Thursday, March 15, 2012

Existing in New York City: With Alabama on My Mind

Foto tgw, New York City, March 2012
Note: The dumbass Hollywood actor, George Clooney, got to have a meeting today with President Obama--where they discussed the Sudan problem--Let's see one of us get a meeting with the President--why do our actors have so much power?--could it be because they are multimillionaires? Wonder how much taxes George Clooney pays compared to the average dumbass US citizen? I also see where New York States dumbass (ex-Gov's son his only qualification for being governor), Andrew Cuomo says cutting government employees pension funds is the only way to save the state from bankruptcy--oh how nice it would be if we were all millionaires--why, we could have been if we'd gotten the 14 trillion dollar bailout the absolutely crooked banks got--check out the ex-Goldman-Sachs big-buck VP's revelation this week on just what Goldman-Sachs pirates think about their customers. What a jive ass bunch of turkeys--we should whack 'em all and have a real Thanksgiving Feast.
Hot Damn, Rick Santorum for President
Yahoo! Rick Santorum just scored big in the backward states of Mississippi and Alabama. Little Rickie whacked his main rivals, Mitt "The Mormon" Romney and Newtie "Fat Ass" Gingrich, all three men fools; yet those Yahoos down South love Little Rickie. He's their favorite fool. I assume all Repugnican votes Down South are White votes. I can't imagine a Black person in Mississippi or Alabama being a Republican. And anyway, aren't the majority of folks in those states Black? And, too, doesn't Karl Rove live in Alabama?

All those little White southern belle gals must love Little Rickie. "He's so darn handsome. Why, I dream at night of a man that handsome sweepin' me off my little dainty feet. And, you know, by golly, I bet he'd make a charmin', anything to git that knee-grow out of the White Man's House."

Yes, folks, you be assured that any Republican in Mississippi or Alabama is a racist. Rick Santorum is certainly a full-blown racist. I don't think he'd argue with you about that. I mean, come on, how many Black friends does Little Rickie have?--oh, I forgot, he may have a Black house boy in his Pennsylvania mansion.

So Mitt "The Mormon" Romney got his old northern ass trounced. Both Little Rickie and Newtie Boy beat him. "That thar Moore-man dude, ain't he a Yankee?" "You damn right he is. He's from that thar state of Messychoosits and that thar's way up there in the north. Furthest north I ever been is North Birmingham. That's fer enough north for me, boy."

My Alabama Connection
I settled in New Orleans back in the middle of the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. I had loved New Orleans since as a kid I visited there with my family several times. My folks had both relatives and good friends in New Orleans. From my first time there I knew I loved New Orleans. I mean it was such a swinging city even to a little West Texas kid. So when I got the chance, after marrying in Dallas and leaving my job that was not related to my education, my new wife and I easily decided we wanted to live in New Orleans. Right after our marriage, we packed our belongings in rented Chevrolet and headed off for the Crescent City [I lived there two years and NEVER heard New Orleans called the Big Easy.]

My first job in New Orleans was with the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court. This was right before the Civil Rights Act passed. New Orleans had trouble integrating, but it was minor compared to the horrible White racism going on all around it, like over on the other side of Mississippi where Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were brutally murdered and buried in a damn on the Pearl River; or the brutality of Bull Connor and the Birmingham racist police department firehosing and sicking dogs on Blacks simply seeking the right to vote--their right to equality; or the racist babbling coming out of Leander Perez in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. In New Orleans, a bunch of Catholic Whites had protested against a Federal judge's orders to integrate the New Orleans school system, and there had been sit-ins at the Woolworth's lunch counter and some other places in Center City New Orleans. But for the most part, New Orleans integrated peacefully. As a result, when I joined the Juvenile Court I found myself working with an integrated staff, though still the staff was divided in the sense the Black workers didn't handle White cases; yet the White workers did handle Black cases. My wife and I soon had made several friends from among that Black staff and most of my White co-workers were very liberal and we had many an integrated party in our apartment in the French Quarter, which was integrated in those days--my neighborhood cleaners being owned by a Black family and several of the tenants in my neighborhood were Blacks--though, yes, I'll admit there was still plenty of prejudice among the old-line established Whites in and around where I lived--especially the old Italian family restaurant I frequented a lot and loved around on Decatur.

My wife and I became members of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, in New Orleans. At that time CORE was an integrated movement. Our field reps were Huey Newton and Julius Lester. I went to my first CORE meeting and it was dominated by White folks, especially a White woman from the Washington, D.C., chapter who was there to instruct us on holding sit ins and preparing for a big march happening over in Laurel, Mississippi and thinking in the future about the bigger march that was planned for Selma, Alabama, later that year.

One of my first times in court representing a Black kid, I came before a judge who had been put on the bench by Huey Long himself. He was a wicked old judge with an evil streak all over his craggy face. When I presented my case before him, he suddenly asked me, "Where you from, boy?" I told him I'd just moved to Louisiana from Texas. He said, "Texas, my ass, boy, I hear Alabama in your voice--you from Alabama, I guarantee you." I set stunned before him. "In fact, boy, I say you from Dothan, Alabama...damn right, I can tell an Alabama accent no matter how you try to hide it. "No sir," I lied, "I'm from Texas; never been to Alabama." That last part was the truth, I had never been to Alabama, but the lie was, my father's family was from Alabama--not Dothan, but Decatur. I was ashamed of my Alabama past--and I've rejected all my life (subconciously) the fact my grandparents on my father's side were from Decatur, Alabama. I've always said my original family came from North Carolina, which a part of them did, though not my immediate relations.

My first trip to Alabama came my first spring in New Orleans. One of my coworkers told me all about this marvelous place that she and her friend summered at. She said, "You and your wife must come visit us in a month when we're planning to spend a long weekend on this island...Dauphin Island...this wonderful place far out in Mobile Bay." "Mobile, Alabama?" I asked. "No, no, my wife and I have sworn we'll avoid Alabama--I mean the meanest racists in the world are over there." She replied, "Oh, no, Mobile is not like Birmingham and, and Dauphin Island is far out away from Mobile anyway...and there are Blacks on the island as well as Whites." For some reason, my wife and I decided to check this place out. It was presented to us by others of our friends as a paradise...most assuring us that Mobile was more like New Orleans in its sophisticated approach to integration.

The serene beaches on Dauphin Island
My wife and I took that first trip over to Dauphin Island and we loved it so much we immediately rented a cabin for that whole summer and we spent many a peaceful weekend and vacation on this wonderful paradise. I mean, out on this island you didn't feel like you were in Alabama at all. Though eventually, hanging out around Mobile, I began to check the city out in terms of its Civil Rights history while basking in the sun on Dauphin Island, reading up on it racial history, and much to my surprise, I found that Mobile was in the same class as New Orleans when it came to the Civil Rights Movement. I mean, compared to other Alabama cities, Mobile was an exception to the rule of racism and Klannish attitudes thanks to a White power base that was determined to keep Mobile a fair city when it came to racial equality due to two men, Joseph Langan, a White veteran committed to racial equality who became the Mayor of Mobile from the late 50s into the late 1960s, and John LeFlore, a Black civil rights organizer who eventually was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives. Of course, Mobile had its problems, especially after a Black group called NOW (Stokely Carmichael had something to do with it) turned on LeFlore and withheld Black votes from that years elections and Joseph Langan lost his bid for reelection. Also that year, LeFlore's house was bombed, though no one was hurt. The bombers were never caught though ironically a lot of Black Mobileans believed Blacks who were against LeFlore and the NAACP did the bombing.

At the time I spent my summers on Dauphin Island, I never went into Mobile nor did I read any Mobile newspapers, and though we frequently went back to Dauphin Island occasionally by then my wife and I had discovered Destin, Florida, up the road from Pensacola, where we rented a room for a whole summer in the Destin Holiday Inn, a room with a kitchen and sitting room, right on the beach.

I never however got any further north in Alabama than Mobile Bay and never ever have been to Decatur, Alabama, where, yes, I now admit, my father's family originated.

Today I think of Alabama as a backward state, a stupid state, and I've seen no evidence showing me it isn't. Alabama went Dixiecrat when old racist hypocrite (turned out he had a Black daughter) Strom Thurmond left the Democratic Party in 1948 after Harry S. Truman integrated the US Army.
Obama Our Corporate President
So it does look like President Obama will have smooth sailing into his second term in spite of his acting like a G.W. Bush clone for his first term in office. He's a warmonger, now rattling our swords at Iran based on Iran developing nuclear weapon capabilities of which there is no more proof than there was that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, which it turned out he didn't. I think this sword rattling by Obama is all about OIL. Remember, the largest user of fossil fuels in the world is the US military. They are also one of the largest users of nuclear power in the world, too. Obama, in spite of the Gulf Coast oil spill, is going on with drill, drill, drill, allowing BP to go back to deepwater drilling in our Gulf and also opening up our Alaskan Wilderness to them also. [I've notice there's no longer any mention of the Exxon-Mobil Yellowstone River oil leak--what's that all about?]

So here we go again. No choice for president, just the same ole same oles, to which I agree with Ralph Nadir, there is still no difference in our political parties; they are all corporatized now; playgrounds for millionaires, of which now President Obama is one.

for The Daily Growler

Thanks to our computer ace, he wants to remain anonymous, we did get to load a photo with today's post. It still ain't perfect, though.

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

Cute story about the craggy old judge recognizing your father's Alabama influence on your accent. Many of my ancestors who were born in NYC spoke with the Irish brogues of their parents though they themselves had never been anywhere near Ireland. Many generations later there are still Irish-isms in my family's lingo. And Italian-isms, from the Italian side of the family. I don't know about the Kashubs in my background. I don't know if there is any trace of their endangered language left in my family.

I've never been to the Gulf but everything I hear makes those beaches sound paradisiacal. Too bad they continue to be in the cross-hairs of the drill, baby, drill assholes. And of course the political scene continues to be a travesty.

I like the new photo you posted of the belly-button of the city with the green spire of that cute little church (that I've been inside of) to my favorite saint. Your computer ace does good work. That photo deserved to be posted.