Marian Wright Edelman believes if you don’t like the way the world is, you change it.
On June 24th, 1964 the state of Mississippi was invaded by an army of young women and men looking to stir up trouble. They
DOJ Report On MISSBURN Case Leaves Out A Crucial Detail: The Name Of The Vicious Mafia Killer Who Broke The Case For J. Edgar Hoover's FBI
The incident inspired the film "Mississippi Burning," which wrongly concluded that the case was solved after an African American FBI agent was sent to Mississippi and interrogated a KKK sympathizer.
While many things have changed over the past 52 years, much has not.
Since the recent publication of Simone Zelitch's fourth novel, Waveland (The Head and the Hand Press), there have been such a spate of racist and violent events in this country that one could be forgiven for believing we are still somehow mired in the hate and horror of the early 1960's.
In January of 1969, the Black Panther Party initiated the groundbreaking Free Breakfast for Children Program in San Francisco. The "Survival Program" flourished and spread nationwide, feeding thousands of hungry children and inspiring school lunch programs across the country.
Make no mistake, there truly are ghosts in Mississippi. Most often, they inhabit long forgotten places and toil with hopes that their mortal lives have not been lived in vain. A few years ago, I first traveled to a forgotten place to meet a forgotten man.
In 1964, at the height of the civil rights movement, the great organizer Ella Baker said: "Until the killing of black men, black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest."
All were willing to step up to make a difference, to lead when it could be dangerous, and to let their lives be shining examples for others. We should remember them when we face stormy and cloudy weather in our national life and become bright rainbows of hope like them.
Last Saturday in Los Angeles, my friend of 50 years, Harry Belafonte, was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Oscar. And yesterday, while we were savoring this good news, the White House announced that James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schewerner would be posthumous recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.