15 SEPTEMBER 1963

Well, civil rights really got accelerated here in Birmingham, Alabama. At 10:22 AM on this Sunday morning some Klu Klux Klan men killed four young black girls by setting of a bomb against the side of the 16th Street Baptist Church. You can look at this video:https://youtu.be/K5KqCMsHlq0

Do a little research on what it was like in the USA with fully visible racism in Birmingham with Governor George Wallace, Commissioner of Safety “BULL” Connor in Birmingham and J. Edgar Hoover as the head of the FBI. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_Connor

I got to Naval Air Transport Squadron Three, VR-3, at McGuire AFB in New Jersey in September of 1963. Since I grew up in NY City, I went home Friday evening on the 20th of September 1963. On my way to Corona, I stopped at the Village Voice in Greenwich Village to catch Nina Simone singing. I was alone and sat at a table. She came on stage and sang “Mississippi God Damn” for 45 minutes, alone, no band and got up and left the floor. Here is a video: https://youtu.be/LJ25-U3jNWM

Well, I really missed her singing and doing Jazz, so Sunday evening on the 22 of September, on the way back to McGuire I stopped at the Voice again to catch her midnight show. She walked out on stage and said” It’s midnight on Sunday night. The people here came to listen to some Jazz. Let’s do Jazz.” and she played for about an hour. Then I drove down to McGuire.

Medgar Evers was assassinated on June 12, 1963. You can read about him here:https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/media-jan-june02-evers_04-18

August 28, 1963

There was a march on Washington on this day in 1963. Many people attended and 200,000 people marched. Martin Luther King gave his “I have a Dream” speech and Bob Dylan sang at the Lincoln Memorial performing “When The Ship Comes In” with Joan Baez and “Only A Pawn In Their Game” solo before Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his remarkable speech. Check it out:

http://www.daysofthecrazy-wild.com/video-51-years-ago-bob-dylan-performed-march-was

https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/march-washington-jobs-and-freedom

1962

James Meredith wanted to attend the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford, Mississippi and the US Supreme Court ordered that he should be able to register there and get his degree there. But Ross Barnett, the Governor of Mississippi had segregationist ideals and conversations with both Jack and Bobby Kennedy could not get him to help them get Meredith registered. Here are a series of conversations you can read: http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/prestapes/a1.html

So, the Kennedys tried to get Meredith into Ole Miss, in Oxford, without violence but it didn’t work. Federal Marshalls took Meredith into the university grounds and two men were killed in the mellay.

Though President Kennedy and Governor Barnett talked several more times, the rioting in Oxford forced both men to do what they wanted most to avoid: Barnett had to step aside without his valiant last stand, and Kennedy had to storm Mississippi with U.S. Army troops. Still, James Meredith achieved his goal: on Monday morning, October 1, 1962, he walked across the smoldering, battered campus of Ole’ Miss and registered for classes.

Historians say that President John F. Kennedy simply did not understand the depth and ferocity of Southern racism. The President thought segregation was illogical, and that a cogent argument could make that clear to Ross Barnett. But the Kennedy-Barnett calls show how hard it is for two leaders to work out a problem on the phone if they don’t speak the same political language.

Bob Dylan recorded OXFORD TOWN on 6 December 1962 in response to the Mississippi riots. Check it out:

Oxford Town

Bob Dylan

Oxford town, Oxford town
Everybody’s got their heads bowed down
Sun don’t shine above the ground
Ain’t a-goin’ down to Oxford town

He went down to Oxford town
Guns and clubs followed him down
All because his face was brown
Better get away from Oxford town

Oxford town around the bend
Come to the door, he couldn’t get in
All because of the color of his skin
What do you think about that, my friend?

Me, my gal, and my gal’s son
We got met with a tear gas bomb
Don’t even know why we come
We’re goin’ back where we came from

Oxford town in the afternoon
Everybody’s singin’ a sorrowful tune
Two men died ‘neath the Mississippi moon
Somebody better investigate soon.

1955

Emmet Till was murdered in Money, Mississippi after he said something to a white woman Carolyn Bryant. Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Till

The lasting importance of the Till case was the remarkable political achievement of Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till Mobely, her friends and her allies, and the dozens of community organizations and institutions of Black Chicago that they were able to mobilize, to launch a huge national protest movement. What matters most about the men who tortured and murdered Emmett Till and the jury in Sumner who acquitted them is not their brutality or their short-lived victory, but instead what African American activists and their allies across the country were able to build from these outrages. The movement mobilized hundreds of thousands of people over the course of almost two years, raised an immense amount of civil rights money, including substantial startup funds for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and greatly expanded the size and strength of the NAACP. Mamie Till Mobley and her friends and allies brought together a national network of powerful organizations that became some of the most important support for Martin Luther King, Jr. and what became a national mass movement for Black citizenship and equality, which really did not exist prior to the Till case.

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