Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Memphis is Also America"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The Nation posted an article online today from its April 22, 1968 issue. The essay, by Pat Watters, takes a hard look at Memphis -- its white leadership, its newspapers, its racism -- in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination earlier that month.

It's quite illuminating. An excerpt: His movement, his life were Southern; but Memphis, where he died, symbolized more than the South. Its racial crisis of 1968 and its murderous failure were those of all America.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went there during the fifth week of a garbage workers' strike that had built into a civil rights movement and a dangerous crisis. The Memphis Negro community had not developed much of a civil rights movement during the early 1960s. So the movement that did come in 1968 capsuled into a few swift weeks the decade's history of white America's failure to respond to the nonviolence of Dr. King, and black America's recoil into despair and a violence of desperation ... Read it all at The Nation's website.

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