Skip to comments.You Me and Martin Luther King (Birmingham Plus 50)
Posted on 04/29/2013 1:36:47 AM PDT by Nextrush
Back in the 1970's with guys like Al Franken behind the skits, you could always count on a political edge to comedy on "Saturday Night Live."
One such skit featured Garrett Morris as Martin Luther King and Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as the Kennedy brothers (John and Bobby).
The skit was about King asking for support for civil rights from the Kennedys and the Kennedys changing the subject.
As a child I read John Birch Society literature ("Teddy Bare" by Alan Stang) making the point that Ted Kennedy was more "liberal" than his older brothers.
Presidents are the ultimate politicians and JFK felt compelled to play the political middle in the early 1960's just like they do it to the disappointment of conservatives and patriots today.
Kennedy needed the black voters of the North (where they could vote back then), the whites who opposed segregation to be sure, but he also needed southern white voters as well. They all helped elect him in 1960 and he would need them again in 1964.
This meant a go slow approach on race focused on limited lawsuits to try to give blacks the right to vote in the South. Kennedy disliked discrimination that reminded him of how his Irish ancestors were treated when they arrived in America. JFK saw the right to vote as key to changing the racial discrimination that existed in his time as it did for the Irish in the US back in the 19th Century.
MLK wanted dramatic change including a civil rights law to force integration of public accomodations like restaurants and hotels.
In order to draw attention to his demands, King began a campaign of civil disobedience in Albany, Georgia in 1962.
MLK's non-violent approach was countered by a local police chief, Laurie Pritchett, who trained his officers to treat protestors gently when they were arrested. Pritchett's tactics avoided any ugly looking scenes for film crews and photographers recording events.
When MLK got arrested and jailed to draw attention and promote his civil disobedience campaign, the Kennedy Administration used "Meet The Press" host Lawrence Spivak to invite Dr. King on the program so King would post bail.
MLK didn't take the bait so the Kennedy Administration sent an anonymous Justice Department official to Albany to post bail, get him out of jail and sabotage the protest movement.
After Dr. King's protest movement failed in Albany, he went back to the drawing board with trusted confidants. MLK suspected his organization has been infiltrated by informants. He was right, FBI intelligence made its way back to Washington so the Kennedy Administration could plot to hamper his efforts.
King decided the next protest would be in Birmingham and he waited for the right moment which came in April of 1963.
Unlike Albany where there was a unified white community, King could count on a divided white community in Birmingham. A political war between militant segregationists like Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor and newly elected moderate segregationist Mayor Albert Boutwell was underway.
Connor was being challenged by the business community backed Boutwell because his approach of cracking down on any civil rights protest directly or indirectly allowing plainclothes Klansmen using bombs and beatings gave the city a bad image.
MLK was aiming his protest campaign at business in Birmingham demanding more black hiring and by protesting he would surely invite the wrath of "Bull" Connor who would stage scenes that would fuel the protests.
MLK couldn't get JFK to come his way, so pressure had to be applied.
On this week the protest movement in Birimingham that began earlier in April came to a boiling point when children were enlisted to face "Bull" Connor's water guns and dogs. Some on this forum post about civil disobedience being a possibility in our times being so I thought this journey into history would be a good idea.
You can see how the politicians in Washington then like the RINO's now, don't want outsiders upsetting their apple cart.
I lived through these times as well, what I remember , the opposition to the civil rights movement were all democrats. Try and get that fact talked about on Sunday talk shows.
“...the opposition to the civil rights movement were all democrats.”
Including jesse jackson who I STILL think is complicit in MLK’s death. WHO backed him to hijack the entire Civil Rights movement?
Seems to me that there’s a little something wrong with this article; Blacks in the South could vote.
So true. If it weren't for the Republicans, the '64 CR Act would not have past. Do they get credit? And do they get credit for all the other CR Acts they were the majority vote on? NOT! And do you hear much about how King Jr. was a Republican? NOT, again!
True, but without a problem? Just asking.
“the opposition to the civil rights movement were all democrats.”
They opposed desegregation up here in the north as southern blacks came up here for work 50 years ago as well. Yankees pointed fingers at southerners until those blacks came up here; then we built urban reservations for them and kept them out of “white” areas.
No, most couldn’t vote in 1963 because of laws about “literacy tests” and so on.
They certainly were Democrats who made speech after speech telling the people segregation would be preserved by state laws nullifying it.
Of course, those laws meant nothing in the end.
Today I hear Republican politicians in many states saying that federal laws abridging the Second Amendment will be stopped by nullification laws.
Are they to be believed or are they just like phony Southern Democrat politicians of 50 years ago who made speeches that were designed to win the next election supporting meaningless feel good laws?
The GOP is constantly trying to identify with MLK and his father MLK Sr. was from a generation that consistently supported Republicans.
In 1960 JFK reversed the trend from 1956 when Eisenhower got some 60 percent of the vote. JFK got to 60 percent partly because he used his leverage as Democrat presidential candidate with the governor of Georgia to get MLK released from the state prison when a local judge sent him there on a misdemeanor charge.
LBJ would go in whole hog on civil rights because he was the New Deal supporter who would pick up where FDR left off to expand the power and scope of government.
The Democrats would push through the civil rights and welfare expansion laws through the 1964-66 period as racial violence spread through the cities. There was great discontent among white voters, giving the Republicans of all stripes from moderates to conservatives some great success in the 1966 elections.
The Civil Rights Act overrode state laws and in theory certainly is an abridgement of the Tenth Amendment of the constitution.
Emotional feelings about racial discrimination helped the law to prevail.
Lets hope that anti-gun laws at the federal level do not gain traction and the emotions in support of it prevent
them from being shoved down the throats of the states.
True in part, but most of the segregation was economic in nature. You simply don't live where you can't afford to live. The higher eaning blacks did move in to some "white" areas. The white flight that followed in some cases is on us.
“You simply don’t live where you can’t afford to live. The higher eaning blacks did move in to some “white” areas.”
True, but in my area the blacks that live in “white” areas pre-dated the migration north (their families had been here for decades before).
Not entirely true. None of the 10 southern Republicans voted for the bill. Of the Republicans in the rest of the country about 15% voted against it.
I’ve been reading the history and considering what did happen 50 years ago.
JFK really wanted a go slow approach on the race issue to hold the Democrat Party together.
After the assassination, President Johnson used his experience as Senate Majority Leader to push the civil rights and welfare laws through Congress.
Bull Connor’s dogs and hoses were used with emotional effect to promote new civil rights laws just like school shootings get used to promote gun control.
Yes, he went so slow that many people began sending him pens so he could sign the legislation. He also had his brother, then Attorney General, go after King Jr. with the FBI. Can you imagine how our Lib historians would record this if a Republican did this?
"After the assassination, President Johnson used his experience as Senate Majority Leader to push the civil rights and welfare laws through Congress."
True, he knew the power of socialism and combined it with his rhetoric of Civil Rights. He became Santa Claus to Blacks and they have fallen for it ever since. Now Blacks are more concerned on having a Socialists government rather than Civil Rights (although they try to twist the definition of what Civil Rights means - i.e., "Having health care insurance is a Civil Right, and if you disagree, you're a racists!"). Johnson was well known for what he stated to two governors on Air Force One, "I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years." But, of course, he was a Democrat and got away with it.
Bottom line, Democrats have never been, and still are not about having Civil Rights in its true meaning. They have always been, and always be Slavers.
I meant to say at the end, “...the Party of Slavers.”
Political parties can keep people enslaved like the GOP does with talk of a balanced budget ten years down the road and talk about “trimming fat” in the budget when we need a balanced budget now.
15 posted on 4/29/2013 6:25:09 PM by Nextrush: “Bull Connors dogs and hoses were used with emotional effect to promote new civil rights laws just like school shootings get used to promote gun control.”
Thank you for posting this.
It's an important message for conservatives to remember.
The average American moderate likes underdogs, wants to help victims, and dislikes bullies. Those are all good things; we **SHOULD** help those who are being victimized and bullied.
The problem is liberals understand that, and sometimes deliberately work to provoke conservatives, who tend (quite rightly) to have a law-and-order streak, into acting in aggressive and stupid ways.
That lesson is much broader than racial issues, but it certainly applies there. When we're tempted to get mad at some leftist idiot, let's ask if acting on our anger will help our agenda or his. If it will help his agenda, provoking us may well be precisely his intent.
Whatever we want to say about Martin Luther King Jr., what was being done to blacks and other minority groups in America was despicable and had to stop. The party of Abraham Lincoln was once on the right side of the racial issues in America, and we need to get back there.
Unfortunately, leftists figured out a half-century ago how to combine a legitimate agenda of promoting equal rights for all American citizens with an entirely illegitimate agenda of socialism and welfare. The civil rights movement has been hijacked by an agenda that has devastated the black community. Republicans have the answers to help small businesses succeed, to promote Christian morality and family values that stop family breakdown, and to help struggling inner-city children get the education they need to succeed.
As conservatives, we need to be working harder to get that message out. Minorities who want to be in the “gimme line” won't listen, but there are lots of others who may.