Showing posts with label Martin Luther King. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martin Luther King. Show all posts

January 23, 2020

HE Served With MLK But Was Arrested for Being Gay~~Will Be Pardoned in California

From left, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bayard Rustin, leaders of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., leave the Montgomery County Courthouse on Feb. 24, 1956. (Gene Herrick/AP)
From left, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Bayard Rustin, leaders of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., leave the Montgomery County Courthouse on Feb. 24, 1956. (Gene Herrick/AP)


A decade before Bayard Rustin became a chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, the civil rights activist was booked into a Los Angeles County jail on suspicion of “lewd vagrancy.”
On that night in January 1953, hours after Rustin had given a speech in Pasadena, Calif., police officers spotted him in a parked car, having sex with one of the other two men in the car. Rustin was sentenced to 60 days in jail and forced to register as a sex offender for the “morals charge,” which was often used to target gay people in those years.

Rustin would ultimately become one of the key leaders of the civil rights movement. He advised the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on nonviolent tactics, helped organize the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and helped create the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. But the arrest remained a stain on his record, nearly exiling him from the movement he helped build. 

Now, on the anniversary of his arrest, lawmakers in California are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to posthumously pardon Rustin and “right this wrong.”
“There’s a cloud hanging over him because of this unfair, discriminatory conviction, a conviction that never should have happened, a conviction that happened only because he was a gay man,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, chair of California’s legislative LGBTQ caucus.

In a news conference Tuesday, Wiener joined with Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, chair of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, to formally ask the governor for the pardon.
While the state has repealed many of the discriminatory laws that targeted black and LGBTQ people such as Rustin, Wiener wrote in a letter to the governor, “we must acknowledge and make amends for the harm that California’s past actions have had on so many people. Pardoning Mr. Rustin will be a positive step toward reconciliation.” 

Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington, was crucial to the movement

In response, Newsom released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he “will be closely considering their request and the corresponding case.”
“History is clear. In California and across the country, sodomy laws were used as legal tools of oppression," Newsom said in the statement. “They were used to stigmatize and punish LGBTQ individuals and communities and warn others what harm could await them for living authentically. I thank those who are advocating for Mr. Bayard Rustin’s pardon.”

Wiener came up with the idea over breakfast with longtime LGBTQ activist Nicole Ramirez, who has spent years seeking a postage stamp dedicated to Rustin. Ramirez said he has heard concerns from some officials that Rustin’s arrest record could get in the way of the stamp approval process.
The stamp, Ramirez said, would help honor a leader who paid a steep price for living authentically as a gay man at a time when he could be arrested, fired and even hospitalized for his sexuality. 

“For him to come and speak out and be openly gay, can you imagine that?” Ramirez said. “He was subjecting himself to more than that arrest but to commit to a state hospital.”
Ramirez met Rustin briefly during a march in Washington in 1987, shortly before Rustin’s death. But at the time, Ramirez didn’t know who Rustin was, he said.
For decades, Rustin has been overlooked as a key strategist of the civil rights movement, historians say.

“Early on, he wasn’t so well known because the civil rights leaders tried to keep him in the shadows … they were fearful of being tainted by Bayard’s gay sexuality,” said Michael Long, who wrote a young-adult book about Rustin and edited a collection of letters by the civil rights leader.
After his arrest in California in 1953, Rustin’s career nearly derailed. He was forced to cancel all upcoming speaking engagements and resign from his position with a pacifist organization, the Fellowship for Reconciliation, Long said. He struggled to find work, and even began doing manual labor as a furniture mover, said Walter Naegle, Rustin’s partner for the last decade of his life. 

Naegle described the fallout from his arrest as a “very dark period."
“I remember him saying he would be walking around in the streets and checking phone booths for loose change,” said Naegle, now 70.

Rustin had been arrested before, for nonviolent protests that included refusing to leave white areas of local movie theaters and restaurants. But it was this arrest that was used to humiliate him and tarnish his reputation. While Rustin never hid his sexuality, he was deeply aware of the way it could affect his work.

In a letter written in March 1953, about three months after his arrest, Rustin wrote: “I know now that for me sex must be sublimated if I am to live with myself and in this world longer.”
Rustin eventually landed a role with the War Resisters League, launching him back into the civil rights movement, Long said. But his sexuality continued to threaten to sideline him. In 1960, after threats from powerful Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (D-N.Y.), King pushed Rustin out of his inner circle, and Rustin resigned from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

But then, in 1963, as leaders planned the March on Washington, Rustin’s longtime mentor, A. Philip Randolph, appointed him as a key organizer of the gathering. Rustin was tasked with steering the logistics of the massive event, coordinating between civil rights groups and recruiting off-duty law enforcement personnel to serve as marshals.

As the march approached, Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) attacked “Mr. March-on-Washington himself” on the Senate floor, dredging up Rustin’s arrest record from Pasadena.
“The words ‘morals charge’ are true. But this again is a clear-cut case of toning down the charge,” Thurmond said on the Senate floor. “The conviction was sex perversion and a subsequent arrest of vagrancy and lewdness.”

At a news conference in 1963, Bayard Rustin points to a map showing the path of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. (AP) 
At a news conference in 1963, Bayard Rustin points to a map showing the path of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. (AP)
But this time, the organizers of the march — including King — stood by Rustin. And even as his sexuality was repeatedly used against him, Rustin never shied away from it, Naegle said. 

“They really picked the wrong guy,” Naegle said. “The thing that separated Bayard from many people was he wasn’t going to be silenced.”

In a recently released interview with the Washington Blade, Rustin said: “It was an absolute necessity for me to declare homosexuality because if I didn’t I was a part of the prejudice. I was aiding and abetting … the prejudice that was a part of the effort to destroy me.” He couldn’t be a “free whole person,” he said, living in the closet.

The week after the March on Washington, the cover of Life magazine featured not a photo of King, but of Randolph and Rustin, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
More than two decades later, upon his death in 1987, Rustin’s obituary was featured on the front page of the New York Times, identifying him as a civil rights activist and chief organizer of the March on Washington. 

But it barely mentioned his identity as a gay man. In the obituary, Naegle was referred to not as Rustin’s partner but as his “administrative assistant and adopted son.”
Maryland schools aim to include LGBT and disability rights in the history curriculum

It wasn’t until recent years that Rustin began to receive recognition not only as a major civil rights leader but as a rare example of an openly gay leader at the time.

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Naegle traveled across the country organizing programs dedicated to spreading the word of Rustin’s legacy. And in 2013, Obama posthumously honored Rustin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, noting his role as an openly gay African American who “stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights.”
A pardon from the California governor would represent much more than personal vindication for Rustin, Naegle said. It would recognize the injustice and damage done to scores of other members of the LGBTQ community who never received the same level of recognition as Rustin. 

“He survived, he thrived, he did fine, but there were a lot of people that didn’t,” Naegle said.
Too Long, a pardon would be “an affirmation of what Rustin knew all along: that he was not a criminal for being gay.”

January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King, Greatness and Enemies

I was too young during the times of Martin Luther King but I did learn in school about his assassination and what he stood for which was not just for black people but he had a universal message for all. 

Mr. King knew he needed to bring whites to the fight for civil rights. It had to be a coalition to bring pressure on the government to make changes, to enact laws to protect both blacks and poor whites. 

I don't understand those that say the government should not get involved in civil rights like making sure people register to vote or that adults loving each other even of the same sex being allowed the same rights as traditional marriages. If not the government who? 

What is the government for.  To fight wars?  or  To make sure its people don't kill each other like in the civil war or other revolutions or closer to home in their own neighborhoods? 
When the government fails to do that what it needs to do, 
what do we get? Destruction and deaths. Some seem to believe the government is there to buy fighter helicopters and continuing to perfect Nukes to kill as many people as possible. Somehow they lost the idea of why we established and pay a government to be over us. It's the everyday things, less expensive things compare to how much we throw away to buy toys for the military and to make those that govern us comfortable and in many cases rich. Those toys we will never get to use and the ones we use chances are will get destroyed. For as much as we need to have a ready military, the defense should start at home. If North Korea, Russia, and others don't teach us that story that weapons do not feed or defend the populace then we will never learn. These nations have very scary powerful, expensive weapons but their people struggle to buy bread in North Korea they starve.

The government was formed to educate its people, to keep them healthy, safe in their own homes and neighborhoods.
That is what history of crime, wars, pandemics and uneducated people teach us. You have uneducated people that won't vaccinate their kids (they haven't calculated the chances of killling their kids and others is greater if you don't) or want them mixing with others. They can't protect themselves and their families well (uneductaed) because their lack of knowledge of new ways to protect us against cancers and other illness' crawling around waiting for an opportunity to strike. They haven't learned that mixing with others only gives us the understanding of others.

This is the government Mr. King fought for. He was misunderstood by the FBI and others which never get to understand because they don' listen. Mr. King fighting for the rights of all got killed by people that took him as the threat to whatever it was they were getting out ignorance of others and the subjugation of a race the whites brought here to just have blacks be slaves. Even after a century of the government realizing the error of the slavery ways some whites still feel the blacks owe them something. l feel like those times have never left or maybe the cancer was not all removed by the civil war and and civil laws, there still some it left that spreads from family to family.

In those whites, we find a lawyer who is anti blacks and anti-gays. His Name is Roy Cohn who was Trump's lawyer most of his life in New York.  Roy Cohn who worked for Joseph McCarthy who with the help of J Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI and closet homosexual kept taps on Mr. king in order to blackmail him, not because they thought he was any threat to the government but he was a threat in unifying people and realizing they had power unified..  It turns out that McCarthy had a lawyer(Cohn) who went around getting a list of gays in the entertainment industry to have them brought before Congress and admit on Television they were gays (which would get them blacklisted in their industry) and he was successful at it!! Why not, he was a homosexual too. So from a repugnant gay who is not only a racist but a jew hating jew who now needed someone to work for, someone who would have him since he was disbarred and there was family in real estaate who needed guys who knew those holes in the law, without scruples, just loyalty to them and which always had problems with nonwhites Roy Cohn was the ring that fits perfectly on the index finger.

 The postwar years were a time of great changes for homosexuals in the United States. The conjunction of the fear and anxiety of the first Cold War years, negative stereotypes held as scientific truths explaining homosexuality, and the greater awareness people had about the existence of gays and lesbians resulted in an environment of misunderstanding and persecution. Within this environment, positive scientific contributions toward the understanding of homosexuality such as Kinsey's report were twisted to fit the larger societal preconceptions, and even influenced the creation of legislation aimed at eradicating homosexuals from the government.
A protagonist in this postwar environment of fear and anxiety was a senator named Joseph McCarthy, who ascended in politics through lies and slander, and became most famous for his relentless persecution of 'infiltrated' communists, liberals, and dissenters. Assisting the senator in his crusade was a legal infrastructure previously laid out by committees who had taken the cause before him, the most important of which was the famous House of Un- American Activities Committee.
Despite the great number of literature written about the senator, there are relatively few studies that deal with McCarthy's persecution of homosexuals. Some historians mention it in the context of his other persecutions, and as an example of one of the many groups who suffered under the senator. In The Age of Anxiety: McCarlhyism to Terrorism, Haynes Johnson stated that the senator, and his chief council Roy Cohn 

Below I posted a story writen by  on The Daily Beast in which it gives you more on Roy Cohn. Gil describes the problems Mr. king had with Roy Cohn.  A Queens family who immigrated here from Germany. The Trumps had work for a man as special as Cohn.
Happy Holiday! Adam Gonzalez, Publisher adamfoxie blog Internatioal


 The one on your right Roy Cohn, anti balck who hated MLK,, gay against gays, jew against jews died of AIDS. Life sometimes if funny! Oh the one on your left his buddy who learn from Cohn Trump

Believe it or not, Roy Cohn, the slimy lawyer who unintentionally helped make “McCarthyism” American for “smear,” once sued Martin Luther King Jr. … for libel. 

King died with the suit unresolved. Just three weeks after his assassination, Gilligan v. King furthered the liberalization of our libel standards Donald Trump is now attacking. 

Of course, according to mainstream media-mirroring America, about pitting America’s smearmeister general, “Citizen Cohn,” against America’s civil rights martyr Dr. King, is as morally lopsided as Donald Trump running against, say, Oprah Winfrey, for president. Yet fair judges took Cohn’s complaint seriously.

It began with a heartbreakingly familiar American ritual—a white cop shooting a black kid, who may or may not have been armed. The historian Michael Flamm, in his authoritative, compelling look at the Harlem riots that followed in that sizzling summer of ’64, writes reasonably, that “What happened on July 16 at 9:20 am in front of 215 East 76th street was unclear and contested, both then and now.”

What is clear is that a white, off-duty New York City policeman, Thomas R. Gilligan, while running an errand, heard a “commotion,” ran out, and ended up shooting a 15-year-old African-American, James Powell. Gilligan and the white adult witnesses on 76th Street claimed Powell slashed at Gilligan with a knife—cutting his hand—and that Gilligan identified himself as a police officer. Most of the kids on the street, who had attended summer school with Powell, saw no knife and heard no identification. 

“This is worse than Mississippi,” one young woman shouted, as three hundred furious students started trashing Yorkville. The violence spread to Harlem, then to Bedford-Stuyvesant. Six nights later, one rioter was dead, 118 were injured, 465 had been arrested. Looting caused a million dollars’ worth of damage.

Legally, Gilligan was exonerated. The Grand Jury refused to indict. The Manhattan District Attorney’s detailed 14-page report explained why—with the DA brandishing Powell’s knife at a press conference. Morally, the Congress of Racial Equality, CORE, nailed it. It should have been a “minor, indeed comic street incident,” with a highly decorated, 6-foot-2, 200-pound World War II vet and cop on the job for 17 years subduing a 122-pound teen with a three-and-a-half-inch knife. CORE’s counter-report on the incident concluded: “Policemen should not shoot boys half their size.” 


Nerves were already raw that summer—even before temperatures hit the 90s during New York’s week-long riot. On June 21, racists murdered three civil rights activists from Mississippi’s Freedom Summer—James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Officials would only find their corpses on Aug. 4. On June 28, the militant Malcolm X founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, while asking, “whoever heard of angry revolutionists all harmonizing ‘We shall overcome… suum day’ while tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm with the very people they were supposed to be angrily revolting against?” 

Yet on July 2, Lyndon Johnson signed the transformational Civil Rights Act of 1964. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the same day James Powell died, the conservative Barry Goldwater accepted the Republican presidential nomination, declaring: “Tonight there is violence in our streets, corruption in our highest offices, aimlessness among our youth, anxiety among our elders and there is a virtual despair among the many who look beyond material success for the inner meaning of their lives.” 

Flamm notes that beyond inaugurating the 1960s’ “long hot summers,” the Harlem riots, the civil rights activism, the Goldwater nomination, and the great American crime wave, would nationalize local crime as a hot political issue. The “new racial dynamic… would drive a wedge between the civil rights movement and many white liberals… The image of the black rioter now joined the symbol of the black criminal, which had deep roots in American history.” 

Amid such tension, and given New York’s centrality in American consciousness, an all-star team of civil rights activists mobilized. Martin Luther King of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and James Farmer of CORE joined local activists including the great Harlem rent striker Jesse Gray and William Epton of the more obscure—and radical—Harlem Progressive Movement. They bombarded Gilligan with their eloquence, creativity, and wrath. Some alleged that Gilligan ended up in a mental hospital. Others distributed three thousand copies of a poster proclaiming: “WANTED FOR MURDER,” Gilligan was pictured in uniform above the contemptuous label: GILLIGAN, THE COP. 

It’s ironic that King was sued for slander. While he wanted Gilligan suspended, he came to New York on a “peace mission” championing non-violence. King felt caught. Extremists like his eventual co-defendant in the slander suit, William Epton, a “Burn Baby Burn” Maoist, were shouting: “We’re going to have to kill a lot of cops, a lot of the judges, and we’ll have to go up against their army.” And many Harlem leaders resented importing this outsider from Atlanta. King would say, characteristically: “I call upon all Negro and white citizens of goodwill to continue to struggle unrelentingly but nonviolently against the racial and economic oppression that face our country.” The Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, who said he started agitation for equality “before Martin Luther King was in diapers,” snapped: “No leader outside of Harlem should come to this town and tell us what to do.” 

Beyond his usual Gandhi-esque approach, King feared that black violence would get Goldwater elected. And five months before he won the Nobel Peace Prize—and four years before his assassination—he was not yet considered a saintly, nonpartisan figure. Allegations that he was a Communist hounded him. Meanwhile, Roy Cohn’s occasional cross-dressing playmate, the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, was trying hard to crush King.

Still, Gilligan—represented by Roy Cohn of Saxe, Bacon & Bolan—lumped King and Farmer with Epton, Gray, and the Harlem Progressive Movement. By the time he was 27 in 1954, Cohn was nationally famous and broadly loathed as head hatchet-man and chief counsel to Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch-hunt. In private practice for the next three decades, Cohn continued tarnishing his reputation. Even his devoted client Donald Trump would tell Vanity Fair's Marie Brenner: “All I can tell you is he’s been vicious to others in his protection of me. He’s a genius. He’s a lousy lawyer, but he’s a genius.”

When he died in 1986, Cohn was disbarred, owed $3.18 million in back taxes and had experience as defense lawyer and defendant, having been “tried and acquitted three times in Federal court on charges ranging from conspiracy to bribery to fraud,” The New York Times reported.

Still, Cohn’s bullying made him a formidable lawyer. “My scare value is high,” he boasted. “My area is controversy. My tough front is my biggest asset. I don’t write polite letters. I don’t like to plea-bargain. I like to fight.”

Cohn picked a fight with Martin Luther King and his allies. “The complaint alleges plaintiff enjoyed an outstanding and excellent reputation and good character,” the court in Gilligan v. King et al. summarized; “that defendants since in or about July, 1964, conspired and maliciously and willfully participated in a plan and course of action designed to defame and injure the plaintiff in his good name and reputation, in his profession as a policeman; to destroy his income and livelihood and to remove plaintiff as a police officer of the New York City Police Department…”

The lawyers defending King and company wanted the case dismissed. They argued that in another case involving King peripherally, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) the Supreme Court so protected free speech, it made it extremely difficult for “public officials” to claim they were libeled. Cohn and company countered by calling police officers low-level public servants, not public officials, limiting Sullivan to politicians who entered politics knowing it gets personal—and ugly.

In April 1968, Cohn won but lost. The New York Appellate court greenlighted Gilligan’s case, allowing a police officer who felt slandered to pursue a claim. This landmark case determined, however, that “the occupant of a governmental position, even of a minor nature, is a public official.”

As a “public official,” Gilligan faced the new, tough, four-year-old “actual malice” standard the Supreme Court established in Sullivan. The cop would have to prove that King and his colleagues knowingly lied when accusing Gilligan. That was a factual matter for a jury to decide. Thus the green light—but with flashing amber warnings about Gilligan’s chances of victory.

After 1968, this trial’s trail grows cold. Gilligan v. King disappears from public records, leaving historians with a mystery: Did the defendants settle confidentially? Did the plaintiffs drop the suit? 

Consider this: Roy Cohn lived to win. When The New York Times ran its April 26, 1968, story, declaring “Gilligan Upheld on Right to Sue Those Who Called Him a Killer,” his best move would have been to advise his client to declare victory publicly, then drop the case privately, but secretly. Cohn the street-fighter wouldn’t give his enemies the satisfaction of surrendering, preferring to let this threat linger—maybe even triggering occasional sleepless nights.

In 1968, blacks were 16 times more likely to be shot by cops than whites—and three times more likely to be shot then by cops, than now. Would any lawyer want to try convincing a jury that a civil rights leader, mourning yet another under-armed 15-year-old black kid killed, didn’t think black lives matter and wasn’t sincere in yelling “MURDERER”—in 1968 or 2018?


Michael Flamm, In the Heat of the Summer: The New York Riots of 1964 and the War on Crime (2016). Authoritative, insightful, and compelling look at the Harlem Riots—and their influence nationally, historically.

Nicholas Von Hoffman, Citizen Cohen (1988). Colorful account of Roy Cohn’s crazy, perverse life.

Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-1965 (1998). This majestic three-volume classic is a rare King biography that mentions Cohn’s slander suit—albeit fleetingly

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