Legacies of C.T. Vivian and John Lewis Secured While Ruling Class Promotes Revisionist History

Nashville Mayor West With C T Vivian And Diane Nash In
Nashville Mayor West With C T Vivian And Diane Nash


Democratic Party establishment distorts the actual developments of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements

Two luminaries in the African American struggle which emerged during the 1950s and 1960s, Rev. C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis, passed away on July 17.

Both figures played a prominent role in the efforts to destroy legalized segregation, commonly referred to as Jim Crow, through nonviolent direct action, mass mobilizations and electoral politics.

Nonetheless, since the 1960s, the corporate media and other elements within the capitalist ruling class including the leaderships of the Democratic and Republican parties have never been able to come to grips with the rapid social changes brought about by the political intervention of oppressed peoples. Many contend that the victories surrounding the desegregation of retail outlets, educational institutions, residential areas and access to the franchise would have never occurred if not for the benevolent and perhaps enlightened support of liberals within the Democratic Party.

Former United States Senator and two-time unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2008 and 2016, Hillary Clinton, said as much during her first race to win the nomination when the-then Democratic Senator Barack Obama decisively won the primaries to go on to be elected for two terms. Clinton asserted that if former President Lyndon B. Johnson had not been in office, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would not have passed in the Congress.

Advancing such notions is tantamount to robbing the masses of their own history. It was the African American people themselves who initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56, representing a turning point in the quest for equality and self-determination since the conclusion of the Civil War.

The Montgomery Women’s Political Council under the leadership of organizers such as Mary Fair Burks, Jo Ann Robinson, Irene West, Thelma Glass, and Uretta Adair, printed flyers and made telephone calls leading up to the beginning of the boycott on December 1955. The boycott was prompted by the arrest of Mrs. Rosa L. Parks, a seamstress and veteran activist in various struggles involving civil rights and labor organizing. Parks was arrested on December 1 after refusing to give up her seat in the segregated section of a city bus to a white man. Parks was charged with violating the segregation laws of Alabama. (https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/womens-political-council-wpc-montgomery)

In a matter of days, a young minister recently out of graduate school in Boston, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was catapulted into national and international prominence after the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) unanimously selected him as the spokesperson for the Black community during the boycott. The homes of King and a neighbor of Parks, Lutheran Minister Rev. Robert Graetz (a white pastor sympathetic to civil rights), were bombed by racists during the boycott, signaling the intransigent resistance to the advancement of African Americans which has continued well into the 21st century. (https://www.alabamawx.com/?p=170388)

From Freedom Now to Black Power ….

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