Friday Evening Reads Open Thread: Racism, Alive and Well in Union County Georgia

Good “Friday the 13th” Evening!

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…

North GA school district to hold class on MLK Day

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.

John Edwards’ ‘serious’ medical condition leads to trial delay – latimes.com

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…


19 Comments on “Friday Evening Reads Open Thread: Racism, Alive and Well in Union County Georgia”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    I know it is a Friday Night, hope you all post some comments and links…

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I’m glad they decided to change the MLK quote.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s the wackiest story I read today.

    Santorum: Obama wants constitutional amendment to redistribute wealth

    “Remember the president of the United States saying when he was running for office earlier in his career, he was asked the question as a constitutional law professor, what change he would make, what deficiency there was in the Constitution?” Santorum explained. “His answer was there should be a provision for the redistribution of wealth.”

    The former Pennsylvania senator may have been misremembering an often misinterpreted statement that Obama made to WBEZ-FM back in 2001.

    “If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples,” the then-state senator said. “But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.”

    • northwestrain says:

      Interesting use of fact checking — without calling Santorum an out and out liar.

      ===============\

      Interesting fact of where the name of Union county came from — racism really does run deep in the deep south.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      And all this after Obama’s smaller government speech on Friday?

  4. bostonboomer says:

    And here’s Santorum’s understanding of the Constitution and American history:

    “I believe America was born great. … What makes the saying on the Great Seal — e pluribus unum — true? Out of many one, what is the one? It is that, that we are a people who are children of God.”

    “We are seen as equal. I mean, the idea that all men are created equal, that was unheard of. Women created equal to men? No way! What society did that exist? Rights? Equal? No way. Why was that? Because we are children of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And we were all made in His image.”

    WTF?!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Fighting Antipiracy Measure, Activist Group Posts Personal Information of Media Executives

    http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/activist-group-opposing-antipiracy-bill-posts-information-on-media-executives/

    • quixote says:

      I’m super-big on privacy and think it’s super-important and that it should be treated with real respect at all times …

      and …

      I’m laughing my tuchus off about this. 😆

    • Fredster says:

      from the linked article describing the hacking…

      …according to another aide who was briefed on security threats to lawmakers and their staffs. “Why can’t they just hire a lobbyist like everyone else?” this aide said.

      Because dear staffer that’s the problem, there are already too many lobbyists plying their trade on the Hill.

  6. chatblu says:

    Interesting read, Minx. As a former resident of Clayton, the undisputed capitol of Banjoland, I hear what you are saying, On the other hand, there are not a lot of school holidays this time of the year (other than Easter/Spring break) from which to choose as make-up days.
    Take solace from this: when I was in grade/high school, we were off on Gens, Lee and Jackson’s birthdays and Confederate Memorial Day.
    I also concur with any concerns you might have about facebook privacy.