Obama in Selma: “I Am The Fruits of Your Labor”


Photo Gallery: A March for The Right to Vote

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Presidential candidate Barack Obama paid homage to the civil rights pioneers who he said helped to give him a chance to break down barriers to the White House. Obama linked arms with activists who were attacked by police with billyclubs during a peaceful voting rights march 42 years ago. “Bloody Sunday” shocked the nation and helped bring attention to the racist voting practices that kept blacks from the polls.

I’m here because somebody marched for our freedom,” Obama, who would become our first African-American president, said from the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church where the march began on March 7, 1965. “I’m here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants.” Obama, who was three years old on “Bloody Sunday,” delivered a call to action that would be politically unfeasible for Clinton or any of his other white rivals. He said that the present generation of African-Americans does not always honor the civil rights movement and needs to take responsibility for improving their lives by rejecting violence; cleaning up “40-ounce bottles” and other trash that litters urban neighborhoods; and voting instead of complaining that the government is not helping them.

How can it be that our voting rates dropped down to 30, 40, 50 percent when people shed their blood to allow us to vote?” Obama asked earlier at a unity breakfast with community leaders. At the breakfast, Obama got a key to the city and another to surrounding Dallas County from a probate judge, Kim Ballard. “Forty-two years ago he might would have needed it because I understand it would open the jail cells,” Ballard said. “But not today.”

Obama said the fight for civil rights reverberated across the globe and inspired his father to aspire to something beyond his job herding goats in Kenya. His father moved to Hawaii to get an education under a program for African students and met Obama’s mother, a fellow student from Kansas.

Obama said he was not surprised when it was reported last week that his white ancestors on his mother’s side owned slaves. “That’s no surprise in America,” he said and added that the civil rights struggle made it possible for such a diverse couple to fall in love.

If it hasn’t been for Selma, I wouldn’t be here,” Obama said. “This is the site of my conception. I am the fruits of your labor. I am the offspring of the movement. When people ask me whether I’ve been to Selma before, I tell them I’m coming home.”

An excerpt from Obama’s Speech at the Brown A.M.E. Chapel in Selma, Alabama:

Keep in your heart the prayer of that journey, the prayer that God gave to Joshua. Be strong and have courage in the face of injustice. Be strong and have courage in the face of prejudice and hatred, in the face of joblessness and helplessness and hopelessness. Be strong and have courage, brothers and sisters, those who are gathered here today, in the face of our doubts and fears, in the face of skepticism, in the face of cynicism, in the face of a mighty river. Be strong and have courage and let us cross over that Promised Land together.

The full text of his speech is available here.

For an excellent biographic note and 2008 Election Overview, please visit here.

As for Hillary? Andrew Sullivan posted this opinion of her Selma speech in his blog, The Daily Dish:

The Fathomless Fakeness of Clinton

Be Social:

Ghandi’s Final Days

Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi


Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, the “Father of India,” was cremated on this day in 1948, one day after he was assassinated on his way to daily prayer. “Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe“, wrote Einstein, “that such a one as this, ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

Photo Gallery:  Ghandi’s Last Days


From: B. R. Nanda, 1953.

I. Introduction

WHEN GANDHI was born British rule had been established in India.  The uprising of 1857, known as the Mutiny, had merely served to consolidate the British adventure into an empire. India had effectively passed under British tutelage, so effectively indeed, that instead of resenting alien rule the generation of educated Indians were eager to submit to the “Civilizing mission” of their foreign masters.  Political subjection had been reinforced by intellectual and moral servility.  It seemed that the British empire in India was safe for centuries.

When Gandhi died it was India, a free nation that mourned his loss.  The disinherited had recovered their heritage and the “dumb millions” had found their voice.  The disarmed had won a great battle and had in the process evolved a moral force such as to compel the attention, and to some degree, the admiration, of the world.  The story of this miracle is also the story of Gandhi’s life, for he, more than any other was the architect of this miracle.  Ever since his grateful countrymen call him the Father of the Nation.

And yet it would be an exaggeration to say that Gandhi alone wrought this miracle.  No single individual, however great and wonderful, can be the sole engineer of a historical process.  A succession of remarkable predecessors and elder contemporaries had quarried and broken the stones which helped Gandhi to pave the way for India’s independence.  They had set in motion various trends in the intellectual, social and moral consciousness of the people which the genius Gandhi mobilized and directed in a grand march.  Raja Rammohan Roy, Ramkrishna Paramhamsa and his great disciple, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Dadabhai Navroji, Badruddin Tyabji, Syed Ahmed Khan, Ranade, Gokhale, Tilak, Aurobindo Ghosh and Rabindranath Tagore, to name only a few.  Each one of them, had in his own, field created a consciousness of India’s destiny and helped to generate a spirit of sacrifice which, in Gandhi’s hands, became the instruments of a vast political-cum-moral upheaval.  Had Gandhi been born hundred years earlier he could hardly have achieved what he did.  Nevertheless, it is true, that, but for Gandhi, India’s political destiny would have been vastly different and her moral stature vastly inferior.

But though Gandhi lived, suffered and died in India for Indians, it is not in relation to India’s destiny alone that his life has significance.  Future generations will not only remember him as a patriot, politician and nation-builder but much more.  He was essentially a moral force, whose appeal is to the conscience of man and therefore universal.  He was the servant and friend of man as man and not as belonging to this or that nation, religion or race.  If he worked for Indians only, it was because he was born among them and because their humiliation and suffering supplied the necessary incentives to his moral sensibility.  The lesson of his life therefore is for all to read.  He founded no church and though he lived by faith he left behind no dogma for the faithful to quarrel over.  He gave no attributes to God save Truth and prescribed no path for attaining it save honest and relentless search through means that injure no living thing.  Who dare therefore claim Gandhi for his own except by claiming him for all?

Another lesson of his life which should be of universal interest is that he was not born a genius and did not exhibit in early life any extraordinary faculty that is not shared by the common run of men.  He was no inspired bard like Rabindranath Tagore, he had no mystic visions like Ramakrishna Paramhansa, he was no child prodigy like Shankara or Vivekananda.  He was just an ordinary child like most of us.  If there was anything extraordinary about him as a child, it was his shyness, a handicap from which he suffered for a long time.  No doubt, something very extraordinary must have been latent in his spirit which later developed into an iron will and combined with a moral sensibility made him what he became, but there was little evidence of it in his childhood.  We may therefore derive courage and inspiration from the knowledge that if he made himself what he was, there is no visible reason why we should not be able to do the same.

His genius, so to speak, was an infinite capacity for taking pains in fulfillment of a restless moral urge.  His life was one continuous striving, an unremitting sadhana, a relentless search for truth, not abstract or metaphysical truth, but such truth as can be realized in human relations.  He climbed step by step, each step no bigger than a man’s, till when we saw him at the height he seemed more than a man.    “Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe“, wrote Einstein, “that such a one as this, ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”  If at the end he seemed like no other man, it is good to remember that when he began he was like any other man.

Such is the great lesson of his life. Fortunately, he has himself recorded for us the main incidents of his life till 1921 and described with scrupulous veracity the evolution of his moral and intellectual consciousness. Had he not done so, there would have been in India no dearth of devout chroniclers who would have invented divine portents at his birth and invested him with a halo from his childhood.

The complete bibliography continues here.

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As a symbolic metaphor, this posting has implications that include the website “2000 Bloggers,” blogging, writing, electronic communication, and gay issues.  It may be of note to those who have social, political and/or cultural concerns, as well as interests in life, art and music.

A man might actually succeed in journalism by writing articles exactly appropriate to all the journals, and then putting them all into the wrong envelopes.”

Chesterton, G. K., The Illustrated London News, August 21, 1909


2000 Bloggers


Tino Buntic recently started an unusual project called 2000 Bloggers, in which this site, Et Cetera: Publick and Privat Curiosities, has just been included.  Buntic describes this new and innovative blogger social-network project:

“55,000,000 blogs…I’d like to showcase all of them, but I’ve settled on just 2000 bloggers.  Bloggers come from all walks of life!  Some are SEO experts.  Some are writers.  Some are sports enthusiasts.  Some are affiliate marketers.  Some are business professionals.  Some are political.  ALL HAVE OPINIONS!!!

Some bloggers blog to make money.  Some do it for fun.  There are dozens of social networks that bring the blogosphere together, with Technorati and MyBlogLog being two of the biggest.  I wanted to bring a whole bunch of bloggers together on one page.  2000 bloggers to be exact!  As I write this there have been over 1,200 bloggers accepted onto the site.  I won’t judge your blog.  I’ll link to all bloggers, A-List Bloggers, C-List Bloggers, All Blogs in between, and some that nobody has ever seen.  I don’t care if you have a daily readership of 100,000 people or if you have a daily readership of a dozen people, I’ll link to you.”

A generous kind of guy!!

A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please View My Updated Tribute (1/20/2008) Here


The Nobel Peace Prize, 1964



One of the most visible advocates of nonviolence and direct action as methods of social change, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929. As the grandson of the Rev. A.D. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church and a founder of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter, and the son of Martin Luther King, Sr., who succeeded Williams as Ebenezer’s pastor, King’s roots were in the African-American Baptist church. After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, King went on to study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and Boston University, where he deepened his understanding of theological scholarship and explored Mahatma Gandhi‘s nonviolent strategy for social change. King married Coretta Scott in 1953, and the following year he accepted the pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. King received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955. On December 5, 1955, after civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to comply with Montgomery’s segregation policy on buses, black residents launched a bus boycott and elected King president of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association. The boycott continued throughout 1956 and King gained national prominence for his role in the campaign. In December 1956 the United States Supreme Court declared Alabama’s segregation laws unconstitutional, and Montgomery’s buses were desegregated.

Seeking to build upon the success in Montgomery, King and other southern black ministers founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. In 1959, King toured India in order to further develop his understanding of Gandhian nonviolent strategies. Later that year, King resigned from Dexter and returned to Atlanta to become co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father.

In 1960, black college students initiated a wave of sit-in protests that led to the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). King supported the student movement and expressed an interest in creating a youth arm of the SCLC. Student activists admired King, but they were critical of his top-down leadership style and were determined to maintain their autonomy. As an advisor to SNCC, Ella Baker, who had previously served as associate director of SCLC, made clear to representatives from other civil rights organizations that SNCC was to remain a student-led organization. The 1961 “Freedom Rides” heightened tensions between King and younger activists, as he faced criticism for his decision not to participate in the rides. Conflicts between SCLC and SNCC continued during the Albany Movement of 1961 and 1962.

In the spring of 1963, King and SCLC led mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, where local white police officials were known for their violent opposition to integration. Clashes between unarmed black demonstrators and police armed with dogs and fire hoses generated newspaper headlines throughout the world. President Kennedy responded to the Birmingham protests by submitting broad civil rights legislation to Congress, which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Subsequent mass demonstrations culminated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which more than 250,000 protesters gathered in Washington, D. C. It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

King’s renown continued to grow as he became Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1963 and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to Dr. King by President Jimmy Carter in 1964. However, along with the fame and accolades came conflict within the movement’s leadership. Malcolm X‘s message of self-defense and black nationalism resonated with northern, urban blacks more effectively than King’s call for nonviolence; King also faced public criticism from “Black Power” proponent, Stokely Carmichael.

King’s efficacy was not only hindered by divisions among black leadership, but also by the increasing resistance he encountered from national political leaders. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s extensive efforts to undermine King’s leadership were intensified during 1967 as urban racial violence escalated, and King’s public criticism of the U. S. intervention in the Vietnam War led to strained relations with Lyndon Johnson’s administration.

In late 1967, King initiated a Poor People’s Campaign designed to confront economic problems that had not been addressed by earlier civil rights reforms. The following year, while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, he delivered his final address, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” The next day, April 4, 1968, King was assassinated.

To this day, King remains a controversial symbol of the African American civil rights struggle, revered by many for his martyrdom on behalf of nonviolence and condemned by others for his militancy and insurgent views.

Clayborne Carson, Editor
Martin Luther King Biographic Note
Stanford University



After her husband’s death in 1968, Coretta King emerged as an important activist in her own right. She founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and led the fight to make her husband’s birthday a national holiday. Yet she also was known as a loving mother who reared four children alone. She instilled in them a reverence for the ideals their father espoused, as well as an independence to chart their own courses, even if it challenged long-standing ideals of who or what they should be.

She became an international advocate for peace and human rights. She met with presidents and world leaders and was arrested fighting against apartheid. And well into her 70s, she traveled the globe to speak against racial and economic injustice, promote the rights of the powerless and poor, and advocate religious freedom, full employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and AIDS awareness.

Coretta Scott King, 78, of Atlanta, died on February 4, 2006, at a holistic hospital in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, about 17 miles south of San Diego. Despite her physical struggles, friends and family members said her last days were painful, she had made a surprise appearance the previous month during The Martin Luther King Center’s annual “Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner” in downtown Atlanta. She was wheeled into the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, triggering an admiring standing ovation. She smiled, waved and kissed family members, but she did not speak. It would be her last public appearance.

On January 31, 2006, National Public Radio broadcast “A Musical Tribute to Corretta Scott King.” To honor Mrs. King’s memory, the program drew upon music from a long-standing tradition in Atlanta. From the 2005 edition of the annual King Celebration concert, the tribute to Mrs. King included “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman colleges. The tribute also included a 1998 interview on National Public Radio, during which Mrs. King had reflected upon the importance of music to the Civil Rights Movement.






Ceremonial Groundbreaking Held for the National Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial


The National Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: Architectural Rendering




The ceremonial groundbreaking for the National Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was held Monday on the National Mall.  The King Memorial, planned to open in the spring of 2008, will be the first monument for a civilian and black leader on the large park at Washington’s center.  It is also possibly among the last monuments that will be constructed on the Mall, after a 2003 vote in Congress to limit development of the parkland.

Dignitaries on the stage in front of the crowd that had gathered to witness the ceremony included Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, former Ambassador Andrew Young, singer Gladys Knight, Maya Angelou, and three of King’s children.  A gospel choir sang, Maya Angelou read poetry and children read essays that they had written about Dr. King.  Former President William J. Clinton, who signed the 1996 legislation that authorized The Memorial, received a standing ovation from the largely African-American crowd.  He reminded the gathering of Dr. King’s commitment to nonviolence and social justice causes such as ending poverty, saying those goals still have not yet been achieved.  “If he were here, he would remind us that the time to do right remains,” Clinton said.

The Memorial will occupy a four-acre plot on the banks of the Tidal Basin, near the Potomac River.  The Jefferson Memorial is across the Tidal Basin, while the Lincoln Memorial lies to the northwest, near the river.  The design is based in part on King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.  Before repeating the “Let freedom ring” refrain, King told the crowd, “We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

Visitors will pass through an entryway cut through a massive stone symbolizing the mountain of despair and once inside, will come upon the missing section marking the stone of hope, bearing a carved profile of King.  It will be ringed with walls chiseled with King’s words that may eventually be the base for a waterfall.

Senator Obama, who has said he is considering a presidential run in 2008, spoke about being able to imagine bringing his own two young children to The Memorial when it is completed and passing through the mountain of despair.  “He never did live to see the promised land from that mountaintop,” Obama said.  “But he pointed the way for us.”


Et Cetera Becomes the World’s 4th Fastest Growing WordPress Blog: Thanks to Everyone!!

Oh, my goodness…what a totally unexpected surprise!! It’s just been one little website hoping to be a small voice for the lives and rights of everyday people everywhere. My very deep gratitude to all of you readers–I really am quite “Wilde at Heart” right now!! (And trying hard not to give in to a bit of narcissistic grandiosity as a compensatory defense against an ever so slight, transient and uncharacteristic lack of self-confidence). So…thanks…thanks…thanks….

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