Can you tell me about it? I wasn’t there.
I am reading the media accounts. I am reading a lot about how people were anticipating something great. Something big. Something was about to happen.
Did it happen? Tell me about it.
Because what I am hearing is not shaking me at my core. Why did you march? What was the quality of your intent? The intent determines the results. What results did you hope to achieve?
Why did you march?
I wasn’t there. Should I have been? Why?
Why did you march?
I have heard a few reasons that make me wonder:
"To some extent, what you can expect to see is a rebirth of the civil rights movement," said Ki-Afi Moyo, organizer of Dallas-based Internet community "Tx Supports Jena Six," which filled 20 chartered buses for the trip to Louisiana. "The grassroots response to this has been phenomenal.”
The Rev Sharpton, who arrived at Jena's courthouse with members of the defendants' families, said it was "the beginning of the 21st century civil rights movement", one that would challenge imbalances in the US justice system.
"Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment."
Tina Cheatham missed the civil rights marches at Selma, Montgomery and Little Rock, but she had no intention of missing another brush with history. The 24-year-old Georgia Southern University graduate drove all night to reach tiny Jena in central Louisiana.
"It was a good chance to be part of something historic since I wasn't around for the civil rights movement. This is kind of the 21st century version of it," she said.
"I want my children to be part of history," said A.J. Walker, 33, a black police officer from Houston who took photographs of her two sons and daughter outside the high school. "I want to show them they have to stand for something."
“This morning I was crying … when we drove into Jena,” said Nadonya Muslim, 40, of Detroit. “I was thinking, we’re a part of history.”Why did *you* march?
Was to be part of history? Or was it to make history?
Did you march because you had to be there? Did you march because if this was beginning of the 21st century civil rights movement, then you couldn’t miss it?
Or did you march to *make it* the beginning of the 21st century civil rights movement?
Did you march so you can tell your grandchildren, “I was there?” Did you take a picture to prove you were there? Did it matter where “there” was?
I wasn’t there. That’s why I ask.
Did you have fun? Is that why you went? Was it hard? Was it easy?
Why aren’t you marching today?
Marching is a good thing. I wish I had marched. I didn’t.
If it seems like I am questioning why tens of thousands of people marched in Jena yesterday, I am. I am questioning them and challenging them to tell me why they marched. I want them speak and shake me at my core. I want the impact of their words to be shattering.
Tens of thousands of people at one march makes one impact on one day. Tens of thousands of people speaking tens of thousands of words in the tens of thousands of places, wherever they may be, makes tens of thousands of impacts.
Make that impact shattering.
Today I want to tell the city of Selma, (Tell them, Doctor) today I want to say to the state of Alabama, (Yes, sir) today I want to say to the people of America and the nations of the world, that we are not about to turn around. (Yes, sir) We are on the move now. (Yes, sir)Not long now.
Yes, we are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. (Yes, sir) We are on the move now. The burning of our churches will not deter us. (Yes, sir) The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. (Yes, sir) We are on the move now. (Yes, sir) The beating and killing of our clergymen and young people will not divert us. We are on the move now. (Yes, sir) The wanton release of their known murderers would not discourage us. We are on the move now. (Yes, sir) Like an idea whose time has come, (Yes, sir) not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. (Yes, sir) We are moving to the land of freedom. (Yes, sir)
Let us therefore continue our triumphant march (Uh huh) to the realization of the American dream. (Yes, sir) Let us march on segregated housing (Yes, sir) until every ghetto or social and economic depression dissolves, and Negroes and whites live side by side in decent, safe, and sanitary housing. (Yes, sir) Let us march on segregated schools (Let us march, Tell it) until every vestige of segregated and inferior education becomes a thing of the past, and Negroes and whites study side-by-side in the socially-healing context of the classroom.
Let us march on poverty (Let us march) until no American parent has to skip a meal so that their children may eat. (Yes, sir) March on poverty (Let us march) until no starved man walks the streets of our cities and towns (Yes, sir) in search of jobs that do not exist. (Yes, sir) Let us march on poverty (Let us march) until wrinkled stomachs in Mississippi are filled, (That's right) and the idle industries of Appalachia are realized and revitalized, and broken lives in sweltering ghettos are mended and remolded.
Let us march on ballot boxes, (Let's march) march on ballot boxes until race-baiters disappear from the political arena.
Let us march on ballot boxes until the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs (Yes, sir) will be transformed into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. (Speak, Doctor)
Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march) until the Wallaces of our nation tremble away in silence.
Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march) until we send to our city councils (Yes, sir), state legislatures, (Yes, sir) and the United States Congress, (Yes, sir) men who will not fear to do justly, love mercy, and
walk humbly with thy God.
Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march. March) until brotherhood becomes more than a meaningless word in an opening prayer, but the order of the day on every legislative agenda.
Let us march on ballot boxes (Yes) until all over Alabama God's children will be able to walk the earth in decency and honor.
There is nothing wrong with marching in this sense.
I know you are asking today, "How long will it take?" (Speak, sir) Somebody's asking, "How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?" Somebody's asking, "When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?" Somebody's asking, "When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against
the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, (Speak, speak, speak) plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, (Speak) and truth bear it?" (Yes, sir)
I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because "truth crushed to earth will rise again." (Yes, sir)
How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because "no lie can live forever." (Yes, sir)
How long? Not long, (All right. How long) because "you shall reap what you sow." (Yes, sir)
How long? (How long?) Not long: (Not long)
Truth forever on the scaffold, (Speak)
Wrong forever on the throne, (Yes, sir)
Yet that scaffold sways the future, (Yes, sir)
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above his own.
How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. (Yes, sir)
How long? Not long, (Not long) because:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; (Yes, sir)
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; (Yes)
He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword; (Yes, sir)
His truth is marching on. (Yes, sir)
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; (Speak, sir)
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat. (That's right)
O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on. (Yeah)
Glory, hallelujah! (Yes, sir) Glory, hallelujah! (All right)
Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on. [Applause]
I have to think that, of all the signs that may have been present at Selma is 1965, none of them were like this one at Jena in 2007:
FREE THE JENA 6 T-SHIRTS ON SALE HEREWhy did you march?