still intact, but I would say 70% was abandoned.
Say Trixie, I don't remember that incident in Cairo, but in 1970-72 I was just out of the army, living on my G.I. bill and the good graces of my wife as I went to college. I had a 12in B&W tv but spent most of my spare time down at my "thoughtful place" on the Deep Fork creek, in the Cross-Timbers East of Arcadia, Oklahoma. Me and my friend Jack D. would sit there many an afternoon and watch the soap suds bubbleing up from the filthy water going over a little water falls. I guess I was kind of not paying attention during that time.
You know later they damn up that creek and created a reservior. Hell ER, you may even be drinking its water.
That's one of my favorite areas too, drlobojo! So glad Washington Irving explored that area as well as the cross timbers up closer to Stillwater. I would love to be able to buy a quarter section of land in that area. There are so many ranches out there now -- longhorn steers, llamas, Shetland ponies, sheep... a lot of diverse animal crops as well as farmland.
I have always liked Irving's description of the burned edge of the Cross Timbers after a prairie fire had burned into it. He called it the "cast-iron forest"

The Oklahoma Historical Marker about Irvings visit was about a quater mile East of where I lived on old Rt. 66.
Uh, Cairo was not flooded during the 1993 flood. It's appearance is the result of decades of decay and neglect. Businesses simply closed and moved out, leaving the buildings behind. The population is largely poor, and they can't afford to fix the buildings. The tax base is zilch, so the city can't afford to revitalize the downtown area. Anyone who says the city flooded in 1993 is wrong.
Thanks, Anon. Myself, I have no idee.
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