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Only the racist media cares about civil rights history

2013-08-29T14:01:45+00:00

I’m working this week in Birmingham, Alabama, where massive demonstrations in April 1963 using schoolchildren as footsoldiers helped force an end to segregation and bring about the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Back then, the population of Birmingham was 350,000, with a 60/40 white/black ratio. Today it is about 210,000 with a 25/75 white/black ratio. (The population has shrunk by 40 percent in 50 years, and most white people have fled.)

That said, everyone I have met this week is unfailingly welcoming and friendly. After spending  many years in large urban centers dodging groups of angry young black men, it’s refreshing to meet nice, normal black people with a good work ethic. Part of it is the “southern charm” of the South. Although Birmingham suffers from some of the same crime afflicting many larger Northern, Eastern and Western cities, and it’s the most dangerous place in Alabama, it still retains a lot of its down-home feel.

This week is the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” which took place August 28, 1963. It is where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

The media coverage of the 50th anniversary of the march has been nonstop. Every national news program, every national newspaper, every day this week, has featured multiple stories about it.

In Birmingham, one of the major focal points of the civil rights movement, no one talks about it. There is no endless wall-to-wall media coverage of it. People on the street don’t say anything about it. It’s just another day.

Apparently the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” is really important to racist white liberals in the media. But to the average person on the street, here in one of the birthplaces of the civil rights movement, it doesn’t really matter. People have their lives to lead in the here and now.

I think that’s interesting.

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