Sunday, January 14, 2007

Beyond FORTITUDE: Dr. King’s Legacy Revisited

I love this photo. Coupled with Shaun Mullen’s description of Chuck Stone, a legendary journalist who worked with Mullen at the Philadelphia Daily News, it brings to life an image of a man who not only impressed on sight, but did impressive things on a regular basis. Stop over to Mullen’s Kiko’s House blog and read not only about Stone’s wingtips and Houbinout cologne, but about the many, many crime suspects from the Philadelphia area who chose to turn themselves into Chuck Stone. “Why?” Mullen writes. “Because the suspects, most of them African-Americans, feared being beaten or otherwise mistreated. Having Chuck turn them over to the police, usually in his tiny office or the News conference room, helped guarantee safe passage.”

You might also be impressed by Chuck Stone’s resumé: “Chuck became a Tuskegee Airman after graduating college, wrote speeches for and kept the faith, baby, with powerful U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., had a radio show with Malcolm X and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference headquarters in Atlanta before coming to the News, where he wrote a thrice weekly column for 19 years before going to divinity school and getting a theology degree in his late 60s while teaching journalism at the University of Delaware and later the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.” Like I said, I love this photo.

Also check out Mullen’s write-ups on his own experiences as a young man in the late 1960s, especially his memories of the day Dr. King was assassinated and his subsequent drive through the burning streets of Washington D.C. neighborhoods. Finally, consider these wise words of Dr. King’s, also currently highlighted on Kiko’s House, regarding the nightmare called the Vietnam War. It’s almost impossible to read this without replacing the word “Vietnam” with “Iraq,” without thinking about devastated Iraqi families when Dr. King refers to the Vietnamese:

“If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.”

Thanks to Shaun Mullen for visiting BEYOND Understanding and providing a link to Kiko’s House. His is a voice of experience and insight well worth tuning into; his blog appears to offer a resource of reason and wonder (and occasional consternation) at where we’ve been and we’re we seem to be headed. If our country were in the hands of someone like Dr. King or Chuck Stone—someone who championed people in need rather than acted upon personal desires for power and domination—I think we’d be headed in a very different direction. One can only dream.


Blogger Patry Francis said...

Things are bleak now, but we CAN dream, and we must. Thanks for this, K.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

My pleasure, Patry! K.

10:42 AM  

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