On December 1st, 1955 Sister Rosa Parks, a seamstress and secretary for the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, had a real long day and just like many who got off work, decided to wait for the bus to go home. When the bus approached, many of the white patrons of the mass transit system entered the bus to find a seat. Mrs. Parks took a seat in the first row for the colored section when some of the other white patrons tried to find a seat. The bus driver took the sign indicating that blacks move to the back of the bus to accommodate them. To Mrs. Park’s chagrin, there were no other seats left for her to move to and she was tired. As a brave and angry person who was tired of the racist Jim Crow segregation laws that divided blacks from whites, she refused to move. The bus driver asked her to move and she declined. Mrs. Parks was then arrested and booked for disorderly conduct. Just days before her courageous act, she reflected on teenager Emmett Till’s murder as well as the senseless murders of brave civil rights leaders like Lamar Smith, Gus Courts, and George W. Lee.
The Woman’s Political Council organized all night, a boycott that would eventually lead to a movement that ended the Jim-Crow era in the south. The WPC printed up over 35,000 handbills and distributed them throughout Montgomery. By that Sunday, all of the black churches in Montgomery decided to walk to work and not take the bus on Monday. It was a success. A new group would form called the Montgomery Improvement Association that would be headed by a new civil rights leader that changed the whole outlook on how blacks in the south and the country would organize freedom marches and protests. Dr. Martin Luther King was appointed to lead this association in order to protest the rights against desegregation and to hire blacks as drivers for the mass transit system in Montgomery.
Mrs. Parks was booked and charged with disorderly conduct paying a $10.00 fine and $4.00 in court costs. The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 381 days crippling the bus transit finances leaving some buses idle for months. Blacks took cabs, walked to work, and some even carpooled to work as the expense of equality and better rights.
Over the last two months the ‘so-called’ Occupy Wall Street movement has taken a crazy and unexpected turn over the last week. The movement was started by the Adbusters Foundation, whose anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters, decided to organize a friendly protest on the act of the latest travesties on Wall Street, the banking industry, and the unrest of corporate America as a whole as they treat the American worker. With the American people paying for the corporate corruption that’s transpired at Lehman Brothers and UBS, the Occupy Movement has developed and given the platform for “The 99%” political slogan that taken to the streets here in New York City as well as abroad. And to much success, the movement took off bringing together blacks, whites, democrats, republicans, libertarians, rich, poor, employed, and unemployed. Zuccotti Park, here in New York City, was the ideal place to begin this movement because of the location near Wall Street.
As weeks turned into months, health issues and being orderly became a issue as Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week as he evacuated the park last week. Protestors built makeshift tents and living quarters that provided them with 24 hour food service as well as heat and other amenities that made the event into a big media spectacle. While the protestors forgot that they were on private property and they violated many health codes and put some of our policeman in harms way.
Then last week, Brandon, a 19-year old Romanian-American protestor made the news headlines as he’s shown whisked way by New York’s finest. His head bloodied from the police who where instructed by the police and Mayor to arrest those who were disorderly. Many of these stories Brandon and others are sprouting out in the media from all over the U.S. Some have been documented by other protestors captured either on their smart phones or by video camera. Also, what the press isn’t covering is that, the county prosecutors here in New York City have over 4,000 cases of protesters that have been arrested, that they don’t have the manpower or staff to properly prosecute the protestors. Brandon, who had been arrested a month earlier for disorderly conduct at Zucotti Park, threw batteries at law enforcement officers while trying to maintain peace and protect law abiding Wall Street Protestors. Something the media tends to leave out!
Whether the police force has been excessive, that’s a matter of between the person(s) and the law. I’ll write about that in another weekly column. But. what I have a issue with is how this Occupy Wall Street Movement is missing the boat! I know, your probably thinking, why are for the one percent their protesting about? No, the bigger issue is what Dr. King and the civil rights movement took to break the Montgomery Bus Boycott. At 381 days strong, blacks in Montgomery sought to break the white business owners on how they survive. MONEY! Blacks of all the socio-economic sectors of the City of Montgomery took the militant stance of not supporting the mass transit until they were treated with respect and dignity. Also, at the expense of those willing to lose their jobs and livelihoods to make the Montgomery Mass Transit boycott bend on their knees.
Much of the black struggle during the Civil Rights Movement was made through the efforts of the black church, organizations like CORE and the NAACP, and support from the community who were on the same page. Yes, there was a price. Sister Rosa Parks lost her job and could never work in the Montgomery because the white employers instructed her to never mention or encourage blacks to organize. In fact, whites ran the Parks out of the city and even fell out with the NAACP. Blacks were bombed, lynched, spat on, and even humiliated; but through major triumphs like “Bloody Sunday” where Birmingham’s public safety commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor allowed the police department to turn police dogs on innocent black citizens as well as use fire hoses against the freedom fighters and peaceful demonstrators. Even when they used negative force against us, we never fought back and we respected the law. It was Dr. King’s method of ‘non-violence’ that got things done. Even up till his death when he fought for the sanitation workers rights in Memphis, Tennessee.
My solution to the Wall Street Movement is this. Do what 15,000 protestors did in Denver, Colorado. They withdrew their money from Bank of America due to the fact they were about add fees for withdrawing money from their banks! Those 15,000 people accounted for BOA for losing almost 100 million dollars in one city. They took their money to smaller banks and the people made a difference.
I refuse to support Wal Mart and Sam’s Club due to their decades of labor abuse accounts and how they’ve driven smaller businesses out of business. Wal Mart has had many discriminatory class-action lawsuits against them for lack of promoting women and minorities. I continue to not eat at Denny’s due their repeated actions for not hiring minorities. This is years later after they lost a multi-million dollar law suit for not serving people of color at many of their restaurants.
If the organizers of the Wall Street Movement would give a blueprint to the protestors of who they should boycott with our dollar, we wouldn’t have the Brandons’ acting out of anger for something we can do quietly like the Bank of America protestors in Denver. I agree along with many Americans that the one percent has gotten away with murder at our expense. But the tactics that are being used by the WSM isn’t as effective as those used by Dr. King and the many fearless civil rights leaders of the past. Take you money where it’s appreciated and respected. The problem is partially Wall Street’s but it is also how you’ve been suckered into spending money with them.
The Revolution Will Be Televised
The Pace Report