‘BACK OFF, PELOSI!’: Trump Swings Back at Dem Plans To Rename Confederate Named Bases

WASHINGTON (The Hill) — President Trump and Congress are on a collision course over whether to rename Army bases that are named for Confederate military officers.

Trump is adamantly opposed to changing the names, tweeting Wednesday that he would “not even consider” doing so. The next day he warned Republicans not to “fall for” for a legislative effort to change the names.

But just hours after making his position clear, news emerged that the Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require the Pentagon to rename bases and other military assets bearing the names of Confederate leaders.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a committee member, said the amendment shows Trump’s “resistance is so out of touch to be almost irrelevant,” while Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said “it’s part of the reckoning that’s long overdue.”

The House, too, appears poised to adopt a related amendment when it considers its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — increasing the odds that a form of the amendment finds its way to Trump’s desk, forcing him to decide whether to veto a $740 billion bill that includes a pay raise for troops, new military hardware and other administration priorities.

“We’ll work that through, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), an Armed Services Committee member, said Thursday when asked about Trump’s opposition. “And the message is that if we’re going to have bases throughout the United States, I think it should be with the names of individuals who fought for our country. And so I think this is a step in the right direction. This is the right time for it. And I think it sends the right message.”

The rapid moves on Capitol Hill come on the heels of Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper announcing through an Army spokesperson on Monday that they were open to changing the names of 10 bases named after Confederate military officers: Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort Pickett, Fort A.P. Hill and Fort Lee in Virginia; Fort Polk and Camp Beauregard in Louisiana; Fort Hood in Texas; and Fort Rucker in Alabama.

The announcement, a reversal from a position expressed by the Army as recently as February, came amid nationwide protests over police violence and racial injustices. Protesters, along with state and local governments, have moved to take down multiple Confederate statues and monuments following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Congress is also grappling with how to handle its own Confederate statues, but with Democrats and Republicans proposing different approaches.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has asked for a congressional committee to remove them from the halls of Congress, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) argue it’s up to individual states to decide which statues represent them in the Capitol.

On Thursday, a group of black lawmakers introduced legislation that would remove the statues.

Trump, meanwhile, has been digging in.

Just two days after the Army’s announcement on Monday, Trump put an end to the service’s deliberations.

“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump tweeted. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

At a press briefing that started minutes later, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Trump would veto an NDAA that required renaming the bases.

At that same time, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee were meeting behind closed doors to consider their version of the NDAA.

The amendment approved by the committee was first offered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), though a committee staffer told reporters on a background call Thursday that changes were made to Warren’s original proposal in order to secure bipartisan support.

The revised amendment, as passed, would create a commission tasked with crafting an implementation plan for renaming bases and other assets, including examining costs and criteria for changing names, such as whether someone fought for the Confederacy “voluntarily,” a staffer said.

At the end of three years, the amendment says, the Pentagon “shall” remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy or anyone who served voluntarily in the Confederate army, the staffer said.

“What we saw yesterday was a very thoughtful process and a bipartisan process of taking a very complicated and difficult issue, and putting in place a commission that will have a three-year period of operation that will carefully look at all the aspects of this issue and will also be able to engage in local communities who have an interest in the names of these facilities,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) told reporters on a conference call Thursday.

But Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.), stressing that it is early in the NDAA process, said he opposes the amendment as passed and indicated he would work to water it down.

In particular, Inhofe said he thinks there should be more flexibility in whether the commission can recommend against changing a name and that local communities should have more say in whether bases are renamed.

“We’re talking about input of the community, not just in the process, but also after a product comes out, they have to decide,” he said. “I think they ought to have veto authority.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), also on the committee, said he voted against the amendment. The amendment was approved on a voice vote, so there is no official record of who voted for or against it.

“I just don’t think Congress mandating that these be renamed and attempting to erase that part of our history is a way you deal with history,” Hawley said Thursday.

Trump on Thursday mocked Warren for proposing the amendment and warned Republicans against supporting it.

“Seriously failed presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, just introduced an Amendment on the renaming of many of our legendary Military Bases from which we trained to WIN two World Wars,” Trump tweeted, using a nickname for Warren that Native Americans and others consider racist. “Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!”

Senators opposed to the amendment could try to strip it out when the full Senate takes up the NDAA as soon as next week. But amending a bill on the floor in the upper chamber is often an uphill battle.

“If it’s in the base bill coming out of the committee … obviously it’s a heavy lift to take anything out of the bill if it’s been signed off there,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican.

Thune said he has yet to take a “view or position” on renaming the bases, but that “it’s a discussion worth having.”

“I know the president’s taken a pretty hard position on this. So I guess that’s something we’ll end up discussing,” he said.

Other GOP leaders signaled they preferred not to get involved, at least at this stage.

Asked if he supported the amendment, McConnell sidestepped. “That will be up to the committee to decide,” he responded.

en. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only African American Republican in the Senate, also said he hasn’t taken a position yet, adding that his focus right now is on the police reform bill he is taking the lead on drafting.

Still, some Republicans say they support changing the base names.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a frequent Trump critic who marched in a Black Lives Matter protest in D.C. last weekend, said he supports changing the names “in some cases” and that Trump’s stance is “not where I’d be.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) questioned the need to “perpetually” name a base after someone.

“There have been a lot of great soldiers that have come along since the Civil War,” he said.

Blunt also noted the historical consensus that “Braxton Bragg was probably the worst commanding general in the Confederate army,” quipping that he’s an “interesting general to name a fort after.”

Lawmakers disinclined to clash with Trump could also have a chance to remove the amendment when the Senate and House reconcile their versions of the legislation.

But with the House likely to include a version of the amendment in their bill, that would make it much harder to eliminate the provision during bicameral negotiations.

Reps. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), an Army veteran who is black, and Don Bacon (R-Neb.), an Air Force veteran, announced Thursday they have introduced a bill to create a commission to rename bases and other Pentagon property within a year.

Brown said in a statement that the name of a base “matters to the Black soldiers serving at an installation honoring the name of a leader who fought to preserve slavery and oppression,” while Bacon said “it is only right that our installations bear the names of military heroes who represent the best ideals of our republic.”

A spokesman for Brown said they plan to introduce the measure as an NDAA amendment when the House Armed Services Committee considers its version of the bill July 1.

Kevin McCarthy said he would reserve judgment until the NDAA is out of committee, but did not dismiss the idea of renaming the bases.

“I know Esper said he would be open to it and look at it as well,” he said. “I know there are a number of people in the armed services that think it could be appropriate to change some, and some would say otherwise not to. So we’ll look to see what comes out of the NDAA. I’ll wait to see what comes out of the NDAA. Not opposed to it, though.”


The Hill’s Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke contributed to the contents of this article.

‘TEAR ‘EM DOWN!’: Pelosi Calls For Removal of Monuments Honoring Confederate Heroes From Capitol

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for the immediate removal of 11 Confederate statues from the United States Capitol on the grounds that their presence promotes “barbarism.”

In a letter to Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, and Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif, who head a congressional panel responsible for the handling of Capitol displays, Pelosi said the statues represent “cruelty.”

“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy,” Pelosi wrote in the letter sent Wednesday. “The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation. Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals. Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.”

In a statement issued in response, Lofgren wrote that she supported Pelosi’s efforts to remove the statues.

“Indeed, what the Confederate statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection represent is anathema to who we are as a Congress and a country,” Lofgren said. “I agree that the Joint Committee and Architect of the Capitol should expediently remove these symbols of cruelty and bigotry from the halls of the Capitol.  I stand ready, and call on the Chair of the Joint Committee to swiftly approve the removal of these statues. The Capitol building belongs to the American people and cannot serve as a place of honor for the hatred and racism that tears at the fabric of our nation, the very poison that these statues embody.”

As of press time, Blunt had not yet issued a response.

GRAHAM TO MATTIS: ‘Back Off Mad Dog. Trump Not to Blame for America’s Problems’

WASHINGTON — Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday swung back at retired Gen. James Mattis over his recent criticisms of President Donald Trump’s handling of race riots in the United States.

Mattis, in a written critique of Trump published in The Atlantic, slammed Trump, claiming America’s Commander-in-Chief is fanning the flames of racial hatred.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

“It is so fashionable to blame President Trump for every problem in America and he can be a handful and he can do better,” the South Carolina Republican responded during an interview with Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.”

“The one thing I would tell Gen. Mattis that from the time President Trump wakes up to go to bed there’s an effort to destroy his presidency,” said Graham. “[Presidents] George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush used the military to support the police in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict, and the Insurrection Act has been used.”

“I would ask Gen. Mattis to look at the behavior of the politicians in these cities and see if you can find fault with them,” Graham continued. “To Gen. Mattis, I think you’re missing something here, my friend. You’re missing the fact that the liberal media has taken every event in the last three and a half years and laid it at the presidency. I’m not saying he’s blameless, but I am saying you’re buying into a narrative that I think is quite frankly unfair.”

Mattis, a Marine general who once served as Secretary of Defense for the Trump administration, resigned in December 2018 to protest President Trump’s handling of the conflict in Syria.

TRUMP TO NEW YORK: ‘Bring In The Guard!’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday urged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to call in National Guard troops to help combat rioters in the wake of escalating violence throughout the state.

Protests Monday night near Rockefeller Center quickly escalated to violence as rioters smashed windows and looted various stores while upstate an SUV plowed into a group of officers during a demonstration in Buffalo.

In a tweet referencing the high rate of infections and deaths from Covid-19 in the state’s nursing homes, the president, a native New Yorker himself, urged Governor Cuomo to “act fast.”

“The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast! Don’t make the same horrible and deadly mistake you made with the Nursing Homes!!!” Trump tweeted.

During a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo put the blame solely on the shoulders of the NYPD, who he said failed in their duty to protect the public from looting and other criminal activity and on the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, who he claimed did not take the situation seriously enough.

“The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night,” Cuomo said. “I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem.”

During Cuomo’s press briefing the governor also took a swing back at President Trump, who he said was putting undue focus on the riots so that “he doesn’t have to talk about the killing” of George Floyd.

During an address Tuesday, Trump said that he himself will order National Guard troops into New York State if state and local officials refuse to act on the violence. Federal law allows presidents to order such actions, but officials in New York have argued that the president has no authority to do so against the will of local governments.

‘JUSTICE FOR FLOYD’: Tensions mount after unarmed black man dies in encounter with police

MINNEAPOLIS — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis Tuesday evening to express their outrage after 46 year old George Floyd died after what witnesses described as a deadly encounter with police.

The unarmed Floyd was arrested Monday evening after officers responded to a call regarding an alleged forgery in progress. Cell phone video captured by bystanders shows Floyd being handcuffed and pinned to the ground as one police officer presses his knee against his neck. Several times Floyd could be heard pleading with officers that he was in pain and couldn’t breathe. Shortly after, Floyd, who had appeared to stop breathing, was taken to a nearby hospital and declared dead.

According to Minneapolis police, the encounter between Floyd and police occurred just after 8 p.m. Monday, when officers were called to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South after store officials claimed Floyd had attempted to use forged documents at Cup Foods.

A police spokesperson said officers located Floyd sitting in a parked vehicle and that he appeared intoxicated as officers ordered him to exit the vehicle.

“After he got out, he physically resisted officers,” police spokesman John Elder told reporters early Tuesday. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and officers noticed that the man was going into medical distress.”

But a video posted to Facebook by witness by Darnella Frazier appears to contradict some of the officer’s claims that Floyd had resisted arrest. During the 9 minute clip Floyd repeatedly groans and says he can’t breathe while being held face down on the pavement.

“He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro,” one bystander tells the officer and his partner, in the video. “You’re f—ing stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?”

The four officers involved have been fired as a result of the footage.

“It is the right decision for our city, the right decision for our community. It is the right decision for the Minneapolis Police Department,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said at a news conference with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. “We’ve stated our values, and ultimately we need to live by them.”

WHITE PRIVILEGE?: California professors move to ban ‘racist’ farmers markets

SAN DIEGO, CA — Two California college professors are calling to ban farmer’s markets on the grounds that they are racist.

San Diego State University geography professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco contend that farmers’ markets are “white spaces” where blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities feel excluded based on their race.

In their book, titled “Just Green Enough” (https://www.routledge.com/Just-Green-Enough-Urban-Development-and-Environmental-Gentrification/Curran-Hamilton/p/book/9781138713826), Marcelli and Bosco contend that farmers’ markets are “exclusionary” because some minority groups cannot “afford the food and/or feel excluded from these new spaces.”

The professors, who teach an SDSU course called “Food Justice,” argue that “farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized.”

“The most insidious part of this gentrification process is that alternative food initiatives work against the community activists and residents who first mobilized to fight environmental injustices and provide these amenities but have significantly less political and economic clout than developers and real estate professionals,” the professors claim.

The pair further claim that while “curbing gentrification is a vexing task,” the negative externalities of “white habitus” occurring at farmers’ markets can be reversed through “slow and inclusive steps that balance new initiatives and neighborhood stability to make cities ‘just green enough.’”

Calls for statement to San Diego State University were met with, “no comment”.

farmers markets

PC GONE WILD: Kelloggs to do away with ‘racist’ Corn Pops design after complaint

BATTLE CREEK, MI — The Kelloggs company announced on Thursday that it will be overhauling the design on its famous Corn Pops box after a consumer complained calling the graphic “racist”.

The company declared on Twitter that it will be replacing the cover drawing of cartoon characters occupying a shopping mall after a man named Saladin Ahmed pointed out that a single brown corn pop was seemingly depicted as working as a janitor.

“Why is literally the only brown corn pop on the whole cereal box the janitor? this is teaching kids racism,” Ahmed tweeted to the company.

Kellogg’s tweeted a response 5 hours later stating: “Kellogg is committed to diversity & inclusion. We did not intend to offend – we apologize. The artwork is updated & will be in stores soon.”

In a separate statement, Kellogg’s spokesperson Kris Charles said, “We take feedback very seriously, and it was never our intention to offend anyone. We apologize sincerely.”

The company’s decision to pull the design sparked a mix of praise and backlash on social media, with many claiming that both Ahmed and Kelloggs were fanning the flames of racial division.

“#CornPops idiots all idiots if you look at a picture and see a race then you my friends are the RACIST” read one tweet.

“This company is participating in the ridiculousness of this accusation by validating it with a response! #kellogs #cornpops #racist,” read another.

Still another person tweeted, “What’s wrong? Is being a janitor a bad thing? Or is it that the dark pop is the only one wearing clothes and with a job?”

In reply to Kellogg’s addressing his complaint, Ahmed said he was “pleased” with the decision to remove the “offensive” Corn Pop and thanked the company for their “swift response”.

kelloggs

PC GONE WILD? ‘Gone With The Wind’ banned due to ‘racially insensitive’ content

MEMPHIS, TN — 1930’s film classic “Gone With the Wind” has been banned from screening due to what activists have deemed “racially insensitive” content.

The Oscar winning film starring Vivien Leigh and Clarke Gable, has been removed from a historic Memphis, Tennessee theater that had showcased “Gone With the Wind” screenings for more than 34 years.

In a statement, the president of the Orpheum Theatre confirmed the decision to ban the film on the basis of its “insensitive” content.

“The Orpheum appreciates feedback on its programming from all members of the mid-south community,” Orpheum president Bret Batterson said. “As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”

“This is something that’s been questioned every year,” Batterson’s statement continued, “but the social media storm this year really brought it home.”

Film lovers were quick to voice their outrage over the decision, with many taking to Orpheum’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1690854501220051/permalink/1743908129248021/?action_history=null) to vent their frustration.

“This is the stupidest thing I have heard lately and believe me there have been some really stupid things done lately in the name of ‘racism’ – How ignorant are you people – Never will I go to this theater or any other one that promotes this BS,” one commenter wrote.

“A full boycott of the Orpheum should commence immediately, and not cease until this abominable decision is rescinded. Period,” wrote another.

According to the film fact website IMDB, Hattie McDaniel, who played “Mammy” in the 1939 film, was the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Based on the 1936 novel by Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell, “Gone With the Wind” was set in the South during the Civil War and included scenes involving slavery. The movie won eight Oscars, including picture of the year.

GONEWITHTHEWIND

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on its 54th anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 54 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

On the anniversary of this iconic speech and in light of the recent events in America regarding race relations, I thought it appropriate to run that ground breaking speech in it’s entirety . Maybe, just maybe, the world may learn something from it.

Dr. Martin Luther King in a speech delivered at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963:

“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time…to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: for whites only.

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little 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. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when we this happen, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

drking

HISTORY UNDER ATTACK: Black activist calls for removal of Washington, Jackson monuments

Chicago, Illinois — A Chicago black rights activist has called for the removal of two presidential monuments on the city’s south side on the grounds that the memorials are offensive to blacks.

A bronze statue of George Washington on horseback stands at the northwest entrance to Washington Park, where the park was dedicated on December 6, 1879.

Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, said he wants the statue taken out, and wants George Washington’s name removed from the park. Dukes also says President Andrew Jackson’s name should be removed from nearby Jackson Park, because, like Washington, he too was a slave owner.

“When I see that, I see a person who fought for the liberties, and I see people that fought for the justice and freedom of white America, because at that moment, we were still chattel slavery, and was three-fifths of humans,” Dukes told CBS 2 Chicago (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/video/category/news-local-news/3715388-pastor-wants-washington-jackson-parks-renamed-over-presidents-ties-to-slavery/). “Some people out here ask me, say ‘Well, you know, he taught his slaves to read.’ That’s almost sad; the equivalent of someone who kidnaps you, that you gave them something to eat.”

Dukes says it’s “unfair” that a monument would be put up to honor the nation’s first president while there have been no monuments erected to commemorate the lives of black activists such as Malcom X.

“There’s no way plausible that we would even think that they would erect a Malcolm X statue in Mount Greenwood, Lincoln Park, or any of that. Not that say Malcolm X was a bad guy; they just would not go for it,” he said. “Native Americans would not even think about putting up a Custer statue, because of the atrocities that he plagued upon Native Americans. And for them to say to us ‘just accept it’ is actually insulting.”

Dukes said he is not “trying to erase history” but that whites should have no say in monuments erected in neighborhoods that are homes to blacks.

“I think we should be able to identify and decide who we declare heroes in or communities, because we have to tell the stories to our children of who these persons are,” he said.

In an open letter published to Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bishopjames.dukes?fref=nf), Dukes called on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District to make it happen.

“I am feeling ambivalent that I would have to walk my child, attend a parade or enjoy a game of softball in a park that commemorates the memory of a slave owner,” he wrote. “Therefore, I call on the immediate removal of President George Washington and President Andrew Jackson names from the parks located on the southeast side of Chicago. They should not have the distinct honor of being held as heroes when they actively participated in the slave trade.”

Calls for comment to Mayor Emanuel have not yet been returned.

chicagopark