Tag Archives: MLK

Too Respectable to Fight?: Why I Am Not Surprised that Derrick Johnson, Chokwe Lumumba, Myrlie Evers Did Not Take The Fight to Donald Trump at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

There is no other way for me to say this; I have tired of dignified black leaders. To be honest with you my list of dignified leaders that I have tired of reads like a who’s who of the modern Civil Rights Movement. This list of far too dignified black leaders includes the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, Barack Obama, and after allowing Donald Trump to bring his vaudeville show to their environs with minimal interference, I must include every purported black leader within the state of Mississippi.

Although many consider the respectability politics that serve as a thin-veil over what any courageous people would recognize as cowardice, there is no doubt that today’s black leaders routinely seek an escape route from political fights and cultural wars. When examined in its totality, black leaders avoid direct public conflict with whites “by any means necessary.” However, even a cursory examination of recent history proves that it is only black leaders who are devoted cowards.

I am confident that you remember the blatant disrespect that President Barack Obama routinely experienced at the hand of whites behaving as if they were raised by wolves. Let us not forget that such treatment aimed at black men possessing some semblance of power as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., suffered similar treatment on a routine basis, not even MLK’s application of a forgiving and long-suffering Christian ethos protected him from white bigots.

Although I am certain that this determination to not address whites in the midst of their most inappropriate moments may have begun as an attempt for black leaders to “not show their color.” However, after watching this sordid saga occur to black leaders throughout this nation’s existence, such avoidance of conflict has transitioned from an act to remain above the public moments of disrespect into the realm of cowardice; one can rest assured that angry whites recognize this fact. One has to wonder if none of these black leaders are capable of channeling the spirit of Frederick Douglass who courageously advised our kind that “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

The latest moment of white folk disrespecting not only contemporary Black America but also our ancestors who miraculously were able to “make a way out of no way” is the appearance of Donald Trump in Jackson, Mississippi, to deliver a speech at the new Civil Rights Museum. Now I fully understand that it was Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant who extended the invitation and there was little that the black community could do about Trump’s appearance. However, one has to wonder why none of the leading Civil Rights leaders in that city, let us not forget that Jackson, Mississippi, the location of the Museum, has an African-American mayor, did not use their political clout to deliver a message inside of that venue in Trump’s presence?

Make no mistake about it, moments such as this one are wasted opportunities to strike a blow for black liberation that would make both our ancestors and future generations of Black America proud. It is time that black leaders abandon their respectability politics and begin channeling the spirit of Malcolm X who admonished Black America over a half-century ago that they “make it hard on themselves when they go around that white man with those sweet words. No! Tell that man exactly how you feel.”

Instead of taking the fight to a figure like Trump who has spent his entire life opposing Civil Rights and one could argue the right for black people to exist on planet Earth with even a modicum of dignity, black leaders adorn themselves with a cloak of cowardice also known as ‘respectability politics’ and rationalize that this is not a good time to address racial matters in the presence of whites. I am here to tell you that there is no better time to address those whites who routinely execute devious plans and public statements that rally a bigoted base to double-down on their attacks on Black America than the present. It angers me that white bigots and the conservative Sambos that dance to their tune never measure if the time is right to demean, disrespect, and exterminate our kind.

It is this failure to take the fight to these avowed enemies, meaning white conservatives and their black Sambo lackeys, at every turn that causes me to express my righteous indignation at the black demonstrators who stood outside of the venue protesting, a location that guaranteed that they could be easily ignored, and Derrick Johnson, the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Chokwe Lumumba, the Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, and Myrie Evers, the wife of Civil Rights stalwart Medgar Evers.

I have no problem with saying that each of these figures displayed copious amounts of cowardice that they couched in typical respectability politics. Johnson and Lumumba were not even on location, choosing to have a “news conference” a safe distance away from where the action was occurring. While Myrlie Evers was inside of the room listening to Trump fumble and stumble through a prepared 10-minute speech that amounted to absolutely nothing.

It appears that black folk in general, and our so-called leaders in particular, are afraid of “white folk power.” One thing is certain, if the tables were turned, there is not a single racial/ethnic group in America — white, Jewish, Japanese, Mexican, or Chinese — who would have behaved like good little children while an African-American President who demeaned their kind at every turn appeared to address them about matters that his entire being and financial resources have been used to oppose.

It is befuddling that the most significant resistance that Black Mississippi could muster was a statement from Myrlie Evers who broke an earlier promise to directly address Trump in her comments by offering the following. Regardless of race, creed or color, we are all Americans. … If Mississippi can rise to the occasion, then the rest of the country should be able to do the same thing.

Anyone interested in the liberation of black folk has to be left scratching their heads at the antics of so-called black leaders. Where is their anger? Where is the impulse to attack this enemy at every turn? Judging by the actions of our leaders we have not had our fill of white oppression yet. Now what it will take to get us to that point; only the Lord knows. At least we didn’t “show our color” on national television.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

What John Conyers Fall From Grace Reveals About Charismatic Centralized Leadership to Black America

When one considers the manner that U.S. Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-Detroit) political career that extends beyond fifty-years ended, feelings of sadness and disappointment naturally arise within Black America. The alluded to feelings are in many ways applause for the phenomenal work that Conyers performed during his time as a U.S. Congressman in what could be appropriately termed a lily-white Congress. If nothing else, Conyers must be applauded for his willingness to “speak truth to power” in one of the least racially representative locations known to humanity.

Despite what can only be termed a risqué cloud of sexually based accusations surrounding Conyers’ resignation, anyone familiar with his congressional work is aware that it was Representative Conyers that championed civil rights and social justice like none other. When other members of the Congressional Black Caucus displayed a lack of courage in regards to contentious racial matters, it was Conyers that Black America could count on to resist political attacks from white opponents regarding matters such as unfair mandatory sentencing guidelines that threatened to put black men, women, and children behind bars for lengthy prison sentences. For many, there was much comfort found in knowing that Representative Conyers was on the job 24/7.

There is no doubt that it is Conyers public greatness that makes his fall even more difficult to accept for politically astute African-Americans. However, this situation is yet another reminder for Black America that it is a risky prospect to put all of one’s faith in our political or religious leaders as if they are some type of deity sent to save us from an angry white horde determined to end our existence. I take no pride in saying that we have seen this theatrical tragedy before and most likely will see it again.

When one considers the list of well-known black politicians (Jesse Jackson, Ray Nagin, Jesse Jackson Jr., Kwame Kilpatrick, Marion Berry) who have suffered an all too public and disgraceful fall from grace, it reminds us of something that we already knew, the charisma that seemingly drips from these men in no way cancels the reality that they never ceased to be highly flawed mortal beings. If nothing else, each of their falls from grace should cause African-American activists to re-evaluate the charismatic centralized leadership construct that we have applied to our peculiar plight in America. History has once again proven that the idea of Black America being successfully guided around the tripwires and snares that have curtailed our freedom since the settling of the Jamestown colony is a foolhardy perspective that invariably ends in copious amounts of disappointment.

Conyers fall from grace returns Black America to an all too familiar position of Where Do We Go From Here? Even a cursory examination of African-American history proves that the charismatic centralized leadership model invariably ends in failure and disappointment for all adherents. Most disappointing of all is that not even an easily accessible historical record has caused black activists to abandon figures such as John Conyers, Umar Johnson, Kwame Kilpatrick, or Jesse Jackson.

In many ways, it appears that Civil Rights organizer Ella Baker was correct in her warnings regarding the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the centralized leadership model that plagued the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Baker not only questioned what would become of SCLC if Dr. King were killed but also offered an alternative decentralized leadership structure that would allow an organization/movement to continue in the wake of a charismatic leader being removed for whatever reason.

If it can be said that politics begin locally, it can also be said that the heaviest portions of racial uplift must occur at the most local of levels; that being, in the realm of personal responsibility. If Conyers fall from grace teaches us nothing else, I pray that it impresses on individuals within our community that it is they, not John Conyers, Umar Johnson, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, Louis Farrakhan, or any other national-level political spokesperson who is ultimately responsible for their plight. The time has come for African-Americans on an individual basis to seize the time and take control of their own fortunes and realize that if the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, our community needs them to dedicate themselves to not being that weakest link in regards to education, political acumen, social graces, and entrepreneurial/economic/business endeavors. We can not afford inefficiency in any shape, form, or fashion. One thing is for certain, John Conyers fall from grace definitively proves once again that even notable political figures have their hands full managing their own lives and therefore little time to help you with your unique issues; that job is yours.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017


Far too often, we find the explanation that we so desperately seek for contemporary issues in the experiences of those who have come before us. The current pessimism of so many African-Americans in regards to America is such an occasion.

Encouraged by an understandably limited vision clouded by many blind spots regarding racial matters, the white community continues to ask the centuries-old query of, “Why are blacks so angry?” In yet another example of why it is so important to read everything that you can get your hands on, the most lucid explanation for African-American anger comes from what many would consider one of the least likely sources; the dreamer, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Unfortunately for the sake of racial reconciliation, the path to seizing a solid understanding of “Why are blacks so angry?” requires the white community to do the impossible, forgetting everything they think that they know about both Black America and American racial matters. Until such a Herculean task is accomplished whites will never be prepared to understand an African-American viewpoint of America that vacillates between skepticism and a growing sometimes uncontrollable hatred.

Experience has taught me that most Americans are either historically illiterate or tend to forget historical occurrences that conflict with the worldview they desire. These realities sit at the core of white America’s view of current race relations, particularly their tendency to advise African-Americans of the path that their ancestors traveled to first-class citizenship and access to the American dream. Despite whites most fervent attempts to restructure the historical record, according to Dr. King, African-Americans did their absolute best to integrate with an overtly hostile America during the highly contentious Civil Rights Movement. According to King,

Negroes of America had taken the President, the press and the pulpit at their word when they spoke in broad terms of freedom and justice . . . The word was broken, and the free-running expectations of the Negro crashed into the stone walls of white resistance.

In many ways, African-Americans foremost gripe regarding America is found in its failure to in the words of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass to “leave the Negro alone” as he diligently attempted to work toward the elusive American dream. It was whites inability in both the private and public sector to “leave the Negro alone” that birthed frustrations, despair, and disappointment among a population of individuals who placed their hope in the myth of meritocracy, the belief that if you worked hard enough, the American dream would eventually be achieved.

It was the alluded to rising frustrations during the Civil Rights Movement that made the adoption of Black Power politics by African-American activists not only predictable but also totally understandable for reasonable minded people.

It is within the context of rising racial tensions that Dr. King reminded his white contemporaries that the arrival of Black Powerites was directly attributable to America breaking its vaunted promises. According to King,

Many of the young people proclaiming Black Power today were but yesterday the devotees of black-white cooperation and nonviolent direct action.… If they are America’s angry children today, this anger is not congenital. It is a response to the feeling that a real solution is hopelessly distant because of the inconsistencies, resistance, and faintheartedness of those in power.

Disappointment produces despair and despair produces bitterness, and that the one thing certain about bitterness is its blindness…When some members of the dominant group, particularly those in power, are racist in attitude and practice, bitterness accuses the whole group.

This continuous pattern of America breaking its promises regarding what many believed to be basic principles led to the continuing pleas of moderate Civil Rights Leaders for a continuation of patience falling upon deaf ears. James Robert Ross comments on this unfortunate position when he remarks that

Each time the black people in those cities saw Dr. Martin Luther King get slapped they became angry, when they saw little black girls get bombed to death in a church and civil rights workers abused and murdered they were angrier; and when nothing happened, they were steaming mad. We [Civil Rights Leaders] had nothing to offer that they could see. Except to go out and be beaten again.

It is most certainly not a stretch to attribute much of the past and present anger within Black America, particularly among males, to frustrations regarding their lack of access to much-ballyhooed American principles and Horatio Alger stories. Make no mistake about it, the referenced anger is a logical by-product of the broken promises that have undergirded the black experience in America. White America should not look for the cessation of such emotions until the path to freedom and justice is cleared of unnecessary obstacles and they take Douglass’ advice and “leave the Negro alone” when they see him progressing forward.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017


Why it is Imperative that African-Americans View James Baldwin’s “I Am Not Your Negro”

I remember the rather sharp exchange with one of my student’s as if it occurred yesterday. We had gotten into an intellectual altercation regarding what exactly made one BLACK. Her assertion was that there were a million ways to be BLACK, so it was, therefore, impossible to either validate or invalidate an individual’s blackness. I vehemently disagreed with her assertion.

A crucial aspect of my position revolved around the fact that if blackness was not biologically based, it must, therefore, be a politically useful social construct found in the minds, worldview, political perspectives and priorities. Put simply; I fervently believe that Race was created to provide whites an opportunity to efficiently cast aside non-whites as they moved to monopolize and then maintain those monopolies over every resource imaginable. I argued that since blackness is a state of mind that grows out of 400 years of experience on the North American continent, there must be something beyond the oppression that we have received at the hands of whites that glues my people together. From my perspective, I believe that the “something beyond the oppression that we have received at the hands of whites” is the intellectual tradition and worldview that we have developed as a result of our collective struggle against American racism. Considering such realities, I call into question not only this particular student’s blackness, but also all African-Americans blackness if they have never studied our great intellectuals who have dedicated their lives to examining, deconstructing, and then destroying socially constructed racial paradigms.

For my money, the leading social critic that Black America has ever created is our dear brother James Baldwin. Considering that I was desperately seeking to end the conflict mentioned above with this particular student, I went for the knockout blow by informing her that “If you haven’t read Baldwin, you are not only unqualified to discuss American race relations, but also unworthy of being considered an educated black person.” Although many may find such a broad statement unfair, it nonetheless reflects my perspective on the poignant writings and social commentary that James Baldwin delivered to an undeserving world.

Much of my intellectual life has been spent lamenting the woes of people whose uninformed perspectives regarding American racial matters would disappear “If only they would read Baldwin.”

So I am confident that you understand my exuberance at hearing Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck had taken on the task of fleshing out an aborted Baldwin project titled “Remember This House.” A house that Baldwin famously stated was burning and therefore Negroes should not seek to integrate into it. Peck’s vision of this project is now in American theaters as the documentary “I am not your Negro.”

Baldwin only wrote thirty pages on a project that was to be his personal account of the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and what it revealed about the nation. Raoul Peck has not only succeeded in bringing “Remember This House” relatively brief sketch to the big screen but also delivered Baldwin’s genius to a new generation of Americans.

One of my consistent critiques of contemporary activists and so-called black leaders is their laziness in regards to engaging the writings of intellectual giants such as W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Marcus Garvey, and Huey P. Newton. Unfortunately, it appears that the unprecedented accessibility of information attributable to the internet, the majority of it not being well-researched, has caused an incurable laziness among the heirs to a rich African-American historical and activist legacy. However, recent experience has taught me that if a workable plan to liberate African-Americans if placed within the covers of a book, the vast majority of our people will never encounter it. They want their information not only to be entertaining but also requiring minimal effort on their part.

It is for this reason that I applaud Raoul Peck for bringing this brilliant documentary to the big screen as it removes all obstacles to African-Americans who have never encountered the unparalleled genius of the intellectual giant that was James Baldwin.

I am not your Negro is a film that you MUST go out and see for your intellectual benefit.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017


Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence — The Speech that Got Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Assassinated by the U.S. Government

The following speech was delivered on April 4, 1967. Exactly one year before Dr. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. Coincidence?

 “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation.
Tonight, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:
O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath– America will be!
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America‘s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.”
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept–so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force–has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:
Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.
We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.”
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
We must move past indecision to action.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful–struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:
Once to every man and nation Comes the moment to decide, In the strife of truth and falsehood, For the good or evil side; Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, Off’ring each the bloom or blight, And the choice goes by forever Twixt that darkness and that light. Though the cause of evil prosper, Yet ’tis truth alone is strong; Though her portion be the scaffold, And upon the throne be wrong: Yet that scaffold sways the future, And behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow Keeping watch above his own.

Dr. Martin Luther King 4/4/67 (Riverside Church)