March to Montgomery

Participants, some carrying American flags, marching in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965

“A week after [James] Reeb’s death, on Wednesday March 17, Judge Johnson ruled in favor of the protesters, saying their First Amendment right to march in protest could not be abridged by the state of Alabama: The law is clear that the right to petition one’s government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups . … These rights may … be exercised by marching, even along public highways. Judge Johnson had sympathized with the protesters for some days, but had withheld his order until he received an iron-clad commitment of enforcement from the White House. President Johnson had avoided such a commitment in sensitivity to the power of the state’s rights movement, and attempted to cajole Governor Wallace into protecting the marchers himself, or at least giving the president permission to send troops. Finally, seeing that Wallace had no intention of doing either, the president gave his commitment to Judge Johnson on the morning of March 17, and the judge issued his order the same day. To ensure that this march would not be as unsuccessful as the first two marches were, the president federalized the Alabama National Guard on March 20 to escort the march from Selma, The ground operation was supervised by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. He also sent Joseph A Califano Jr., who at the time served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, to outline the progress of the march. In a series of letters, Califano reported on the march at regular intervals for the four days. On Sunday, March 21, close to 8,000 people assembled at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church to commence the trek to Montgomery. Most of the participants were black, but some were white and some were Asian and Latino. Spiritual leaders of multiple races, religions, and creeds marched abreast with Dr. King, including Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos, Rabbis Abraham Joshua Heschel and Maurice Davis, and at least one nun, all of whom were depicted in a photo that has become famous. …”
W – March to Montgomery
Selma to Montgomery March (Video)
YouTube: Selma to Montgomery March, Rare Video Footage of Historic Alabama 1965 Civil Rights Marches, MLK’s Famous Montgomery Speech

Posted in Civil Rights Mov., Dick Gregory, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey P. Newton, Jesse Jackson, Lyn. Johnson, MLKJr. | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joan Didion and the Art of Motherhood

“Joan Didion was known for her confident, self-assured statements and the surgical precision with which she observed the world. The one adjective continually invoked of her writerly persona and her work was cool. When she passed recently, one of the conversations that bubbled up about her life and her legacy was her identity as a writer and a mother. Online, some male writers asked if she was proof it was possible to be a great artist and a great parent—to be met with parent writers who quickly pointed out the nonsensicalness of that question. But if we look at Didion’s work itself, we see her contradictions. She is often admired for the clarity and conviction of her writing, but in her work, and how she thought of it, there is the uncertainty and tension between the demands of being a writer and the demands of being a mother. And certainly, in how Didion approached it, an understanding that to ask her to conceptualize the two was something that was never demanded of her male peers. Where her nonfiction is all certainties and declarations, her fiction is a receptacle of ambiguities, vacillations, and deep anxieties. The topic of motherhood and her relationship to children straddles both genres. Though in her essays, such as her iconic collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem, these anxieties surface as acrid, sometimes derisive observations, particularly of women, they also linger and lurk in the undercurrents. In her novels, including A Book of Common Prayer and Play It as It Lays, the anxieties often fuel the erratic behavior of the female protagonists who suffer the torment of repressed mania, among their many other conditions and plights. Her memoirs, each prompted by grief—Where I Was From, Blue Nights, and The Year of Magical Thinking—take rigorous inventory of life with her family while attempting to make sense of the sudden death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and soon after, their daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne. …”

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Octavio Paz: Political thought

“… Originally, Paz supported the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, but after learning of the murder of one of his friends by the Stalinist secret police, he became gradually disillusioned. While in Paris in the early 1950s, influenced by David Rousset, André Breton and Albert Camus, he started publishing his critical views on totalitarianism in general, and particularly against Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union. In his magazines Plural and Vuelta, Paz exposed the violations of human rights in communist regimes, including Castro’s Cuba. This brought him much animosity from sectors of the Latin American left. In the prologue to Volume IX of his complete works, Paz stated that from the time when he abandoned communist dogma, the mistrust of many in the Mexican intelligentsia started to transform into an intense and open enmity. Paz continued to consider himself a man of the left, the democratic, ‘liberal’ left, not the dogmatic and illiberal one. He also criticized the Mexican government and leading party that dominated the nation for most of the 20th century. Politically, Paz was a social democrat, who became increasingly supportive of liberal ideas without ever renouncing to his initial leftist and romantic views. In fact, Paz was ‘very slippery for anyone thinking in rigid ideological categories,’ Yvon Grenier wrote in his book on Paz’s political thought. ‘Paz was simultaneously a romantic who spurned materialism and reason, a liberal who championed freedom and democracy, a conservative who respected tradition, and a socialist who lamented the withering of fraternity and equality. An advocate of fundamental transformation in the way we see ourselves and modern society, Paz was also a promoter of incremental change, not revolution.’ … In 1990, during the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall, Paz and his Vuelta colleagues invited several of the world’s writers and intellectuals to Mexico City to discuss the collapse of communism. …”
W – Political thought
Dissent – Poetry and Action: Octavio Paz at 100
Octavio Paz and Intellectual Independence in Defense of Freedom and Democracy
[PDF] Octavio Paz: eight decades of poetry, politics and history

II International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture.
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Dion: The Wanderer Has Never Left the Building

November 18, 2022: “When Dion DiMucci was attending junior high school in the Bronx, not long before he became a rock and roll sensation with the Belmonts—named for Belmont Avenue, near his home—his grandfather came over every morning to perform a ritual with a wooden spoon and tin cup. … It’s a story Dion has told often, as he did at the podium in 2011 while accepting an award from the National Italian-American Foundation, where Barack Obama, known to eat up to half a dozen eggs with potatoes for breakfast, was in the audience. … Clean and sober for more than half a century now, the kid from East 183rd Street who wrote ‘(I Was) Born to Cry’ in the days when he wolfed down that brain food hasn’t been buzzed on anything stronger than Robert Johnson’s blues for a long, long time. … That’s the way Lou Reed introduced Dion —of ‘Runaround Sue,’ ‘The Wanderer,’ and ‘Abraham, Martin and John’ fame—when DiMucci was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in 1989.  Both solo and with the Belmonts, Dion has charted 11 singles on the Billboard Top 40, beginning with ‘I Wonder Why,’ in 1958. But he did not make it to Cleveland’s hallowed hall as an oldies act. Once upon a time, he was a heartthrob, but the long-ago ‘Teenager In Love’ (No. 5 in 1959) is 83 now, born four years after Elvis. Dion says he met the King just once, when they were performing at different hotels in Las Vegas. … Nor did anyone see the folk smash ‘Abraham, Martin and John’ coming from doo-wop royalty at the height of the late ’60s hippie era. Perhaps the best-known tale of American assassination (‘I just looked around and he’s gone.…’), the single had sold well over a million copies less than six months after it was released, in 1968. That was the year Dion kicked heroin, gave up booze, and began life as a serious Christian, a journey of a half-century—documented in several 1980s gospel LPs—that eventually returned him to his Roman Catholic roots. …”
Voice (Video)

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Ascension – John Coltrane (1965)

“Conventional wisdom—and many people’s understanding of jazz history—asserts that John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme is the saxophonist’s masterpiece. Recorded in a single session with his indomitable Quartet on December 9, 1964, it almost makes sense as a variety of Christmas disc, an offering from the mind and soul of the true artist to a power beyond. It’s numinous but not preachy, and simultaneously as secular as cutting through an alley to get to the bar faster. The turnaround from studio to factory to shelves was swift. By January of the new year—which proved to be Trane’s fieriest annum—A Love Supreme was in record stores. Even though Coltrane had already been many places jazz musicians had not previously, something about the album felt different. Like the apex, the high-water mark. But we must be careful not to confuse a high-water mark with an end, or a crowning. Its creator saw but a door—and a new direction—instead. A challenge to extend and advance and even, dare I say, improve upon a recording that many will tout as a medium’s finest. That was the Coltrane way: out with the new, in with the new new. The Quartet itself was starting to crack as a going venture circa Christmastime 1964; not because it was running out of things to say, but rather because of Coltrane’s imperishable credo that he was finding new ways to speak. A Love Supreme has the air of a group performing at its own funeral—or, if not the actual service, then a rehearsal for one, testifying, in their own musical words, to what made them so special. It’s only art that lives forever, not bands. There’s no running down of A Love Supreme; its sublimity is unimpeachable, as much a law of the universe as boiled water turning into gas. But what I would suggest is that John Coltrane never made rawer, realer, rip-your-face-off-and-pull-out-who-you-really-are art than his infamous Ascension date from June 28, 1965. In its tonal ferocity, it’s merciless and yet, paradoxically, laden with that self-same quality that is the balm for all human suffering: mercy sprung from the well of compassion, understanding, and intimate communal byplay. …”
Highest Trane: John Coltrane’s World-Building Ascension
W – Ascension
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Ascension (Full Album)

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Turtle Island – Gary Snyder (1974)

Turtle Island is a book of poems and essays written by Gary Snyder and published by New Directions in 1974. Within it, Snyder expresses his vision for humans to live in harmony with the earth and all its creatures. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1975. ‘Turtle Island‘ is a name for the continent of North America used by many Native American tribes. By the late 1950s, Gary Snyder had established himself as one of the major American poets of his generation. He was associated with both the Beat Generation and the regional San Francisco Renaissance. He spent much of the 1960s traveling between California and Japan, where he studied Zen. In 1966, he met Masa Uehara while in Osaka. They married the following year and had their first child, Kai, in April 1968; by December, Snyder and his new family moved to California. His return coincided with the highest crest of 1960s counterculture, as well as the nascent environmental movement. He was received as an elder statesman by both the hippies and the environmentalists, and he became a public intellectual who gave public lectures, making television appearances, and publishing new writing. Many of the poems and essays in the book had been previously published. The essay ‘Four Changes’ first appeared in The Environmental Handbook, a collection published by David Brower and Friends of the Earth for the first Earth Day in 1970. ‘Four Changes’ was initially published anonymously with no copyright notice, and consequently it was widely reproduced. … Like Snyder’s poetry of the late 1960s, many of the poems found in Turtle Island are political in nature. However, with American military involvement in the Vietnam War coming to a close, Snyder’s attention had turned from matters of war and peace to environmental and ecological concerns. …”
Allen Ginsberg: Mind, Mouth and Page – (Gary Snyder)

Posted in Allen Ginsberg, Books, Counterculture, Environmental, Happenings, Hippie, Poetry, Vietnam War | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Katherine Ann Power: Weather Underground

Katherine Ann Power (born January 25, 1949), also known under the aliases Mae Kelly and Alice Louise Metzinger, is an American ex-convict and long-time fugitive, who, along with her fellow student and accomplice Susan Edith Saxe, was placed on the FBI‘s Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1970. The two participated in robberies at a Massachusetts National Guard armory and a bank in Brighton, Massachusetts, where Boston police officer Walter Schroeder was shot and killed. Power remained at large for twenty-three years. A native of Colorado, Power turned herself over to authorities in 1993 after starting a new life in Oregon. She pleaded guilty and was imprisoned in Massachusetts for six years before being released on fourteen years’ probation. While in prison, Power completed her bachelor’s degree, and after her release, earned a master’s degree at Oregon State University. She currently resides in the Boston area. … In 1967, Power enrolled at Brandeis as a sociology major and honor student at a time when the campus was being roiled by student protests opposing the Vietnam War. She became known for wandering campus braless and barefoot in an orange-colored smock, for her attendance at Students for a Democratic Society protest rallies, and for her involvement in the Brandeis Strike Information Center. … Through their association with Bond, Power and Saxe became involved in a plot to arm the Black Panther Party as a response to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. … On September 20, 1970, the group robbed a National Guard armory in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and took 400 rounds of ammunition. They also stole weapons and set fire to the facility, causing about $125,000 in damage. Three days later, on September 23, 1970, the group robbed a bank in Brighton (a neighborhood of Boston), carrying handguns, a shotgun and a submachine gun. …”
Katherine Ann Power’s radical transformation

Posted in Black Power, Vietnam War, Weather Underground | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Why We Still Don’t Have the JFK Assassination Files

President John F. Kennedy is seen riding in motorcade approximately one minute before he was shot in Dallas, Tx., on Nov. 22, 1963. In the car riding with Kennedy are Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, right, Nellie Connally, left, and her husband, Gov. John Connally of Texas.

“Almost exactly 59 years after those rifle shots rang out in Dealey Plaza, left a president mortally wounded and changed the course of history, there are still secrets that the government admits it is determined to keep about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. More than 14,000 classified documents somehow related to the president’s murder remain locked away, in part or in full, at the National Archives in clear violation of the spirit of a landmark 1992 transparency law that was supposed to force the release of virtually all of them years ago. The fact that anything about the assassination is still classified — and that the CIA, FBI and other agencies have refused to provide the public with a detailed explanation of why — has convinced an army of conspiracy theorists that their cynicism has always been justified. Newly released internal correspondence from the National Archives and Records Administration reveals that, behind the scenes, there has been a fierce bureaucratic war over the documents in recent years, pitting the Archives against the CIA, FBI and other agencies that want to keep them secret. The correspondence, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that the Archives has tried, and often failed, to insist that other agencies comply with the 1992 law by declassifying more documents. … The internal correspondence from the Archives helps resolve one lingering mystery about the documents: In their negotiations with the White House and the Archives in recent years, how have the CIA, FBI, the Pentagon and other agencies justified keeping any secrets about a turning point in American history that occurred decades ago — an event that has always inspired corrosive conspiracy theories about government complicity? In the past, those agencies have provided the public with only vague explanations about their reasoning, citing potential damage to national security and foreign policy. …”
POLITICO (Nov.11, 2022)
W – CIA Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory
Jack Ruby Is the Key to the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories. So Why Have We Forgotten About His Trial? (June 3, 2021)
The Intercept_: NSA Concealed Records on JFK Assassination for Decades (Oct. 2017)

Cameras used to record the assassination of John F. Kennedy are seen in the Sixth Floor Museum formally the site of the Texas School Book Depository October 8, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. The sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building now houses the Sixth Floor Museum which is dedicated to the history behind the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. …
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Shoe-banging incident

The often used fake image of Khrushchev waving a shoe (above), and the original photo taken at the United Nations General Assembly, 10 October 1960.

“The shoe-banging incident occurred when Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, pounded his shoe on his delegate-desk in protest at a speech by Philippine delegate Lorenzo Sumulong during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York City on 12 October 1960. In 2003, American scholar William Taubman reported that he had interviewed some eyewitnesses who said that Khrushchev had brandished his shoe but not banged it. He also reported that no photographic or video records of the shoe-banging had been found. However, in his biography of Khrushchev, he wrote that he accepted that the shoe-banging had occurred. There is at least one fake photograph, where a shoe was added into an existing photograph. … There he demonstratively, in a theatrical manner, brushed Sumulong aside, with an upward motion of his right arm—without physically touching him—and began a lengthy denunciation of Sumulong, branding him (among other things) as ‘a jerk, a stooge, and a lackey’, and a ‘toady of American imperialism‘ and demanded Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) call Sumulong to order. … According to some sources, Khrushchev pounded his fists on his desk in protest as Sumulong continued to speak, and at one point picked up his shoe and banged the desk with it. Some other sources report a different order of events: Khrushchev first banged the shoe then went to the rostrum to protest. Sumulong’s speech was again interrupted. … In 1961, revolutionary philosopher Frantz Fanon commented: ‘And when Mr. Khrushchev brandishes his shoe at the United Nations and hammers the table with it, no colonized individual, no representative of the underdeveloped countries laughs. For what Mr. Khrushchev is showing the colonized countries who are watching is that he, the missile-wielding muzhik, is treating these wretched capitalists the way they deserve.’ …”
No, Khrushchev never banged his shoe at the UN
YouTube: Khrushchev shoe banging video 10-12-60 – THIS IS THE REAL VIDEO

The actual photo of Nikita Khrushchev and Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrey Gromyko (R) at the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations on October 12, 1960. Red circle marks the shoe on Khrushchev’s table.
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“The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World” – Gabriel García Márquez (Gregory Rabassa, Translator)

“The first children  who saw the dark and slinky bulge approaching through the sea let themselves think it was an enemy ship. Then they saw it had no flags or masts and they thought it was a whale. But when it washed up on the beach, they removed the clumps of seaweed, the jellyfish tentacles, and the remains of fish and flotsam, and only then did they see that it was a drowned man. They had been playing with him all afternoon, burying him in the sand and digging him up again, when someone chanced to see them and spread the alarm in the village. The men who carried him to the nearest house noticed that he weighed more than any dead man they had ever known, almost as much as a horse, and they said to each other that maybe he’d been floating too long and the water had got into his bones. When they laid him on the floor they said he’d been taller than all other men because there was barely enough room for him in the house, but they thought that maybe the ability to keep on growing after death was part of the nature of certain drowned men. He had the smell of the sea about him and only his shape gave one to suppose that it was the corpse of a human being, because the skin was covered with a crust of mud and scales.  They did not even have to clean off his face to know that the dead man was a stranger. The village was made up of only twenty-odd wooden houses that had stone courtyards with no flowers and which were spread about on the end of a desertlike cape. There was so little land that mothers always went about with the fear that the wind would carry off their children and the few dead that the years had caused among them had to be thrown off the cliffs. But the sea was calm and bountiful and all the men fitted into seven boats. So when they found the drowned man they simply had to look at one another to see that they were all there….”
“The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World”
amazon: Leaf Storm: and Other Stories

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