Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 29, 2010

A is an Abolitionist—
A man who wants to free
The wretched slave—and give to all
An equal liberty.

Quote of the Day
Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Woody Allen

Image ...Warren Avenue, South End.

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 28, 2010

A selection of 20 photographs from the magazine, hosted by Twitpic.

Quote of the Day
If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
James Madison

Image ... Roofscape portfolio.

September 27, 2010

Image ... Shawmut Avenue, South End.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 26, 2010

Quote of the Day
There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Image ... Torso. Bay Village, Boston.

It's a Love Thing - The Whispers | Radio Roofscape

Check out Lucy Pearl's Don't Mess With My Man.

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 25, 2010

Quote of the Day
The harder I work, the luckier I get.
Samuel Goldwyn

Image ... Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Washington, 1964. The only time they met, and it was just for a few minutes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 23, 2010

Finished planting out the fall garden. Seeded fairly thickly to give the option of using early as micro-greens, since I'm planting so late in the season. All the tomatoes are gone. Brought back a bucket on the T. Now planted - lettuces, turnip greens, kales (Toscano and Russian Red, bew and existing), tarragon and oregano, existing), spinach, arugula, brocolli raab, collaeds (exisiting(, zucchini (existing).

The composters are overflowing. In addition to clearing all the beds, cut back the willow, grapes and ferns (to be used for the sunroom walls). My bike got stolen out of the garden. Very sad and troubling.

Quote of the Day
Better be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.

Image ... Three Characters. South End, Boston.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 22, 2010

Cleared, groomed and dug another D1 garden bed and planted with Toscano kale

Pruned willow back to stubby top branches off main trunk. C;eared area in back of garden, at end of main path, for woody plant materials. Dragged willow and grape there.

Quote of the Day
The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
P.J. O'Rourke

Image ... Hot peppers.

September 21, 2010

An afternoon in the garden. Turned, groomed and planted 4 beds -
lettuce - spinach
arugula - brocolli raab

Started clearing bed and paths by sunroom and pruning overgrown grapes back to the main vine. Started pruning willow by fence. Weeded paths. Picked up the barn patio area. Watered.

Finished The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. as the sun was setting and the full moon starting to rise. This was my second full reading. Took 16 days. Now going reread it in parallel with Parting the Waters.

Quote of the Day
If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.
H. G. Wells

Image ... Buddha of the City. Fortune teller's shop, the South End.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Quote of the Day
Let him that would move the world first move himself.

Image ... The Mansard Roof. Edward Hopper, 1923. The Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19, 2010

Quote of the Day
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
Hannah Arendt

Image ... Tracks along the Minuteman Bikeway. Bedford, Mass.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18, 2010

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Image ... Mural. Roxbury, Mass.

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17, 2010

Quote of the Day
The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.
Charles Kettering

Image ... Footbridge. Charles River Esplanade, Boston.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dr. King in Boston . 5

Continued from Dr. King in Boston . 4.

Personally, meanwhile, King was waging a concerted campaign to marry. Having decided upon a career in the ministry as a Baptist pastor, at least temporarily, he needed to get married. In the black church of the time, and even today, an unmarried pastor was unacceptable. Marriage was a must. The pastor's wife was considered a pillar of the church and a gurantee of the pastor's stability and good character. Ministry without marriage, and marriage without children, was unheard of.

Imperious Daddy King, intent on ML joining him after graduation and eventually succeeding him at Ebenezer, had been forcefully pressing the marriage issue for some time. His plan had been to match Martin with a suitable member of elite Negro society in Atlanta, but the many attempts had all gone awry.

King, although often in conflict with his father, felt a deep connection with his family. He frequently called home, collect, to chat for two or three hours, mostly with his mother, describing every detail of his days - including his dates. The pressure was on to find a wife, both from within and without.

Coretta Scott King - in a 2003 telephone interview with a Boston Globe reporter - described meeting an eager Martin - over the phone - after her number was slipped to him by a mutual friend.

The truth is, Martin and I met on the telephone.

He said, 'I like the way you talk, and I'd like to meet you.' We agreed to meet for lunch the next day at Sharaf's on Massachusetts Avenue, and he said, 'I usually make it in 10 minutes, but tomorrow, I'll make it in 7.'

On our first date he deliberately asked a question that had to do with capitalism versus communism. ... I remember I made an intelligent comment, and he said, 'Oh, I see you know something other than music.' I thought, of course I did. I was a graduate of Antioch College. I had thoughts of my own.

He said, You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a wife: intelligence, beauty, character, and personality. When can I see you again? I said I really didn't know because I had a tight schedule.

... he ways always trying to convince me I was it ... but I kept struggling with my own ambitions for a long time. I knew getting married would lead me away from performing and the direction I'd hoped to go.

We got married in 1953, and the rest is history. When I finally opened myself up to the relationship, I knew this was my direction.

To be continued.

Image ... Coretta Scott. Antioch College class photo.

September 16, 2010

Spectacular last days of summer. Perfect weather. Sunny but a low angled sun slipping toward the south and not too strong, warm but not too hot by day, cool but not cold at night. Halcyon days before the fall.

Working on my book Martin and Malcolm in Boston. It's about Martin Luther King's and Malcolm X's times in Boston.

Tomorrow and this weekend a major PR campaign in the South End to generate work. Craigslist already drew in one prospect, who I visited yesterday. Plus existing clients have some possible projects.

The scene above was in the display window of a short-lived second hand designer clothing store on Columbus Ave. in the South End. Evidently selling frocks, turbans, Manolos, beads and clutch purses to men didn't prove to be viable. Even in the South End. Go figure.

Quote of the Day
To be is to do.
Immanuel Kant

Image ... Model Citizen. South End, Boston.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010

Quote of the Day
Life is a long lesson in humility.
James M. Barrie

Image ... Holy Street. Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 14, 2010

Rebuilding our Twitpic account so that the cool new embedded portfolio feature in the Journal reflects the best of our photography and updates nicely as good new work comes along.

A day taking care of business and chores at home. Rain threatened but never arrived. Reading Dr. King's autobiography between tasks all day long. A constant inspiration. Did almost my whole long todo list, and have a jump on the remaining items.

Riding by Bournside Street today something rang a bell - that's where the 2005 Graveside Massacre took place. Checked, sure enough at #43. Called the Melville neighborhood of Fields Corner. A few blocks away in our generally peaceful Dot hood. If I recall correctly Rev. Eugene Rivers lives next door.

Checked the house out this morning. A large, handsome middle class Victorian opposite Town Field. The owner sold it and moved away soon after the shootings. Now me, I wouldn't go down in the cellar. I'm not superstitious - 'when you believe in things you don't understand - but a trauma like must linger, if not in one's imagination certainly. Sprays of fake red roses on the pillars of the porch flanking the steps.

Quote of the Day
Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.
Walter Benjamin

Image ...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 13, 2010

Quote of the Day
I think; therefore I am.
Rene Descartes

Image ... Jesus and dog. Uphams Corner, Dorchester.

September 12, 2010

This was the view stepping onto the deck outside our old office on Beacon Hill in Boston. This is where we conceived of Roofscape Magazine, this was the inspiration, looking out over the roofscape of the city. The building, sadly, was later sold. It was a fun place.

Our garden in the Fenway is still very productive. We're picking tomatoes (still loads), eggplant, zucchini, collard greens, kale, sorrel, basil, tarragon, dill and thyme. Cleaning out the beds and starting to replant with cool weather crops - arugula, broccoli raab, lettuce, mustard and turnip greens, plus more kale and collards.

Rebuilding the sunroom, expanding it somewhat and super-insulating the walls. So far it's produced a maximum solar gain of around 45°. This means that if it's freezing out, 32°, your sitting quite comfortably in the high 70's, 77°. The gain depends on the cloud cover and time of day of course, but on cloudless days, in the late morning and early afternoon, the winter sun in the south is always very strong and, low in the sky, slants straight into the sunroom with real power.

I'm going to move both composters and their contents to flank the sunroom on the east and west sides to provide additional protection. This will cover the closet window on the we west side, but that's all torn apart and never did much anyway. Then I'll insulate the backside of the closet, which backs up to the closet of Chy-chy's sunroom facing to the west. That will steal some, or maybe all, of her closet space, but it isn't really being used anyway.

Then I'll keep insulating the top of the walls and over the closet. Finally the canopy, a new double layer of heavy translucent plastic sheeting over metal garden fencing. Need to find a new beam to support it, spanning between the walls, anchored to the fence posts at the back of the walls, something long and strong. Then infill inside with insulation and at the back outside where it rests on the walls.

Cutting down the fern brake to stuff the walls. They're all sunblasted, dry and withered, ideal insulation. This will also let me (try to) dig out the tenacious multiflora rose again, which springs eternal, trying to take over the bed once more. And maybe get rid of some bindweed and other noxious invaders.

It will be good to have the sunroom back. Sat in it yesterday and it felt wonderful. It's a simple passive solar technology that allows the garden to be experienced and enjoyed year around. It's the perfect place to write and read with lots of light. You feel enveloped in warmth, even with snow on the ground and the north wind raging. The insulating and non-infiltrating of air also make it a comfortable place in many cloudy or partly cloudy conditions - the walls are 18" thick with layers of plastic sheeting between the insulating materials.

The floor is made of wood chips. The walls all used to be chips too, but the supply has disappeared. Hence using ferns, grape vines and partly broken down compost in the main section and compost materials in all stages in the two wings, which will now be the garden's composters in fact.

The closet is a nice feature and it's proven to be fairly weatherproof. It holds all sorts of conveniences - blankets, jackets, changes of clothing, books, water bottles and waterproof seed storage cans. The closet door is the serves as the backboard, so it's open when in use which is why I want the closet better insulated. It's nice to have all this stuff on hand when needed and not get caught out or have to lug it all back and forth (my commute is now around 45 minutes - and that's in good weather).

Radio Roofscape reached 1,000 listeners overnight with a poetry set leading off with Dylan Thomas wonderfully reading his poem Fern Hill.

Continuing to read The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr, from which the entry below excerpts Letter from Birmingham Jail. It's such an inspiring work, and especially Letter. I carry it with me all the time, giving it a slow, close and careful read through. Of course it's completely marked up.

Freddie was picking vegetables in the garden yesterday afternoon when I arrived in the garden after work. Biking over to see Charles today and get some of my tools back, then continue downtown.

Image ... Roof deck. Beaver Place, Boston.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Letter from Birmingham Jail

April 16, 1963
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King's 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' is certainly one of the founding American documents - the founding of the country having been far from complete at the time he composed it. Or perhaps he might say as an elder statesman, even to this day.

'The Letter' is a remarkable work, the reading of which is its own reward. The precision of his logic, the passion of his arguements and the quality of the writing are of the highest order and possibly his best work. The enforced free time - of which he otherwise had virtually none - allowed him to write a masterpiece.

An important point to understand about Dr. King is that he was first of all a professionally trained philosopher. After being raised in the fundamentalist Baptist church of his father, he studied philosophy, religion and the philosophy of religion at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary and Boston University. This letter dates from 8 years after receiving his doctorate in systematic theology from B.U.

King describes the writing of 'The Letter' below, in jail for violating an "unjust, undemocratic and unconstitutional" state circuit court injunction against protests. This act of civil disobedience was the first time that the civil rights movements he led had defied a court order.

500 fellow protesters had been arrested and 300 remained in prison. Martin, then 34 years old, was arrested and held incommunicado in solitary confinement,"the longest, most frustrating and bewildering hours I have lived", but "standing at the center of all that my life had brought me to be."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This response to a published statement by eight fellow clergymen from Alabama (Bishop C. C. J. Carpenter, Bishop Joseph A. Durick, Rabbi Hilton L. Grafman, Bishop Paul Hardin, Bishop Holan B. Harmon, the Reverend George M. Murray. the Reverend Edward V. Ramage and the Reverend Earl Stallings) was composed under somewhat constricting circumstance. Begun on the margins of the newspaper in which the statement appeared while I was in jail, the letter was continued on scraps of writing paper supplied by a friendly Negro trusty, and concluded on a pad my attorneys were eventually permitted to leave me. Although the text remains in substance unaltered, I have indulged in the author's prerogative of polishing it for publication.


While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here In Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants --- for example, to remove the stores humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained.

As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self-purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves : "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct-action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic withdrawal program would be the by-product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoralty election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run-off we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run-off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct-action program could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken .in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor. will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness" then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may want to ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all"

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I-it" relationship for an "I-thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and awful. Paul Tillich said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression 'of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to ace the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fan in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.

I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this 'hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At fist I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self-respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best-known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do-nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle.

If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble-rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black-nationalist ideologies a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides--and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist.

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ..." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime---the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some---such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle---have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach-infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation.

Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a non segregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative .critics who can always find. something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of Rio shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leader era; an too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious. irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, on Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious-education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? l am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great-grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators"' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide. and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Par from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it vi lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ecclesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom, They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jai with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.

I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham, ham and all over the nation, because the goal of America k freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation-and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.

Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handing the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

I wish you had commended the Negro sit-inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. There will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. There will be the old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two-year-old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." There will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11, 2010

Quote of the Day
I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan

Image ... Wildfire.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 10, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court
Memoirs v. Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413 (1966)

A Book Named "John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure"

v. Attorney General of Massachusetts

No. 368

Argued December 7-8, 1965

Decided March 21, 1966

383 U.S. 413


Appellee, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, brought this civil equity action for an adjudication of obscenity of Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill), and appellant publisher intervened. Following a hearing, including expert testimony and other evidence, assessing the book's character but not the mode of distribution, the trial court decreed the book obscene and not entitled to the protection of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that a patently offensive book which appeals to prurient interest need not be unqualifiedly worthless before it can be deemed obscene.

Held: The judgment is reversed. Pp. 383 U. S. 415-433.

349 Mass. 69, 206 N.E.2d 403, reversed.


1. Under the test in Roth v. United States, 354 U. S. 476, as elaborated in subsequent cases, each of three elements must independently be satisfied before a book can be held obscene: (a) the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex; (b) the material is patently offensive because it affronts contemporary community standards relating to the description or representation of sexual matters, and (c) the material is utterly without redeeming social value. P. 383 U. S. 418.

2. Since a book cannot be proscribed as obscene unless found to be utterly without redeeming social value, the Supreme Judicial Court erroneously interpreted the federal constitutional standard. Pp. 383 U. S. 419-420.

3. On the premise, not assessed here, that it has the requisite prurient appeal, is patently offensive, and has only a modicum of social importance, evidence of commercial exploitation of the book for the sake of prurient appeal to the exclusion of all other values

Page 383 U. S. 414

might in different proceeding justify the conclusion that the publication and distribution of Memoirs was not constitutionally protected. Ginzburg v. United States, post, p. 383 U. S. 463. Pp. 383 U. S. 420-421.

MR. JUSTICE BLACK and MR. JUSTICE STEWART concur in the reversal for the reasons given in their respective dissenting opinions in Ginzburg v. United States, post, p. 383 U. S. 476 and p. 383 U. S. 497 and Mishkin v. New York, post, p. 383 U. S. 515 and p. 383 U. S. 518. P. 383 U. S. 421.

MR JUSTICE DOUGLAS concluded that:

1. Since the First Amendment forbids censorship of expression of ideas not linked with illegal action, Fanny Hill cannot be proscribed. Pp. 383 U. S. 426; 383 U. S. 427-433.

2. Even under the prevailing view of the Roth test the book cannot be held to be obscene in view of substantial evidence showing that it has literary, historical, and social importance. P. 383 U. S. 426.

3. Since there is no power under the First Amendment to control mere expression, the manner in which a book that concededly has social worth is advertised and sold is irrelevant. P. 383 U. S. 427.

4. There is no basis in history for the view expressed in Roth that "obscene" speech is "outside" the protection of the First Amendment. Pp. 383 U. S. 428-431.

5. No interest of society justifies overriding the guarantees of free speech and press and establishing a regime of censorship. Pp. 383 U. S. 431-433.

Quote of the Day
The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation.
Jacob Bronowski

I think this quote works very well with the image above, taken from an illustrated edition of Fanny Hill. It remains a timelessly hot, thoroughly salacious read. But with respect to what passes for ponography nowadays it's probably pretty tame and innocent fun.

Image ... Fanny emboldens William.

September 9, 2010

Quote of the Day
It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.
Tom Brokaw

Image ... The field at Fenway Park.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010

This is the last of the photographs of the Vietnamese flower shop (Brenda's) across from St. Kevin's church on Dot Ave. I like the way the interior and exterior, inside and outside, are brought together, combined and compressed into a single plane.

Quote of the Day
Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.
Bobby Knight

Vietnamese Flower Shop. Dorchester, Mass.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 7, 2010

Quote of the Day
Not admitting a mistake is a bigger mistake.
Robert Half

Image ... Sling chair. SOWA, Boston.

September 6, 2010

Quote of the Day
Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time.
Arnold H. Glasow

Image ... Power Station. South End, Boston.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5, 2010

Quote of the Day
The maxims of men reveal their characters.
Luc de Clapier

Image ... Puddinstone wall.

Friday, September 3, 2010

September 3, 2010

Out over the central Atlantic, just before another spectacular sunset, with the spiral bands of Hurricane Earl visible in the setting sun. An interesting view of the life-giving energy of our sun. The solar arrays on the port side of the Space Station as well as Hurricane Earl…both gathering the last bit of energy before they fall into eclipse.
Astronaut Douglas H. Wheelock.

Image ... Hurricane Earl at sunset from space.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 2, 2010

Quote of the Day
The precondition to freedom is security.
Rand Beers

Image ... The Wave. William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1896.