Ali & Pat Earl and Bighouse Emauel Jim Danny Doug Red & Dotie Curt, Hattie & Al
UNPARALELLED UNCOMPROMISED UNFORGIVEN UNSUNG
REMEMBERING MY BROTHER SGT. EARL K. BELL 12-25-1940---8-1-2013
A GOOD COP WHO BROKE THE CODE OF SILENCE IN THE WASHINGTON, DC POLICE DEPARTMENT. A CODE OF SILENCE THAT HAS GOTTEN EVEN LOUDER TODAY THEN EVER BEFORE!
Actor Al Pachino is seen here playing the role of New York City cop Frank Serpico. The real Serpico is seen leaving the Bronx Courthouse alone after testifying before the Knapp Commission on wide spread police corruption in the department. Sgt. Earl K. Bell the Frank Serpico of the DC Police Department.
The story below is a reprint from Frank Serpico as he writes about the continued corruption and today's police brutality in police departments around America 40 years later
I call it "Testi-lying." It has been a regular practice in police forces across the United States, at least since I served on the NYPD: Official testimony that is made a part of a police after-action report but is pure lies, an invention. In the old days police would carry a "drop knife---an inexpensive weapon cops would bring along on patrol to drop onto or next to suspect that they had taken out so that they could say that he had threaten them. Today you don't even need to do that; all that you have to do is justify the use of deadly force if you are a police officer is to say that you feared for your life, for whatever reason. If the victim dies, that just means there will one less witness around to contradict the test-lie.
In the case of Officer Michael Slager of the North Charleston police, it appears he was being extra-carefulto cover his tracks. Probably he could have gotten away with simply declaring, as he did in the radioed report, that Walter Scott "took my taser," and that would have probably have sufficed to exonerate him. But Slager having shot Scott eight times in the back--as everyone can see in the now famous video--perhaps felt that he needed a little help explaining what he was up to. So apparently dropped his Taser next to Scott's body, which would obviously help to make the case that Scott "Took my taster."
If you think that what happen in North Charleston is a unique case, its not. Only recently, in another case, a policewoman in Pennsylvania first Tasered a black man then shot him twice in the back as he lay face down in the snow. She was chasing him for an expired parking ticket. There were five seconds between shots. She said she feared for her life. It was captured on her own Taser camera.
I have been saying this for a long time, ever since I spoke before the Knapp Commission investigating corruption in the NYPD more then 40 years ago: Unless we create an atmosphere where the crooked cop fears the honest cop, and not the other way around, the system will never changed. Unless honesty is rewarded more often then corruption, the police will lose credibility altogether. I wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton in 1994 addressing this very issue, saying that honest cops have never been rewarded, and maybe there ought to be a medal for them, he wrote back but nothing change. Now in the era of citizen videotaping, police credibility is at stake as never before. If enough testi-lying is uncovered, then who is going to believe the police even when they are telling the truth? They will be seen as crying wolf.
Until now the shoot first fear of my life mantra has eliminated any cause for concern in the taking of life by police. When a civilian committs a crime, every nuance is looked at, the better to "throw the book at" the suspect. When cops err, it is the opposite reaction. Eyes are averted, aggravating circumstances are ignored. And now the public is learning about every time a new video tape emerges that undermines the official police story.
There is only one solution: The good cops really have to step up, and the system has to reward them, rather then punish them. The other day I got a letter from a journalist in Argentina who was complaining about police and judicial corruption there. I wrote back to him, there are good cops, even where you live, but if the good cops don't want to be painted with the same broad brush as the bad cops, they need to come forward and expose the guys who are doing bad things.
Instead, you habitually get police union representatives defending these police officers no matter what they do. Take New York City detective who was caught on camera recently abusing an Uber driver with threats and foul language, This was truly disgusting behavior. Yet predictably enough the detective union leader, Michael Palladino, was out there making excuses for him, suggesting that, well, it was only one incident, and everyone has a bad day. " Cops are just like everyone else," he said. The detective is one of good character . He really should not be judged by one isolated incident." What Palladino overlooked was there were numerous other incidents in that officer's file that were not caught on tape.
What should the public believe when when everytime the police close ranks like that? Afterward Police Commissioner William Bratton announced he was removing the detective's shield and placing him temporarily on desk duty while an investigation is conducted . But this man needs to be demoted to uniform at the very least, or "back in the bag" as we use to say. Imagine what he is capable of doing under the cover of darkness if he can talk to someone like that in broad daylight. But will anyone follow up to see if that happens?
Its important to make the point that we shouldn't make cops feel that as a whole they are under attack. There are plenty legitimate incidents where police believe, correctly, that their lives are in danger. I was in a few of those situations myself during the course of my career.
But unless the police forces and society as a whole take action we're not going to be able to distinguish between the legititimate claims and made-up testimony. And this is not just a phenomenon; the law itself needs to be changed so that when a police officer shoots a suspect in the line of duty, a real investigation is conducted, and by an outside, impartial body.
If changes are not made, the age of the citizen videotaping could began to alter forever our society's view of the police officers who protect us. A long time ago Norman Rockwell painted a famous picture of a friendly neighborhood cop bending down to help a little boy. How much longer will America cling to that image, in the face of images of the kind we saw in North Charleston?
Frank Serpico is a former New York City detective
END RUN:A TALE OF TWO WIDE RECEIVERS
The staff tried in vain to have his daughter to give them permission to administer a drug that would make him sleep much of the time—she said, “No.” I have been trying for 2 years for them to get him a new wheel chair. They claimed his insurance does not cover a new wheelchair.
In the meantime, they are taking his checks from his Army pension, checks from the DC Police Department, Social Security and Medicare benefits and claiming they cannot afford to buy him a wheelchair? Something is wrong with this picture.
When I was first introduced to “The Wound Doctor” Dr. Ernest Scroggins he was seeing my brother weekly and it has since changed to bi-weekly. My brother’s bed sores have taken a turn for the worst. It looks like they are rarely clean. Dr. Scroggins had to remind the Unit Manager Oloue and his assistant Mariann in my presence that the patient’s wounds needed to be clean regularly.
After his children had abandoned him in September 2012 I applied for Power of Attorney for his Health. This meant that with his permission I was to be notified on all health issues pertaining to him. The facility has not had a “Family Meeting” since October 2012 to update me on my brother’s progress or lack of progress on any of his health issues.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I attended “The First Family Meeting” since October 2012 with 3 witnesses. The meeting was held Wed February 6, 2013. For some reason his son Kenny was in the meeting (remember this date). I suspect they called him even though he gave them notice to never call him again. Their main objective was for him to counter-act any position I took or complain I made (divide and conquer).
It was in the meeting on February 6, 2013 we found out that they had my brother “Declared Incompetent” in October 2012?
The last ‘Family Meeting’ was in October 2012. This meant that no one from the Administration or staff had made me or his son and daughter aware that my brother and their father had been declared Incompetent. This leads me to believe that they had the paper work forged and backtracked to the October date to make my Power of Attorney void! This is criminal negligence.
The following Wednesday February 13, 2013 I returned to the hospital to see if the “Wound Doctor” Dr. Ernest Scroggins would be making his rounds (his visits have become like Russian roulette). The doctor made his way to my brother’s room at exactly 2:30 pm but could not examine him right away because his wounds had not been cleaned. The unit nurse Marriann followed the doctor into the room to clean his wounds. This was supposed to be done before the arrival of the doctor.
What I witness next made me sick to my stomach. The bandages removed by the nurse were filthy. The 2 open wounds on his buttocks were the size of quarters (I remember when they could hardly be seen). I watched as the nurse put her finger into one of his wounds and pulled out a piece of gauze. Dr. Scroggins asked “What was that” and response was ‘nothing!”
The open wounds if left open will surely become infected because his urine and feces will eventually find their way into the open spaces. Patuxent River is a dangerous place to live!
I knew this was a dangerous place for my brother but when they recently declared him incompetent made me realized how corrupt and dangerous they really are. It reminds me of the NRA and how they have the politicians in their pockets it looks like the nursing home industry may also maybe in the same politician’s pockets. Mr. President I have heard you and others say, “I am the President of all the people!” What about senior citizens?
I have contacted your Vice-President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their only response has been e-mails asking for a monetary donation or soliciting some type of support against the Republican Party! I have written Rep. Steny Hoyer, Congressman Ben Cardin and Congresswoman Donna Edwards and there has been no response from neither??? Do you only care when we go to the polls to vote?
Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Steny Hoyer, U. S. Senator Ben Cardin
Anytime, the Nursing Home industry as reported in USA Today Newspaper offers cash incentives on top of the salaries already paid to nursing home staffs to treat the residents fairly---you know you really have a problem!
Mr. President I never dreamed in 2010 I would go from working with at-risk youth to fighting for at-risk seniors like my brother. We fought our way out of a single parent household in a NE housing project and pulled ourselves up by our boots with no straps. We did this without the baggage of drug addiction, police records and academic inferiority to be all that we could be! We didn’t earn our way through this Game Called Life for him or me to be mistreated and disrespected in the twilight of our lives. The Patuxent River Nursing Home mentality reminds me of what the Plantation Mentality must have been like in the 1800s. This nursing home experience reminds me of something right out of the Twilight Zone.
Mr. President, has integrity, honesty and fair play become a lost art among politicians in America.
I now think back to 1978 when I received an early morning phone call from my brother’s son saying that I needed to go to the SE Community Hospital right away. He was calling to tell me that his father had been in a bad automobile accident. My brother a DC cop was on his way to work and hit some “Black ice” and skidded into a 16 wheeler truck. The accident ended his 13 year police career.
Sgt. Earl K. Bell had been re-assigned and was headed to his new assignment when the accident occurred. His re-assignment was the result of him turning in 2 rogue DC Cops who were physically abusing prisoners in their jail cells on his watch. He first warned them to back off from the abuse. Despite his warnings they continued to abuse black prisoners only. When he turned to me for advice I told him to write them up and turn them into their superiors. His superiors tried to sweep the incident under the rug. He then turned the abusive cops into the U. S. Attorney’s Office.
The indicted officers Tommy Musgrove and his partner (ID unknown) were convicted but won on appeal 5 years later. Musgrove was given 5 years back pay and obtained the rank of Inspector before he retired, proving that crime does pay at least in the DC police department.
When I arrived at the SE Community Hospital the doctors told me they were not expecting him to live but they didn’t know “Bull Bell!” He was a former heavyweight boxing champion during his military stint in the U. S. Army he fought racism head on. He returned home to discover racism didn’t end when he left Germany.
Sgt. Bell (MP U. S. Army) Heavyweight boxing champion U. S. Army
In the meantime, my brother faced “The Code Blue and silent treatment” for turning in 2 ‘Rogue Cops.’ I met with two guys that I knew from the neighborhood to get an update on my brother’s status; they were Assistant Chiefs, Marty Tapscott and Ike Fullwood (soon to be named Chief). Marty ran for cover and Ike told me, “Harold, Bull is okay I got his back,” famous last words. Two months later Fullwood took my brother off the beat and assigned him to the Police & Fire Clinic it was payback time for Musgrove and the department. It was his first day on his new assignment when the accident occurred.
During my work in the streets and courthouses I encountered some good cops and some bad cops. One of the Good Cops was an FBI agent by the name of Wayne Davis. We had a common thread. We both were trying to save young black men. Wayne would later become the first black to head the Detroit Office of the FBI. He never forgot who he was and where he came from!
FBI Director Wayne Davis
DC Chief Burtell Jefferson (Good Cop) / DC Chief Ike Fullwood (Bad cop)
In the 70s my brother teamed up with me, DC Superior Court Judges, and pro athletes to help save at-risk youth from the mean streets of the Nation’s Capitol. My work as a Roving Leader (Youth Gang Unit) for the DC Recreation Department combined with my work with the Department of Defense and my non-profit organization Kids In Trouble means I have spend the last 4 decades working in the war zones of the inner-city which included the streets, alleys, playgrounds, schools, courtrooms and jail facilities in the Nation’s Capitol.
The late Judges Luke Moore & Gene Hamilton/(Redskins) Dave Robinson, Roy Jefferson, Harold McLinton, Dave Bing (NBA).
Judge Moore was appointed head of the U. S. Marshall Service by President Nixon. We walked arm and arm during the 1968 riots in the 14th Street NW corridor trying to save lives.
We tried to save at-risk children from gun violence. It was a hit and miss proposition much like you we could not be everywhere. In the 70s as a Presidential appointee working for the Department of defense (Domestic Actions) I found Bolling Youth Base.
Secretary of State William Rogers and President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office 1969 Strom Thurmond during his 95th birthday celebration.
The program was located on the Air Force Base at Bolling Field in the Nation’s Capitol. The facility housed juvenile delinquents from overcrowded DC facilities. The Youth Base was the first of its kind on a military installation in America.
Bolling Girl’s Base???
Yes I agree, Gabby Gifford, Newtown, Denver and Chicago school children should all have a vote, but so should the thousands of victims like my brother in nursing homes across America. They should also have a vote asking to abolish nursing home abuse. It will be easier to clean up these corrupt nursing homes then to wipe out gun violence in America, but both deserve your undivided attention.
Mr. President this is one of those times when silence is not “Golden.” This is definitely not the America we grew up in and definitely not the America we have known and loved. I was reminded of that fact this morning when I woke up to discover that a 15 year old child was found murdered on the streets in my community on Monday evening. He attended high school in walking distance of my residence and the church I worship is next door to his high school. There is a rumor that he was murdered over a pair of Timberlake boots.
It got worst a second 18 year old student from the same school was shot and killed on Tuesday evening making him the 6th student and on Wednesday his friend and former Suitland student died of his wounds. His death marked the 7th student to be murdered in the Prince Georges County School system this year. A third victim in less than 24 hours was shot and killed in a attemped robbery at a nearby gas station in the same community.
Mr. President as my day moved forwarded it took another turn for the worst. Kids In Trouble, Inc uses Black History Month to enlighten as many students as possible as it relates to our proud past. I often remind young people that our ancestors were Kings and Queens and not hoodlums and thugs as portrayed though the narrow eyes of the media.
We had coordinated a field trip to the Verizon Center and XM Sirrius Satellite Radio for honor students for the upcoming week. I was visiting one of our Middle Schools to confirm the outing. I walked in on a counselor who had a student in distress. The 12 year old child was threatening to commit suicide. I was blown away by this revelation. I have worked with at-risk for a long time and I don’t ever remember a child I have worked with threaten to commit suicide. I have had several threaten to kill me but that was all part of the territory.
The counselor got the child’s mother on the telephone to talk to him but once the child heard his mother’s voice he began crying hysterically. I quietly excused myself from the room because I knew I was in over my head. The counselor followed me out of the room while the child talked with his mother.
I looked at the counselor bewildered and I said “I have never had that kind of experience.” He looked at me and his departing words were ‘Mr. Bell, welcome to my world’ and he disappeared behind his office door.
The murder rate last year for example, in your hometown of Chicago there were 512 homicides; Detroit had 411; Philadelphia had 331; and Baltimore had 215.
Mr. President, those cities are joined by other dangerous cities---such as St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., Flint, Mich., and Camden, N. J.---and they also lead the nation in shootings, assaults, rapes and robberies.
Both the populations of those cities and their crime victims are predominantly black. Each year more than 7,000 blacks are murdered. Close to 100% of the time, the murderer is another black person.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. We are only 13% of the nation’s population, we account for more than 50% of the homicide victims.
Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites and in some cities 22 times that of whites. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery. Yes, the debate and issue of gun control is long overdue in my community.
Mr. President, with all due respect someone has completely dropped the ball. You can start with your Democrat colleagues (Donna Edwards, Steny Hoyer and Ben Cardin) in my Maryland District.
This is not a Democrat or a Republic thing and it is not a black or white thing, it is a people thing. You all have all dropped the ball with our senior citizens and it has spilled over to our children. You never see the likes of Edwards, Hoyer and Cardin until they are looking for a vote.
Something is wrong with this picture and if you don’t think so---we really have a problem.
In closing, we didn’t live to get this old by being stupid! I am looking forward to a response.
IS IT BARACK OBAMA OR BUST FOR AMERICA???
CIVIL RIGHTS AT THE WHITE HOUSE IN BLACK & WHITE
For all most 4 years we have heard over and over again President Barack Obama say “I am the President of all the people” that would be great if everyone was playing on an “Even Playing field.”
His supporters have become his echo and can be heard saying the exact same thing! Therefore, they claim he cannot be seen publicly making life better for the poor, the down trodden and people of color in America. Why should he be any different from any other President? Especially, with 1% of the population controlling all the wealth in America and in 2012 a white man’s salary still doubles that of a black man.
Listed below are some Presidents who blazed a Civil Rights trail while in office to improve the lives of black people while white.
It has been often been said “If you want to hide something from a black person put it in a book.” We can now add the World Wide Internet. The information gathered in this blog can be found there.
President Harry Truman
A 1947 report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms. In February 1948, the president submitted a civil rights agenda to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices devoted to issues such as voting rights and fair employment practices.
This provoked a storm of criticism from Southern Democrats in the run up to the national nominating convention, but Truman refused to compromise, saying: "My forebears were Confederates ... but my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten."
Instead of addressing civil rights on a case-by-case need, Truman wanted to address civil rights on a national level. He made three executive orders that eventually became a structure for future civil rights legislation.
The first Executive Order 9981 came in 1948, is generally understood to be the act that desegregated the armed services. This was a milestone on a long road to desegregation of the Armed Forces. After several years of planning, recommendations and revisions between Truman, the Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity and the various branches of the military, Army units became racially integrated. This process was also helped by the pressure of manpower shortages during the Korean War as replacements to previously segregated units could now be of any race.
The second order, also in 1948, made it illegal to discriminate against persons applying for civil service positions based on race. The third executive order, in 1951, established Committee on Government Contract Compliance (CGCC). This committee ensured that defense contractors to the armed forces could not discriminate against a person because of their race.
In retirement however, Truman was less progressive on the issue of race. He described the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches as silly, stating that the marches would not "accomplish a darn thing."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call the "3 Rs": Relief, Recovery, and Reform. That is, Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.
His wife Eleanor became an important connection for his administration to the African-American population during the segregation era. During Franklin's terms as President, despite his need to placate southern sentiment, she was vocal in her support of the African-American civil rights movement.
Mrs. Roosevelt was outspoken in her support of Marian Anderson in 1939 when the black singer was denied the use of Washington's Constitution Hall and was instrumental in the subsequent concert held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The first lady played a role in racial affairs when she appointed Mary McLeod Bethune as head of the Division of Negro Affairs
President John F. Kennedy
The turbulent end of state-sanctioned racial discrimination was one of the most pressing domestic issues of the 1960s. The Supreme Court of the United States had ruled in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Many schools, especially in southern states, did not obey the Supreme Court's decision. Segregation had also been prohibited by the Court at other public facilities (e.g. buses, restaurants, theaters, courtrooms, bathrooms, and beaches) but continued nonetheless.
Kennedy verbally supported racial integration and civil rights; during the 1960 campaign he telephoned Coretta Scott King, wife of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who had been jailed while demonstrating for equal access of African Americans; Kennedy secured the early release of King, which drew additional black support to his candidacy.
Nevertheless President Kennedy believed the grass roots movement for civil rights would anger many Southern whites and make it more difficult to pass civil rights laws in Congress, which was dominated by conservative Southern Democrats, and he distanced himself from it. He also was more concerned with other issues early in his presidency, e.g. the "Bay of Pigs" fiasco and Southeast Asia. As articulated by brother Robert, the administration's early priority was to "keep the president out of this civil rights mess".
As a result, many civil rights leaders viewed Kennedy as lukewarm, especially concerning the Freedom Riders who organized an integrated public transportation effort in the south, and who were repeatedly met with violence by whites, including law enforcement both federal and state.
Kennedy assigned federal marshals to protect the Freedom Riders as an alternative to using federal troops or uncooperative FBI agents. Robert Kennedy, speaking for the president, urged the Freedom Riders to "get off the buses and leave the matter to a peaceful settlement in the courts.
In September 1962, James Meredith enrolled at the University of Mississippi, but was prevented from entering. Attorney General Robert Kennedy responded by sending some 400 U. S. Marshall while President Kennedy reluctantly federalized and sent 3,000 troops after the situation on campus turned violent. Campus Riots left two dead and dozens injured, but Meredith did finally enroll in his first class. On November 20, 1962, Kennedy signed Executive Order 11063, prohibiting racial discrimination in federally supported housing or "related facilities."
In early 1963, Kennedy related to Martin Luther King, Jr., about the prospects for civil rights legislation: "If we get into a long fight over this in Congress, it will bottleneck everything else, and we will still get no bill." However, civil rights clashes were very much on the rise that year.
His brother Robert and Ted Sorenson pressed Kennedy to take more initiative on the legislative front. On June 11, 1963, President Kennedy intervened when Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked the doorway to the University of Alabama to stop two African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending. Wallace moved aside only after being confronted by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and the Alabama National Guard, which had just been federalized by order of the President, and which had hours earlier been under Wallace's command.
That evening Kennedy gave his famous civil rights address on national television and radio, launching his initiative for civil rights legislation - to provide equal access to public schools and other facilities, and greater protection of voting rights. His proposals became part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The day ended with the murder of N.A.A.C.P. leader, Megar Evers, at his home in Mississippi. As the president had predicted, the day after his TV speech, and in reaction to it, House Majority leader Carl Albert called to advise him that his two year signature effort in Congress to combat poverty in Appalachia (Area Redevelopment Administration) had been defeated, primarily by the votes of Southern Democrats and Republicans.
Kennedy signed the executive order creating the Presidential Commission on the status of Women on December 14, 1961. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt led the commission. The Commission statistics revealed that women were also experiencing discrimination; their final report documenting legal and cultural barriers was issued in October 1963. Earlier, on June 10, 1963, Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a federal law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex.
Over a hundred thousand, predominantly African Americans gathered in Washington for the civil rights March on Washington for jobs and freedom on August 28, 1963. Kennedy feared the March would have a negative effect on the prospects for the civil rights bills in Congress, and declined an invitation to speak. He turned over some of the details of the government's involvement to the Dept. of Justice, which channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars to the six sponsors of the March, including the N.A.A.C.P. and Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
To ensure a peaceful demonstration, the organizers and the President personally edited speeches which were inflammatory and agreed the March would be held on a Wednesday and would be over at 4:00 pm Thousands of troops were placed on standby.
Kennedy watched King's speech on TV and was very impressed. The March was considered a "triumph of managed protest", and not one arrest relating to the demonstration occurred.
Afterwards, the March leaders accepted an invitation to the White House to meet with Kennedy and photos were taken. Kennedy felt the March was a victory for him as well and bolstered the chances for his civil rights bill.
Nevertheless, the struggle was far from over. Three weeks later, a bomb exploded on a Sunday at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham; at the end of the day six children had died in the explosion and aftermath.
As a result of this resurgent violence, the civil rights legislation underwent some drastic amendments that critically endangered any prospects for passage of the bill, to the outrage of the President.
He called the congressional leaders to the White House and by the following day the original bill, without the additions, had enough votes to get it out of the House committee.
In 1963, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who hated civil-rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and viewed him as an upstart troublemaker, presented the Kennedy Administration with allegations that some of King's close confidants and advisers were communists.
The President concerned that the allegations, if made public, would derail the Administration's civil rights initiatives. Robert Kennedy and the President both warned King to discontinue the suspect associations. But after the associations continued, Robert Kennedy felt compelled to issue a written directive authorizing the FBI to wiretap King and other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King's civil rights organization.
Although Kennedy only gave written approval for limited wiretapping of King's phones "on a trial basis, for a month or so," Hoover extended the clearance so his men were "unshackled" to look for evidence in any areas of King's life they deemed worthy.
The wire tapping continued through June 1966 and was revealed in 1968.
President Lyndon B. Johnson
In conjunction with the civil rights movement, Johnson overcame southern resistance and convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed most forms of racial segregation. John F. Kennedy originally proposed the civil rights bill in June 1963.
He called the congressional leaders to the White House in late October 1963 to line up the necessary votes in the House for passage. After Kennedy's death, it was Johnson who picked up the torch and pushed the bill through the Senate. Johnson signed the revised and stronger bill into law on July 2, 1964. Legend has it that, as he put down his pen, Johnson told an aide, "We have lost the South for a generation", anticipating a coming backlash from Southern whites against Johnson's Democratic Party.
In 1965, he achieved passage of a second civil rights bill, the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in voting, thus allowing millions of southern blacks to vote for the first time. In accordance with the act, several states, "seven of the eleven southern states of the former confederacy" - Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia — were subjected to the procedure of pre-clearance in 1965, while Texas, home to the majority of the African American population at the time, followed in 1975.
After the murder of civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo, Johnson went on television to announce the arrest of four Ku Klux Klansmen implicated in her death. He angrily denounced the Klan as a "hooded society of bigots," and warned them to "return to a decent society before it's too late." Johnson was the first President to arrest and prosecute members of the Klan since Ulysses S. Grant about 93 years earlier. He turned the themes of Christian redemption to push for civil rights, thereby mobilizing support from churches North and South.
During a Howard University commencement address on June 4, 1965, he said that both the government and the nation needed to help achieve those goals:
“We have to shatter forever not only the barriers of law and public practice, but the walls which bound the condition of many by the color of his skin. To dissolve, as best we can, the antique enmities of the heart which diminish the holder, divide the great democracy, and do wrong — great wrong — to the children of God.”
In 1967, Johnson nominated civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall to be the first African American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
President Richard M. Nixon
The Nixon years witnessed the first large-scale integration of public schools in the South. Nixon sought a middle way between the segregationist Wallace and liberal Democrats, whose support of integration was alienating some Southern whites. Hopeful of doing well in the South in 1972, he sought to dispose of desegregation as a political issue before then. Soon after his inauguration, he appointed Vice President Agnew to lead a task force, which worked with local leaders—both white and black—to determine how to integrate local schools.
Vice-President Spiro Agnew had little interest in the work, and most of it was done by Labor Secretary George Shultz. Federal aid was available, and a meeting with President Nixon was a possible reward for compliant committees. By September 1970, fewer than ten percent of black children were attending segregated schools. But by 1971, however, tensions over desegregation surfaced in Northern cities, with angry protests over the busing of children to schools outside their neighborhood to achieve racial balance. Nixon opposed busing personally but did not subvert court orders requiring its use.
In addition to desegregating public schools, Nixon implemented the Philadelphia Plan in 1970—the first significant federal affirmative action program. He also endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment after it passed both houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the states for ratification. Nixon had campaigned as an ERA supporter in 1968, though feminists criticized him for doing little to help the ERA or their cause after his election, though he appointed more women to administration positions than Lyndon Johnson had.
In summarizing what has gone wrong in our community I always refer back to a 60 minute interview with the founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Arthur Mitchell. In the interview about the financial struggles of his theatre and a lack of support from blacks, Morley Safer asked him if he was angry!
Mitchell did not miss a beat, he responded, “You show me a black person who is not angry about the status of black America and I will show you a black man and woman who need to see a psychiatrist.”
Our problems run deep and we have to look no further then the mirror on the wall.
In November 2012 as we head to the polls to elect a President for the next term we must remember that the poor state of America does not fall all on the shoulders of Barack Obama.
According to a published story in USA Today dated August 15, 2012 “Just 61 bills have become law to date in 2012 out of 3,914 bills that have been introduced by lawmakers, or less than 2% of all proposed laws, according to a USA analysis of records since 1947 kept by the U. S. House Clerk’s office.
In 2011, after Republicans took control of the House, Congress passed just 90 bills into law. The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995.
These stats make the 112th Congress, covering 2011-2012 the least productive two-year gathering on Capitol Hill since the end of World War II. Not even the 80th Congress, which President Truman called the “Do nothing Congress in 1948, passed as few laws as the current one, records show.”
In 2012 Minority American voters are caught between a rock and hard place, a do nothing Congress on both sides of the aisle and what too many consider a “Do nothing President!”
It does not matter your feelings as it relates to President Barack Obama, the bottom line---the answer is definitely not Mitt Romney in November.