SCOTTSBORO STORIES, BLOG & NAVIGATION GUIDE

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The "Scottsboro Stories" blog reflects the writings, photographs, arrangements, opinions and musings of me, Garry L. Morgan, only. I do not represent the Scottsboro Boys Museum or the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation - the parent organization of the Scottsboro Boys Museum. I receive no profit from this endeavor. This blog is for educational purposes and that of open expression about racial and sexual discrimination, institutional and personal racism and the deadliest war of all time - "The Culture War."


SCOTTSBORO BOYS MUSEUM & CULTURAL CENTER OPENING STORIES

The Ledger: "Scottsboro, Ala., Museum Opens to Mark a Shameful Case " http://www.theledger.com/article/20100221/NEWS/2215011


Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 American Indian Heritage Month



Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Poster for 2014
The Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) developed the theme for this year’s National American Indian Heritage Month observance products: “Native Pride and Spirit: Yesterday, Today and Forever.”

Mr. Robert Brown, DEOMI (Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute) illustrator, describes the artistic design of this year’s National American Indian Heritage Month Observance poster: “A people and their culture are often preserved and communicated through artifacts, ancient writing and art. I felt the featured items were inspiring representatives of the rich and lasting history of American Indian and Native Alaskan culture. The top and bottom borders were taken from a pictorial notation of an Ojibwa music board found in the archives of the Library of Congress. The bird carving from a single piece of wood is a rare war helmet from the Tlingit people of southeast Alaska. The helmet, rediscovered in December 2013 in the Springfield Science Museum archives, is one of approximately only 95 left in existence today. Beginning as protection for Tlingit warriors in battle, war helmets today serve the Tlingit as healing reminders of their rich and ancient history,” said Mr. Brown.

In accordance with Public Law 101-343, National American Indian Heritage Month honors the many contributions and accomplishments of American Indians and Alaska Natives. During November, we remember the legacy of the first Americans and celebrate their vibrant culture and heritage. Since the Revolutionary War, Native Americans and Alaska Natives have played a vital role in our country’s freedom and security. They proudly serve in all departments of the United States Government today.

From the Aleutian Islands to the Florida Everglades, American Indians and Alaska Natives have contributed immensely to our country's heritage. During National American Indian Heritage Month, we commemorate their enduring achievements and reaffirm the vital role American Indians and Alaska Natives play in enriching the character of our Nation.

In 1976, the United States’ bicentennial year, Congress passed a resolution authorizing President Ford to proclaim a week in October as “Native American Awareness Week.” On October 8, 1976, he issued his presidential proclamation doing so. Since then, Congress and the President have observed a day, a week or a month in honor of the American Indian and Alaska Native people. And while the proclamations do not set a national theme for the observance, they do allow each federal department and agency to develop their own ways of celebrating and honoring the nation’s American Indian heritage.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Life of the Law Presentation on The Scottsboro Trials - Emphasis on Clarence Norris, By Ashley Cleek, NPR

Scottsboro Defendants Under Guard. Photo-Fair Use for non-profit education and news.

Clarence Norris 
(photo-Fair Use for non-profit education and news reporting, source unknown)


In The Name Of The Father

THE LIFE OF THE LAW SERIES
"“A posthumous pardon causes people to think about the next case,” says John Miller, a lawyer and professor at the University of Alabama, who helped write the Scottsboro Boys Act.
   Miller was not pleased by all the loopholes, but he says, the Act isn’t simply a symbolic, feel-good moment for Alabama.
   “Are we going to [do] better by the next group of people that are brought up on charges when the evidence looks a little thin and when they come from a background that is not like that of the people sitting in the jury box or the prosecution sitting across the courtroom,” questions Miller.
   Clarence Norris Jr. was the only family member of the Scottsboro Boys to attend the pardoning. Norris feels responsible for his father’s memory and a lack of resolution. While learning about the case, Norris discovered that in the 1982, his father had petitioned the state of Alabama for reparations — 10,000 dollars in compensation for wrongful incarceration.
   “When I found that [my father] had tried and failed, I felt like this is something that I need to finish for him,” Norris explains. “Even though he is not here to benefit from it. I feel like [the state of Alabama] still owes him.”
   In Alabama, a wrongful conviction can be awarded $50,000 for every year of prison. So Norris and his sisters hired a lawyer and filed a case against the state of Alabama for $750,000 in reparations. They are the only family of all nine Scottsboro Boys who can be found.
   States across the U.S. address reparations differently. Alabama is one of only 17 states that have mandated a fixed amount per year of wrongful incarceration. But, in Alabama, the process of petitioning for reparations is strict. Only two people have ever received compensation.  According to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office the statute of limitations for reparations for Clarence Norris, has passed. Even the language of the very Scottsboro Boys Act says that a posthumous pardon cannot be used as evidence that the state owes anyone reparations." For more on this story go to:   http://www.lifeofthelaw.org/inthenameofthefather/  (Fair use rights for non-profit education and news reporting.)


DENIAL OF TRUTH, INJUSTICE, GLORY SEEKERS and MURDER

There is one problem with this article - Ms. Washington did not collect all of the pictures, nor memorabilia, many contributed in building the museum and the multi-cultural foundation. The full truth has not been told about the pardon, there was more that could have been accomplished. 

This writer believes the pardon should have been the way and means to establish a Race Relations state schools education program or to increase funding for indigent defense.
Alabama incarcerates minority peoples and the poor many times over the influential and white majority. 

Only through education may racial prejudices be overcame that have been taught and encouraged via peer pressure, in families and in the local culture. The state and it's glory seeking politicians have refused to put their money where it counts. Those supporting the pardon have failed to realize that there is a cure for the disease of racism through education. Apparently some are afraid that the cure might change the face of our future for the betterment of our culture.

Then, there is the other story which goes to the very heart and soul of Jackson County Alabama and the injustice of racism and those who make a stand against wrongful conduct and social injustice. The Murder of Sheriff Matt Wann, hopefully Ms. Cleek will revisit that issue in her investigations. 

The bottom line for that story is this - Shh, we have secrets and we do not want to tell the truth about our murdered Sheriff.. 

After research, study of local cuture, and inquiries, I believe Sheriff Wann was murdered because of his not allowing the Scottsboro Defendants to be lynched by the Klan mob. Motive - revenge for foiling the lynching. The lack of prosecution and allowing the escape of the alleged murderer of Sheriff Wann points to a crime which has not been prosecuted. The murder was a conspiracy involving Klan members, other law enforcement along with political officials of the time. 

An Ode to a Sheriff from "The Odes" in part,
A story of an Odd Fellow from the heart.
*
The restless wings of time hath brought
the parting moment near.
The bell that tolls the midnight chime,
will knell a glorious day-
The memory of a forgotten time,
shall never fade away.
.
Farewell ye Brothers true and bold!
This day to you shall be.
O'er prejudice and slander old;
The Day of Victory;
And they who barr'd our infant way
Shall cheer our mighty youth,
And own the noble power to-day,
Of Friendship, Love and Truth.
.
The story of Matt Wann is told,
So the "Pale Face" may n'er agin be so bold,
Thus-this story of murder is told.
Poem by Garry Morgan in part and in part from the Odd Fellows, "The Odes". 
The poem represents a murder and the lack of prosecution by past elements of our local society which supported the action of the Ku Klux Klan - the "pale face." 

Past unresolved criminal acts and racism sets the stage for current cultural exclusion of those who do not agree with status quo political extremism and facilitates threatening behaviors and harassment in today's local culture from political extremists.

It was and is through Federal Law such as the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts that racial discrimination was prosecuted. There is an element of political neo-fascist extremists who are attempting to end the advancements of the Civil Rights Movement. Glory seeking does not resolve the age old problems of the Culture War which continues today.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

University of Alabama - Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility and the Scottsboro Boys Museum - Questions, Change of Focus Needed?

Photo of Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center by G. Morgan

Photo of the Scottsboro Defendants guarded by National Guard Troops. (Fair Usage rights for non-profit news reporting.)

Sep. 11, 2014 - Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility
Article by Olivia Grider

Headline - "UA students play crucial roles in raising awareness of – and rectifying – an 80-year-old case of injustice"

Byline - Through the Scottsboro Boys Museum University-Community Partnership and service-learning courses, students contribute to the museum and history in numerous ways.

Excerpts from article (Fair usage for non-profit news reporting) "In 2010, when Jennifer Barnett, a UA graduate student in women’s studies, mentioned to one of her professors an oral-history interview she was doing with Shelia Washington, the chairperson of the newly formed Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center, she was unaware she was setting in motion a series of events that would reignite the decades-old case... Tom Reidy, a student who was working toward his doctorate degree in history, played a crucial role in achieving the pardons. Spears invited him to join the team partnering with the Scottsboro Boys Museum in early 2011. While working on the travel guide and the history section of a grant proposal, he became friends with Washington, whose dream was to procure pardons for the Scottsboro Boys...Spears said students shaped history in two ways. “They dug up research and helped to write the history, producing usable contributions to remembering this iconic moment of Jim Crow history in the American South,” she said. “They also helped facilitate a legal change – the real, practical, public-policy effect of clearing these men’s names in the legal record...Reidy and Washington met multiple times with members of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and with state senators and representatives, eventually negotiating legislation that would make that dream a reality.”  http://cesr.ua.edu/ua-students-play-crucial-roles-in-raising-awareness-of-and-rectifying-an-80-year-old-case-of-injustice/

Dr. Ellen Spears makes presentation at the Scottsboro Boys Museum (photo by G. Morgan)

The understanding of racial prejudice, racial and sexual discrimination, institutional racism and how it affects our nation then and today is necessary if we are to overcome the sickness of racism and its debilitating economic consequences. The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center may be utilized as an institution to accomplish that goal, but will it?

Students at U of A have contributed much and are recognized, but until there is an effort to place forward educational programs in our public school system the sickness of racism will not be resolved in our nation, state or locally.

Is the mission of the foundation, museum and the University of Alabama's New School recognition and glory; or serve and assist as an educational facility to participate in resolving the age old sickness of racism? Maybe the current goal is to build educational resources for the needed mission, if that is the current goal it is not stated as such and should be stated publically. That is not saying recognition is not important, it is, particularly when there is a need for financial backing for programs.

Scottsboro Boys Museum Mission Statement from their web-site: "The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center commemorates the lives and legacy of nine young African Americans who, in the 1930s, became international symbols of race-based injustice in the American South, and celebrates the positive actions of those of all colors, creeds and origins who have taken a stand against the tyranny of racial oppression. We are committed to advancing reconciliation and healing, and promoting civil rights and an appreciation of cultural diversity worldwide." http://www.scottsboro-boys.org/aboutus.html  The last sentence is important as this is where education enters into the museum's mission.

Thus far, it seems recognition and glory have been the primary focus, when will the focus change to addressing personal and institutional racism in our local, state and national culture? If the goal of the University of Alabama's participation in the museum is to build it into an educational facility to assist in overcoming years of racism and Jim Crow Practice it should be stated directly and publically.

Personally, I think the underlying sickness of the disease prevents meaningful change. An opportunity was missed in the pardon act process to fund race relations education in Alabama or to increase indigent legal defense funding. The Republican administration was "drooling all over themselves" to prove they are not bigots with the pardon, this was a missed opportunity to facilitate change instead of supporting political glory seeking. Missed opportunities should be a lesson learned, but is that the case?

Adequate legal defense of the poor in our courts has never been an expressed goal of our Alabama Justice System. Prison slavery is needed to continue the prison industry. The majority of prisoners in Alabama's correctional facilities are black. It is evident racial discrimination is practiced in our communities and justice system in Alabama. The problem with Alabama Corrections: http://www.vice.com/read/the-horrific-state-of-alabamas-prisons  Alabama prison slavery is a problem for another day. Ending racial/sexual discrimination via education is a problem with solutions for the here and now.

Will the University of Alabama New School learn THEIR lessons of history?

Many people have participated to insure the museum's successful beginnings, notable participants and founders are Mrs. Kim Spears and Dr. Gary Spears, far right in photo.  (photo by G. Morgan)

 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Immigration madness - how racist political leadership costs all citizens regardless of race.

Fair use for education and news - CNN photo - "In schools, towns and farms, battle heats up over Alabama's tough immigration law"




Rotting tomatoes in fields as no one is available to pick them.

"Immigration law case payouts now total $580,000. That is not counting the states legal expenses...The law barred and criminalized contracts with illegal immigrants, required new students to provide immigration information for public school enrollment, barred illegal immigrants from transactions with governments, required the carrying of proof of lawful immigration status, barred illegal immigrants from seeking jobs and allowed law enforcement officers to check immigration status of people during routine traffic stops and other law enforcement contact. It allowed law enforcement to hold suspected illegal immigrants without bond." http://blog.al.com/wire/2014/05/alabama_agrees_to_230000_to_se.html

Crops rot in fields, farms fail http://mic.com/articles/8272/alabama-illegal-immigrant-crackdown-destroys-farm-business

Georgia racist policies resulted in a $1 billion dollar loss to its economy, Alabama realized the same results times 10. http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/02/13/farm-bureau-warns-enforcement-only-immigration-reform-would-harm-americas-food-supply/

More on the Alabama law which is about racism instead of good sense. http://immigrationimpact.com/category/state-and-local-immigration-law/alabama/

Immigrant rights activists in gather at Kelly Ingram Park–site of many protests during the civil rights struggle in Birmingham–to call for immigration reform. (Fair use, education, news: Photo by Alex Stonehill)
http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2014/03/28/an-eye-opening-trip-reveals-depth-in-the-deep-south/22071

More References on Immigrant Labor
The Chicken Trail   The "chicken trail" -- the recruitment of Latino poultry workers along the US-Mexican border for employment in southeastern states from Arkansas and Missouri to the Carolinas.

Amnesty - Reasons to Grant Amnesty to Illegal aliens

Migrant Workers Protection Act  http://www.dol.gov/whd/mspa/

 Harvest of Dignity is a new, original documentary created in 2011. It focuses on the lives and work of farm workers in North Carolina, providing an in-depth portrait of the people who harvest our food today. It combines interviews with North Carolina farm workers, advocates, faith leaders and educators, documentary photos and interviews collected by Student Action with Farmworkers interns and clips from the original Harvest of Shame documentary.   Harvest of Dignity












Immigrant Rights in Alabama

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Asian Pacific Heritage Month May 2014



The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.   Asian Pacific Heritage Month

As Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month draws to a close SGT Bryan Spradlin brings us the story of the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team, an all Japanese-American fighting force in the Second World War, and how they overcame adversity at home to become one of the most decorated units in U.S. Army History.



The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the U.S. Department of the Interior hosted the AAPI Heritage Month Opening Ceremony in Washington DC, May 6, 2014.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Native American Great Plains Tribes Protest Keystone Pipeline



Washington, DC April 22, 2014 - Native American Plains Tribes protesting the Keystone Oil Pipeline - message to President Obama - "Protect our sacred lands."

Washington DC - April 24, 2014  "Native Americans from across the United States are holding a peaceful protest on the National Mall this week, brought here by a pipeline debate in the Midwest...
Here in Washington the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline--which would deliver tar sand oil from Canada to the Gulf coast--has centered on whether it will create jobs or increase global warming. But the tribes that would be impacted say the debate should be about what it would mean for their sacred lands. That's why Cyril Scott, president of Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, is joining dozens of other native leaders on the mall this week." http://wamu.org/news/14/04/24/on_national_mall_native_americans_protest_keystone_xl_pipeline

Rosebud Sioux President Cyrill Scott - “I am very concerned these transient workers are going to come onto our land and violate our people...some of the man camps would have as many as 600 men." http://cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/keystone-pipeline-protesters-man-camps-could-lead-sexual-assaults-native

Monday, March 31, 2014

Clarence Norris Estate Seeks Restitution

"WAFF NEWS Ch 48 -  Scottsboro, Alabama - The estate of Clarence Norris is now seeking damages from the state for being wrongfully imprisoned. Hartline said the state passed a law in 2001, which allows people who receive pardons for being wrongfully accused to be eligible for $50,000 or more for each year spent in jail before the pardon was issued... 
Hartline said they are petitioning the state for 15 years, which equals a minimum of $750,000."  http://www.waff.com/story/25122195/estate-of-scottsboro-boy-sues-for-wrongful-imprisonment

Read the petition filed on behalf of Norris' estate here. Summary  |  Supporting documents



University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law Bio on Clarence Norris, Sr.- "Clarence Norris died in Bronx Community Hospital on Janurary 23, 1989 at the age of seventy-six.  He was, as the title of a book he helped write suggested, the last of the Scottsboro Boys."

"Norris was the second of eleven children born to Georgia sharecroppers.  He attended school only to second grade, then at age seven began working in the cotton fields.  Norris had a job in a Goodyear plant, working up to sixteen hours a day, when his girlfriend left and he decided to hit the railroad tracks."

"When Norris, who had been one of those involved in the train fight with white boys, was accused of rape he thought he "was as good as dead."  According to Norris, on the night before the first trial, he was removed from his cell, beaten and told to turn state's evidence if he wanted to save his life.  At the first trial in Scottsboro, Norris testified that theother blacks raped Price and Bates and that he alone was innocent: "They all raped her, everyone of them." "

"Norris's second conviction was overturned by the U. S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Norris vs Alabama, which found Alabama's system of excluding blacks from jury rolls to violate the Fourteenth Amendment.  Norris was convicted a third time in 1937 (in what Norris termed "a Kangaroo Court"), and again sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison by Governor Graves.  Norris was bitter over developments which left him and four others in prison, while four boys were released.  He believed that he was paying the price for their freedom.
Norris fought often in prison.  One incident in 1943 landed him ten days in the hole with only a blanket, bread, and water.  Another incident brought on a beating with a leather strap. "

"Norris was first paroled in 1944.  He moved to New York in violation of his parole, and was returned to prison.  In 1946, he was a paroled a second time.  He got a job shoveling coal in Cleveland for three years, then moved to New York City.  Unemployed in 1956, Norris visited Samuel Liebowitz who arranged a job for him as a dishwasher. "

"In the 1960's, Norris asked the help of the NAACP in obtaining a pardon from the State of Alabama.  Norris had violated parole when he left Alabama and was a fugitive subject to parole revocation and a return to prison.  A successful full-scale campaign was mounted, and in 1976 Norris received his pardon from Governor George Wallace."  http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTrials/scottsboro/SB_bSBs.html#The%20Scottsboro%20Boys

Alabama Heritage, Summer 2012, The Improbable Pardon of Clarence Norris: http://www.alabamaheritage.com/Scottsboro/ALH_Reidy_Awaiting%20Justice.pdf

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alabama House Bill (HB) 320 - Appropriations for the Scottsboro Boys Museum

Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center Scottsboro, Alabama (photo by G. Morgan)
 
A BILLTO BE ENTITLED AN ACT to make an appropriation of $100,000 from the State General Fund to the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, to require an operations plan and an audited financial statement prior to the release of any funds, and to require quarterly and end of year performance reports.
 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, there is hereby appropriated to the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center from the State General Fund the sum of $100,000. In addition, the appropriation made herein shall be budgeted and allotted pursuant to the Budget Management Act and Article 4 of Title 41 of the Code of Alabama, 1975, and specifically Section 41-4-93, Section 41-4-95 and Section 41-4-96.
Section 2. Prior to the release of any funds appropriated under this bill for fiscal year 2014-2015, an operations plan for fiscal year 2014-2015 and an audited financial statement for all operations during fiscal year 2012-2013 must be forwarded to the Director of Finance. It is the intent to release fiscal year 2014-2015 funds following receipts of these reports.
Section 3. In addition, quarterly reports for fiscal year 2014-2015 shall be made to the Director of Finance relating actual expenditures and accomplishments. An end of year performance report for the fiscal year 2014-2015 shall be made to the Director of Finance stating the work accomplished and services provided and the costs of accomplishing the work and providing the services, citing meaningful measures of program effectiveness and costs, as is required for state agencies in Code of Alabama 1975, Section 41-19-11. The Director of Finance shall forward a coy of all required reports to the Joint Fiscal Committee in a timely manner.
Section 4. This act shall become effective October 1, 2014. - See more at: http://openbama.org/bill/9681/text#sthash.tVTxP324.dpuf
 
1-21-2014 HB - Read for the first time and referred to the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee
 
Bill Sponsors and Co-Sponsors
 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Overcoming Racial Discrimination - Correcting the Record, Medal of Honors to be Awarded

 
Stars and Stripes, Feb 21, 2014: "...In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish-American and Hispanic-American veteran war records from these wars, to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice."

"During the review, records of several white soldiers were also found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 Act was amended to allow these soldiers to be honored with the upgrade — in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American Soldiers."  http://www.stripes.com/news/special-reports/medal-of-honor/obama-to-award-24-medals-of-honor-1.269228


Vietnam vet Santiago Erevia: SanAntonio, Tx. Stars and Stripes, Feb 22, 2014 - "Former Sgt. Santiago Erevia remembers the day in May 1969 when his Army unit came under heavy enemy fire in Vietnam. While crawling from one wounded solder to the next, the radio telephone operator used two M-16s and several grenades to single-handedly destroy four enemy bunkers and their occupants."

"Mr. Erevia is one of 24 veterans who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to receive the U.S. military's highest honor after a congressionally mandated review of minorities who may have been passed over because of long-held prejudices. The veterans — most of Hispanic or Jewish heritage — will be recognized in a March 18 ceremony that will try to correct the long-ignored ethnic and religious discrimination in the armed forces."  http://www.stripes.com/news/army/vietnam-vet-santiago-erevia-glad-to-receive-medal-of-honor-1.269513#.UwlgFiHkxiQ.facebook
 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Black History Month 2014

DOD Black History Month 2014
 
"When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926, he
realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of
the public.  The intention has never been to dictate or limit the
exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public's
attention important developments that merit emphasis. "

"For those interested in the study of identity and ideology, an
exploration of ASALH's Black History themes is itself instructive.  Over
the years, the themes reflect changes in how people of African
descent in the United States have viewed themselves, the influence of
social movements on racial ideologies, and the aspirations of the black
community."

"The changes notwithstanding, the list reveals an overarching
continuity in ASALH--our dedication to exploring historical issues of
importance to people of African descent and race relations in America."

--Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University http://asalh.org/blackhistorythemes.html


SLAVERY IN AMERICA SERIES




DOD NEWS - Obama Proclaims National African American History Month - See more at:  http://www.dodlive.mil/index.php/2014/02/president-obama-issues-national-african-american-history-month-proclamation/#sthash.l6uPvXHs.dpuf

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Americans have long celebrated our Nation as a beacon of liberty and opportunity -- home to patriots who threw off an empire, refuge to multitudes who fled oppression and despair. Yet we must also remember that while many came to our shores to pursue their own measure of freedom, hundreds of thousands arrived in chains. Through centuries of struggle, and through the toil of generations, African Americans have claimed rights long denied. During National African American History Month, we honor the men and women at the heart of this journey -- from engineers of the Underground Railroad to educators who answered a free people's call for a free mind, from patriots who proved that valor knows no color to demonstrators who gathered on the battlefields of justice and marched our Nation toward a brighter day.

As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage. We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.

Every American can draw strength from the story of hard-won progress, which not only defines the African-American experience, but also lies at the heart of our Nation as a whole. This story affirms that freedom is a gift from God, but it must be secured by His people here on earth. It inspires a new generation of leaders, and it teaches us all that when we come together in common purpose, we can right the wrongs of history and make our world anew.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 2014 as National African American History Month. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. 2014 Celebration


About Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

January 20, 2014 will mark the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
Explore this site to learn more about MLK Day and how you can participate. Below are a few links to get you started.

What is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service?

After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off." The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."
http://mlkday.gov/about/serveonkingday.php

Dr. King on "Meet the Press" on March, 28, 1965