President Barack Obama gave his total support to the “Gang of Six” proposal of all White men in the Senate that fell apart at the seams when Sen. Tom Coburn started whining like a two-year-old after he could not have his way. He was sent back to block the progress that would benefit the American people by his “boss,” anti-tax leader Grover Norquist. Guess what: They just let him walk back in.
Since Barack was just a baby in 1963, I hope someone will send him this copy of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder to educate him on the history of the real Big Six Men of Valor that did not fall apart in 1963.
President Obama’s Gang of 2011: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R. Ky) Sen. Tom Coburn (R. Okla), Sen. Mike Crapo (R. Idaho), Sen. Dick Durbin (D. Ill), Sen. Kent Conrad (D. ND), Sen. Mark Warner (D. Va) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R. GA)
The USA’s Big Six Team of Valor of 1963: Roy Wilkins (NAACP), Whitney Young (National Urban League), A. Philip Randolph (Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters), John Lewis (SNCC and still on the battlefield for us in Congress today), and James L. Farmer (Congress of Racial Equality).
The primary logistical and strategic organizer was Dr. Martin Luther King’s colleague Bayard Rustin. Dr. King, representing the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), was among the leaders of the Big Six civil rights organization who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on August 28, 1963.
The march originally was conceived as an event to dramatize the desperate condition of Blacks in the southern United States and as a very public opportunity to place organizers’ concerns and grievances squarely before the seat of power in the nation’s capital.
The March of the Big Six and other great leaders on Washington was a resounding success. It not only benefited Black folk, but also all folk who were in need of jobs and freedom from discrimination in the workplace with a $2 minimum wage for all workers and self-government for Washington, D.C., then governed by congressional committee.
Despite the tension, more than a quarter million people of diverse ethnicities attended the event. At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington’s history.
My plea to our president is to stop putting our fate (the middle class, elderly and children) in the hands of folk who have never been a part of the struggle. We are told that the president is putting together another team called the Super Committee. I wonder what its makeup will be.
Hopefully Sen. Amy Klobucar, Sen. Al Franken, or Congressman Keith Ellison from Minnesota will be able to serve on that committee. We can publicly promise the president that these three are tough and will have enough backbone to stay at the table. They don’t run away.
Rev. Mary Flowers Spratt welcomes reader responses to email@example.com, or call 827-9264, or write to 411 East 38th, Suite 102, Minneapolis, 55409.
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