Notable Passings: Franklin McCain

Franklin Eugene McCain: (birthdate unknown) – 9 January 2014

I recently read of the passing of Franklin McCain, a civil-rights activist who was a member of the “Greensboro Four” – a group of college freshmen at North Carolina’s Agricultural & Technical State University, who sparked the non-violent “sit-in” protests against segregation in the racist, Jim Crow south during the 1960s. From Al-Jazeera:

“Franklin McCain, an icon of the civil rights movement and a member of the “Greensboro Four,” a group of college freshmen who sparked the nonviolent sit-in movement of the 1960s throughout the South, died Friday at the age of 73.

McCain and three friends — Joseph McNeil, David Richmond and Ezell Blair (now known as Jibreel Khazan) — were freshmen at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University when they drew national attention by launching sit-in protests at a “whites only” F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., on Feb. 1, 1960.

The four spent that entire day at the lunch counter, refusing to get up and staying until it closed. They returned each day, with more students joining them in protest. Students were taunted, spit on and had food and drinks thrown on them; some were arrested. By the fifth day, more than 1,000 people had joined in. Over the next few weeks, sit-ins began taking place in more than 50 cities across nine states, as students at other black colleges and supporters of the civil rights movement participated in the cause.

After six months of pressure from protesters and intense media coverage, the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro desegregated. Prior to the desegregation, blacks had to pick up their food from a door in the rear of the building. The movement led to the creation in Raleigh, N.C., of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which later became the primary organization behind student protests and actions in the civil rights movement.”

The sit-in had been mentioned on a series I saw on PBS last month, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates. The sit-ins illustrated just how much racism and physical violence civil rights activists faced during that time. Food and drinks were dumped on the heads of sit-in participants; they were spat on, and lit cigarettes were placed on the heads of Black men and women. The picture above shows an example of this disgusting behaviour. You can see how the crowd is attempting to intimidate the people at the counter by their numbers and close proximity, as well – invading the personal space of another is a classic intimidation tactic. Amazing that people have the capacity to engage in such evil against another human being, solely for the colour of their skin.

I came across this picture, which seems to be an ad for the Woolworth Corporation, stating that they “share their dream (of equality?) and are proud to have joined them on their journey.” Presumably, it was printed somewhere circa 1990. I had to chuckle at the deceit in their statement because the actions of discrimination in their stores, even in the early 1990s, was still ongoing and prevalent.

You see, I lived in Seattle for about 10 years, during the explosion of the dot-coms and grunge music – it was the place to be for a young woman trying to break into the modeling scene! Anyway, there was a Woolworth’s drugstore on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pike street, directly competing with the Rite-Aid up the block and the Bartell’s Drugs around the corner. They had good prices on hair-care products so shopping there made sense. One day, I happened to pick up a box of Dark & Lovely hair coloring (yes, I dyed my hair for a time) and noted that the box had already been opened. I was going to take it to the front counter and notify an employee of this, so I grabbed a different box to place in my basket for purchase. This box, too, had obviously been opened. Curious, I looked inside to see what might have been missing from the boxes, and saw that there was an unpleasant addition – one of those little white tabs that would set off a store alarm, much like the tags in high-end department stores or located on CD cases in Musicland/Sam Goody stores. I started looking closely at the other boxes of products – relaxers, hot oil treatments, and the like – and was disgusted to realize that EVERY SINGLE ONE THAT WAS EXPRESSLY FOR BLACK WOMEN had these “anti-theft” devices in them! I looked at the products for white females, such as Clairol, Redken, or Vidal Sassoon – none of them had been touched; the plastic was still intact around those boxes. I put all of the products back on the shelf, returned my basket to the front, and left the store. Mind you, this was in August of 1993! I mentioned this fact to few of my friends and some of the women at the modeling agency I was with, and we all stopped shopping there. In January of 1994, that store (among others in the area) closed due to “a massive overhaul of its New York-based parent company.”

A memorial service is scheduled for this coming Thursday, 15 January, from 10 a.m. until noon, and his funeral will be on Friday. It is open to the public, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

Rest in peace, Mr. McCain. You were a giant among men – your legacy continues to fuel the good fight. We shall not rest until true equality is achieved for all peoples in all corners of the world.

Protected: Thoughts on Bill Cosby

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today is a holiday marking the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated by a racist scumbag because of his beliefs, hard works, and the color of his skin. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964; here’s what the website says: “At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the  youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When  notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over  the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights  movement.”

His statement on politics and the two-party system, in particular, is why I feel no allegiance to either one – but, on that note, I don’t see ANY political party out there that shares my views!

King critiqued both parties’ performance on promoting racial equality:

“Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights.”

On Saturday, while a bunch of paranoid gun fetishists shot each other up at various gun shows during their circle-jerk of a so-called “Gun Appreciation Day,” sane people went out and volunteered their time to assist those in need, honoring part of Dr. King’s vision with a “Day of Service.” I’ve volunteered at various times in the past – once I went to a care facility for Black veterans of foreign wars, and just sat with people and listened to them. They were lonely and felt forgotten about, and just having someone hold their hand and talk with them about their lives was better than some junket to a casino. Lots of tears were shed on that day, all around…

I helped clean up a park another time – ugh. It wasn’t pleasant, but sometimes that’s how life is: you have to get your hands dirty in the name of doing some good! Also, cleaning up that park was a great feeling…it made it easy to laugh through the disgusting bits, LOL

A lot of whites love to quote this part of his “I Have A Dream” speech: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That quote is but a small part of the speech, and you can’t quote it without referring to the entire speech because it loses the impact and context. Also, he said a great many important things at other speeches and conferences; those other quotes are less-mentioned, but no less important. I’ll list a few here; you can find the rest at Enjoy!

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.,    A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
―    Martin Luther King Jr.

%d bloggers like this: