Monday, June 13, 2016

Freedom of Speech on Campus Editorial

Farewell For a Generation

The Fact of Democracy

There are no more words, no more programs, no more doctrines. The eloquence of this revolution was used up in the phrase "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." The great spokesmen of our movement have added poetry to truths and have decorated their syllables with hymns. But essentially there is no more to say - and no poetry left to express it.

The program began with the shot heard round the world, a solitary minute man and we had been living it out since. There are no more programs. There are the modern complexities - legal, sociological, political - but they are fragments - for the fact of democracy is the program of democracy. We know what we have to do. We know where and how the fight is to be thought. Essentially there can be no new plots and plans. There will be a history of deeds and schemes - but there has always been one.

The doctrine needs no renovation. The right is self-evident and critical. And it is right. In America we fight for it to be a vital right ; but, in one form or another it has always been with us. It is inalienable from our existence. To this doctrine one can only add pious reasons and spurious motivations. They will be tailored by friends as well as enemies; but they cannot obscure the indelible right.

An undeserved sobriety marks our actions today. We talk and we ponder. In some small way we commit ourselves. We think we have done something. We maintain one negro friend and wonder about the impression the race that she was made on foreign diplomats.

This is something less than a major accomplishment. The commitment was made the day we first called ourselves Americans and the great words have become cliches. Something more is needed. Something more than polemics and musings. We must constantly ask ourselves whether what we are doing is effective. Do not expect to add to the music of the movement, it has been done already - and better.

There is a way that is as easy as it is symbolic. But it is effective. Donate to the support of SNCC. Add time. Add sweat. Add crusading. Then there is accomplishment

Freedom and Justice Two Views

The Rights Revolution

Ridgely Sit-in February 1962 part 2

. Paw prints March 6th 1962
 Bob Gilbert, a junior at the College, accompany the 9 Ridgley Freedom Riders on their trip to Maryland last week. He brought with him a camera and an appreciation of the pathetic and the dramatic.

Looking over Bob's photographs last week, I was abruptly reminded of that tense and rapid-moving day when nine of us committed ourselves to an activist approach to the problem of civil rights.

One of the shortcomings of the trip was that we could rally only 9 people. We approached almost fifty leading campus "liberals" in an effort to stock a bus for the ride.

 There was  a full complement of pious excuses, which is to be expected when a perilous situation is posited - but there also was a surprising number of individuals who felt that it was "none of our business to go down there. They have problems of their own in Maryland."

The South has an ethical code and a folkways of its own. But it also shares our flag and our pride. The laws that bind us in New York, equally bind a Baltimore bigot . Cultural relativism may color our relations with Africa, but it cannot be used as a scapegoat for southern Injustice.

For the past 100 years we have tolerated Dixie home rule. We have said that southern ethos must be sophisticated by that region's own laws and own educational. We have, in effect, dichotomize the concept of freedom in America.

But autochthonous prejudice will never resolve itself naturally. We have granted the south of century to make its move, millions of negroes have grown up to a life of institutionalized subservience and ubiquitous extra-legal restraints. We cannot calcimine the North - and our own NAACP is presently planning a series of activists attacks on more subtle forms of bias here - but we must recognize that the position of the Negro in the South has institutionalized and hardened. Only some kind of active revolution, of which the freedom rides represent a sublimation, can destroy this creeping acculturation of the Negro.

Gilbert pictures highlight some of the main beliefs of the freedom ride experience. ( The term "freedom ride" is, incidently, a misnomer, a romanticized version of the real thing. The Maryland demonstrations or more accurately sit-ins, not concerned with interstate commerce).

One of the pictures portrays the unhappy plate of Bob Kaufman, a Trotsky ite socialist was taken off the freedom ride bus chartered by the Civic Interstate group in Baltimore. Kaufman, they said, represented an undesirable element, and the city cops were hailed to remove him.

To groups such as CORE, CIG, and the NAACP, constantly accused of subversion, the assistance of Socialist, Communist and other left-wing groups concerned with little concerned with civil liberties is consistently a sore spot. In removing Kaufman, they were doing exactly what they were fighting against; exclusion because of pre judgment.

Kaufman's crimes were rabble-rousing and handing out socialist pamphlets, a rather unfortunate and silly maneuver which most unthinking left-wing groups cling to. Someday they will realize that their nominal support is actually one of the greatest handicaps faced by civil liberties movements in the US. Still, there's nothing ethically wrong, despite a certain nonchalant about practicality.

Where to turn? There seems to be a great deal of sympathy for Kaufman, but no one appeared to take him seriously. Heis  said to be immature and loud. They got him off the bus - but they have not yet erased the problem. Another picture shows a line of negroes waiting for riders in Denton, the county seat of Caroline county Maryland, where we also held demonstration.

The rides are a big thing in these communities, negro children raised alongside the bus yelling "we like Freedom riders" As one CIG leader put it. "It's a big event around here. These people never had anything else to do in these small towns. They go shopping for kicks". The white community, on the other hand, is temperamental  and belligerent.It is difficult to believe that this is Maryland, north of the Mason-Dixon line and only a few hours from New York. One cannot accept the time-honored complaint against "Intruders from the north" here-- there are just too many racial insults in the air to make this legitimate.

. In Ridgely, on the other hand the little town where Queens College open to integration, the situation was somewhat different. Here we were accosted by an angry gang of hostile teenagers who used the racial slurs but we're mostly content with merely creating a row. At one store here a proprietor comma seeing us, said, "w
What's this ?One of them Freedom Rides ?why don't you go home.?"

The one Indescribable aspect of the occasion, which only a camera can catch, is the frenzied and hating expression that contorted face of most Maryland whites. Perhaps, in the long run these faces are the primary symbols of the whole desegregation fight.

Ridgely Sit-in February 1962 part 1.

.Queens College Phoenix, February 27th, 1962
Ridgely (Pop. 834) Receives Some Surprise Yankee Guests by Peter Wolff

Denton MD, Feb 24th - the nearby town of Ridgely got its first, unexpected Taste of non-violence Civil Rights Movement when a band of approximately 20 Freedom Riders descended upon it earlier today.

The tiny town, (pop. 834) situated in southeast section of Maryland, was obviously surprised by the demonstrations and retaliated with a series of stonings and muggings here in Denton.

 Nine of the Ridgley roders were from Queens College.

And angry name-calling game of use and younger men gathered spontaneously to meet the Riders and Ridgely, finally forcing A hurried exit by the integrated group of demonstrators.

 Ridgley is a quiet, minute community, whose main shopping center is concentrated on two blocks along the town's Main Street. Although the white gang that harassed of riders use racial slurs, it's activities were seen as primarily acts of hoodlumism.

The freedom ride and contingent organized by Baltimore's civic interest group [CIG] -included a carload of students from Wellesley, and three Negroes.

Gangs of local toughs began to collect spontaneously as the riders alighted from their cars and cross the Main Street.

There have been no previous attempts at desegregation at Ridgely, but the town is small and word spreads fast. Groups of angry racists began to collect in front of the three main segregated restaurants as the demonstrators approached.

A town Policeman was spotted at the demonstrations on set but was not seen again. Two state troopers watched the proceedings from a parked car.

Most of the shop owners lock their doors as soon as the integrated group appeared.

The tension reached a peak at a small luncheonette just off the main street. Here the two groups met head-on, almost fifty young local whites threatening to explode into violence at the slightest challenge. 

A negro group leader Frank McDougall, was violently jostled as he asked to be served at the door of the Luncheonette. 

Only the presence of the Maryland police prevented an out-and-out clash from developing.

In this instance, no legality was used to prevent the entrance of the demonstrators - the only barrier was the blockade created by Hefty local youths.

In most cases, sit-in demonstrations are "read out. " Under this procedure, the proprietary must read aloud the state's public accommodations act in the presence of a law enforcement officer.

The crowd continue to increase, however, and tempers were reaching a breaking point. Group leaders felt that any further tests of facilities would precipitate an eruption of open War. State policeman claimed that they could not remove the use, who showered the integrated group, well dressed and orderly by contrast, with shouts of "white trash", "white Tramps", and "n****** go home."

The showdown between the two groups occurred several minutes later after approximately seven local cars trailed the three carloads of Freedom Riders out of town. 

The car driven by Queens College is John McAward ran out of gas and was forced to stop at a service station in an isolated Farm area several miles out of Ridgely.

The three integrationist cars stopped at the station, but the State police car continued on to Denton.

Noticing that the police protection had disappeared, the Ridgely whites begin to hurl stones at the immobile cars. The owner of the service station refused to pull out the pump, created an immobile Target out of McAwards car.

As the youths departed from their autos  and prepared to circle the park riders,  the state police car returned, apparently recognizing The disappearance of its charges

The Freedom cars returnee to Denton without incident. They were, however Trail into Denton by one ridgley vehicle.

 In the evening , a gang of ridgely youths invaded Denton  and stoned and beat Mcdougall , one of the Negroes in charge of the Ridgley ride, as he picketed a movie theater. He was reportedly shaken but in good condition and not hospitalized. 

Denton, the county seat of Caroline County, CIG's primary target today, is one of the larger towns on the Eastern seaboard.

When the Queens College cars arrive here this afternoon, a large and hot-tempered group of about 300 white adults created a to block receiving line directly across the street from the town's largest restaurant.

Today is the first day of demonstrations in Denton. The lengthy queue of localities has created a national Gauntlet of verbal abuse and insulting assaults for the integrationists marching and picketing the major thoroughfare.

Until this evening, when McDougall and the movie-picketers were slugged, there had been a large amount of police protection here in anticipation of an outbreak of violence from the expanding mob.

Queens college students were "read out" of three restaurants in town, as picketing continued throughout today. Civic interest group organizers were stationed here at Bethel Church, in the town's negro sector. Other CiG groups went to the towns of Easton, Federalsburg, and Chestertown. The college group rested for a short time in Houston long enough for them to learn that one picket line of local Negroes had been jailed

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

The Genteel Tradition


Faggotism has usurped our literature for every Hemingway, Bellow, or Mark Harris, there exist a thousand Capotes, Ginsbergs, and Virginia Woolfs.

This turn of phrase is by far the most odious thing I have found  written by my dad  - including his later work --  but what a way to leave an impression!