Black History

Coretta Scott King, wearing hat and gloves, and her four children view the body of her husband, slain civil rights activist leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in Atlanta, Ga., on April 7, 1968.  The children are, from left, Yolanda, 12, Bernice, 5, Martin III, 11, and Dexter 7.  Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4.  Other members in the photograph are not identified.  (AP Photo)

Between January 2014 and October 2015 nearly 19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq, according to a United Nations report. Another 36,000 were wounded and 3.2 million were internally displaced, including one million school aged children. None of this screams peace and brotherhood.

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Cuba was ruled by a dictator in the 1950’s, his name was Batista. John F. Kennedy once charged that Batista murdered 20,000 Cubans and turned a Democratic Cuba into a police state, all with the United States supporting his “reign of terror.” The U.S was particularly fond of Batista because in the 1950’s, as Kennedy pointed out, “U.S. companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands

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“I don’t like to predict violence, but if nothing is done between now and June to raise ghetto hope, I feel this summer will not only be as bad but worse than last year.”

Those were Dr. King’s words in March 1968. That summer, his prediction materialized as Baltimoreans, frustrated with poor housing, unemployment and discrimination took to the streets.

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If honest, some black people find it difficult to fully embrace all the national holidays the country holds so dear. Memorial Day, however, stands as a shining exception. It is an example of how the darkest of human sentiments and bitter realities can be redeemed by the souls of black folk.