Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Martin Luther King, Robert E. Lee, and me

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. — Martin Luther King Jr. — from Letters from a Birmingham Jail

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Yes you can kill the dreamer. Absolutely you can kill the dreamer but you cannot, i must tell you, you cannot kill the dream. The dream is still alive– Reverend Billy Kyles”

The last time I went to Memphis, I went to the National Civil Rights Museum. It is a wonderful museum that gives the entire history of the civil rights museum from the day of slaves to the present. You can see Klan robes, notes from SNCC, pictures of the Freedom riders, pamphlets from the Black Panther party, and a whole host of other things. There is also a movie called “The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306” It is the story of Dr. King’s last day as told by the Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles. Dr. King’s “Mountain Top” speech. He was standing by Dr.King on the balcony when he was shot. He was the guy who tried to call the ambulance.

The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 from Marc Altshuler – Human Music on Vimeo.

Today I was reminded that Arkansas celebrates Robert E. Lee day and Martin Luther King Jr. day on the same day. For some reason, I was shocked. You would think I wouldn’t be. And there were people who were disgusted and there were people who thought it was perfectly fine and thought Robert E. Lee was a great man.

People thought he was great because he didn’t believe in slavery. He was offered a leadership position with the Union army but instead fought for the Confederacy out of a loyalty to the state of Virginia when it seceded from the Union. Some people think that loyalty is honorable. I think he sold out black people and his own views for that loyalty. I don’t think that is honorable. I think it’s a little bit cowardly. Mr. Lee did promote his antislavery views afterwards. Also, Arlington National Cemetery is located on property owned by his wife. General Lee went on to be President of Washington and Lee.

I think Martin Luther King’s view on Mr. Lee’s predicament would have been that he should have resigned and fought for neither side if he couldn’t fight for the Union Army if he was against slavery. (see the Letter from Birmingham jail). With that conclusion, I find it very odd that a day celebrates both of their lives since their views on certain subjects are diametrically opposed.

okay that is the short version. Heck. MLK day is over.

1 Comment

  1. Lee was against slavery?

    You really need to tell that to his slaves, including the girls he screamed at during their torture. After he had these run away mullato girls whipped, he sold their white looking infants.

    The real Lee is nothing like we have been taught. Lee’s own account books, in his own handwriting, show Lee paid six times his normal bounty, for the capture of one specific slave girl, a mullato girl, who had a white looking baby.

    Lee did not write down WHY he paid six times the normal bounty for her return, but he kept extensive notes, again in his own hand writing, about the skin tone of his slave girls infants.

    We also know Lee regularly sold the slave girl’s infants — probably why so many of his slaves ran away in 1858, and Lee had to hire bounty hunters to catch and discipline them.

    All this and much more is in a book by a Lee admirer, ironically, called ” Reading the Man”. Elizabeth Pryor, the author, adores Lee, and tries very hard to explain away his torture and minimize the horrors of Lee regularly selling the infants (Pryor calls it “separating the family unit”).

    It just depends if you want the truth, or the myth. Really. Most of us prefer the myth, especially when that is socially acceptable.

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