"I go to the movie and I go downtown
somebody keep telling me don't hang around
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will" - Sam CookeMarchers attacked by AL police in Selma AL, 1965
Photos via National Park Service
This weekend is the 42nd anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." For those who are not aware which Bloody Sunday this is, becuase in African American history, bloody days of the went down on the regular, this was the day down in Selma AL where civil rights workers were headed out to march 50 miles to the east but were beaten with billy clubs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge 6 blocks into their journey to Montgomery.
Two days later, MLK came over and gave a pep talk and handled "bidness" and the march resumed and the march ended successfully in Montgomery and four months later, President Johnson outlawed literacy tests to vote and signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, (the same act that was under serious attack of not being renewed this past year but fourtunately passed). If you ever have been on US Highway 80 between the two cities, you have to give congratulatory pats on the back for that feat because that stretch of highway is a pretty long hop skip and jump nestled between lonely cotton fields surely owned by Bull Conner sympathisers. When I was down at Tuskegee, I was spooked and scared to even drive that stretch at night, probably because I had "Bloody Sunday" on my mind.
Well, anyway, Obama will be there on behalf of one of those bloodied marchers, Rep. John Lewis of GA.
Here's some insight on what he might say to the black audience he'll face this weekend:
Do you try to talk in the same way to a black audience as a white audience?
I think that the themes are consistent. It think that there's a certain black idiom that it's hard not to slip into when you're talking to a black audience because of the audience response. It's the classic call and response. Anybody who's spent time in a black church knows what I mean. And so you get a little looser; it becomes a little more like jazz and a little less like a set score.
Do you feel that you have to prove yourself to black leaders or civil rights leaders?
You know, I really don't. I think it's instructive to look at how I ran my U.S. Senate campaign... I think that the African American community is more sophisticated than I think the pundits sometimes give them credit for. The notion that right now I'm not dominating the black vote in the polls makes perfect sense because I've only been on the national scene for a certain number of years. And people don't yet know what my track record is.
Interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep this past week
Senator Barack Obama Rally - Austin, Texas - February 23, 2007
Isn't it amazing that in one generation, we went from being beat for simply fighting for a voice and now we have someone of african american descent vying to be spokesperson for everyone's voice. A change is definitely coming Sam Cooke.