Friday Evening Reads Open Thread: Racism, Alive and Well in Union County GeorgiaPosted: January 13, 2012
As many of you know…I joke about the little part of backwoods North Georgia Mountains that I call home. My little Banjoland and especially Banjoville is a play on words, the town and county I live in is called, Blairsville, Union County Georgia. Some will tell you it is called Union because it sided against the Confederacy during the civil war. Uh, they are full of shite! Union County was named for the Union Party, which was a group of people who supported the forced removal of the Cherokee Indians so that white settlers could move in. Union has had its share of slave holders, and Joseph E. Brown…the Governor of Georgia during the Civil War grew up here. This little redneck of the woods doesn’t have the distinction of being listed in the Southern Poverty Law website, like its neighboring counties…where the weekly cross burning and white hoods can still be found.
I bring all this up because my lovely town of Blairsville is in the news…
Students in Union County have one snow day to make up for the school year, and they will use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to do it.
A member of King’s family, however, says the move insensitive.
Union County superintendent Gary Steppe said January 16th is the only day for students to make up the absence. Days must be made up before April’s CRCT testing, he said, and Martin Luther King day and spring break are the only opportunities.
The man is great with the excuses for our county school making up snow days on MLK Day. Every year the kids have a snow make up day on Dr. King’s holiday.
He said he has directed teachers to incorporate Dr. King into their lessons that day.
“We’ve talked about things like reading books at the primary school, stories about Dr. Martin Luther King,” he said. “Also, writing essays, things like comparing the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech to the preamble of the Constitution.”
My kids have pointed out that this is a load of B.S. (Actually their word for it was bullshit.) They say they never talk about MLK on MLK Day. Sounds to me like the superintendent “directs” his teachers to incorporate Dr. King in their lessons…wink…wink. (You get what I am saying…yes?)
But, all this doesn’t fool the black community:
Dr. King’s nephew and SCLC president Isaac Newton Farris, Jr. said those are days they should be using anyway.
“To single out a holiday that’s celebrated on one day, versus all these other days, multiple days when you’re off — it just does not fit the smell test to me.”
Steppe said the move is not intended to disrespect Dr. King in any way.
“He was a great Georgian and a great American and we certainly support his ideals,” he said. “We certainly intend no disrespect to Dr. King. But we also believe it’s our mission to be sure we get the best possible education in.”
During last year’s heavy snowstorms, at least one Georgia district gained national attention when civil rights leaders blasted the decision to use the holiday as a make-up day.
So, once again the holiday will come and go, but the racism remains. You will probably find the Union County Courthouse open on Monday as well…but you can bet your ass it is closed in April for Confederate Day.
Speaking of MLK, Report: Quote on MLK Memorial Will Be Changed – ABC News
A quote carved in stone on the new Martin Luther King memorial in Washington will be changed after the inscription was criticized for not accurately reflecting the civil rights leader’s words.
The Washington Post first reported on Friday the decision to change the inscription, which currently reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.” The phrase is chiseled into one side of a massive block of granite that includes King’s likeness emerging from the stone. It became a point of controversy after the memorial opened in August.
The phrase is modified from a sermon known as the “Drum Major Instinct,” in which the 39-year-old King explained to his Atlanta congregation how he would like to be remembered at his funeral. He made the February 1968 speech just two months before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.
In the speech, King’s words seem more modest than the paraphrased inscription: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
Poet Maya Angelou previously said the truncated version made King sound like “an arrogant twit” because it was out of context.
I am glad they are going to come up with a more “acceptable” form of the quote, per US Dept of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
And since this is an open thread, I wanted to add one more link…that seems like a spectacular coincidence.
A cardiologist for former presidential candidate John Edwards says he has a life-threatening medical condition that will require surgery next month, a federal judge disclosed Friday as she postponed Edwards’ campaign corruption trial for at least two months.
Saying the 58-year-old Edwards suffers from “a serious condition,” U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles delayed the trial until at least March 26. The judge said she had read two letters from Edwards’ cardiologist but she did not disclose details about the former senator’s condition.
Eagles quoted the cardiologist as saying that Edwards’ condition is treatable, with a good chance of recovery. She said the doctor recommended that Edwards avoid driving or traveling.
I guess I am skeptical…and jaded towards Edwards. It seems to me that Edwards is just like the Union County School superintendent, using a snow make up day…or a heart condition, to get out of celebrating Martin Luther King Day…or postpone his day in court.
This is an open thread…