Monday, January 21, 2008

Remembering the MLK riots in KC



Kansas City's long standing legacy of racism is currently on display in USA Today.

A local gives a bit of historical perspective on the Kansas City following the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which not so surprisingly informs us that (contrary to what most local media outlets report) - Not all racial discrimination and injustice was stopped by Lyndon Johnson.

Surprise!

Also, I like this photo of Kansas City in the not so good old days . . . It depicts minorities being chased away from City Hall in droves; in a metaphorical sense it reminds me a lot of the Funkhouser Administration - Only the approach was a lot more direct with much less a lot less smug, arrogant and condescending PR tactics.

10 Comments:

Anonymous said...

ah...the good ole days!! I wonder if that guy is using real bullets?

Anonymous said...

I think it was tear gas cannisters.
I have vivid memories of that week. At age 7 I was old enough to understand (sort of) the implications. But the uncertainty of my parents was astounding. They are very strong, unjudgemental, understanding individuals with a strong sense of justice. In that week of our history my Latino parents understood the race riots, but also felt the need to be Americans in union with civil peace. Conversation in the house about the unfolding events was kept muted because Mom did not want us to be fearful. The news reports were scary enough. Yeah, "Happy Days", right?

Not Gloria said...

Oh Funky I am so glad we jumped a train and skipped town before the negro people worked themselves up into a frenzy about that dead guy. Look at this USA TODAY picture and see what THOSE PEOPLE are capable of when they leave the Black Part of Town.

Anonymous said...

Hey, is that Cleaver in the background with a rifle?

thepaintman said...

i see you in the right front with all black clothing on. Are you blending in?

Anonymous said...

Kansas City History From 1 Who Was There

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I was 10 years old during the race riots in 1968. I lived in Kansas City, Mo and was right in the thick of it. The Blacks burned Prospect Ave for more than 30 blocks. Every home and business was in the line of fire. Bottle Bombs were the weapon of choice. The National Guard was brought in and stationed at every block and business for several square miles. We were not allowed to leave our homes after dusk....and I have never been so scared in my life. Life changed dramaticly from then on. No more walking to school, no more coming home for lunch because the Black kids would rough me up. And over one summer, my entire neighborhood started taking flight. They started forced bussing, and I went from 1 sweet Black girl in my 2nd grade class, to 10 White kids in the entire 3rd grade of my school. The Black Panthers used megaphones out car windows to terrorize neighborhoods and preach the message of Black Majority...."Have you selves lotsa babies, and more babies...and take the White Man's Money". They built new state of the art schools for the Black neighborhoods, and over one year, the Blacks vandelized every square inch so badly the school was condemned the very next year. They were not into peace, love, and no more war, like the hippies. They were into war on White people. I had to ride the city bus to another school to escape the fear for my life. And that was really scarey too. I did that for 3 years till my parents had enough money to move us to the suburbs with the neighbors who had fled. Over the years the area has been condemned a block at a time because even the police refused to patrol the area. It became a neighborhood like the ones in futuristic movies where "EVERYONE" was a criminal. Now the suburban areas have been equally mixed by "Good" Black people trying to escape their own race and have a better life for their kids. The problem remains though, as the kids will be kids and they have no past. These newly place teens are corrupting our mild mannered suburban kids. They have gotten meaner and angrier even though they have more opportunities. The code of teenage rebellion has metamorphasized into an age of kids reaching adulthood with no ethics or morals, filled with hate and rage, and "the hateness of being". Obama is still on the topic...as follows. Older Whites voted for him because they believe that all "colors with goodness" should have equal rights, and the young people have been hypnotized by the message of change. The young people have no idea about the past except that slavery is wrong, and Martin Luther King preached a message of Light. Those 2 things are drops in the bucket of over all history. We are ever on the verge of riots and full scale civil war between informed and non-informed. I shy from the word education, because education is available to all races, but some choose not to get one, and others choose it to relay an agenda. And there are plenty of good people without education. It boils down to whether the heart and soul are filled with goodness or hate.

Taviaz said...

Wow. I cant believe your perspective. I was there. I was 12 years old and my family was one of those black families who lived on the East side. I remember the black panthers providing entertainment activities and food for kids during summers and school breaks. I remember when our home became too small for a family with three kids and my parents wanted us to go to a school with more resources. We bought a house in the suburbs. Does that mean we were one of those "Good" black families you refer to? Because I can guarantee you that we were not trying to "escape" our race. So when the people in the neighborhood where my parents purchased a house got a look at the black family moving in, they set the house on fire. That seems like hearts filled with hate.

Stephanie said...

What a fascinating perspective. I wasn't there, but live at 39th and Troost now. Sure, behavior like you describe happened in the 60's isn't ok - from whites or blacks. But what I see in our neighborhood TODAY is effects of poverty, not color. Whether it is "self-induced" by drug addictions or poverty due to absent parents not teaching work ethic, it is still the same results.

Oh, and one more thought:
"These newly placed teens are corrupting our mild mannered suburban kids"

HAHA! Ever met a preacher's kid? Get over your suburban perfection! Yes, there is racial baggage and kids who are confused because the world sells them short all the time. White girls are susceptible to anorexia because of the media, black kids are susceptible to identitiy crises because of rap music and role models like Chris Brown.

Why don't you try to love those kids who are "corrupting" your suburbs? Or move in and start to make a difference by helping these kids see themselves as people with a future and value?

Okai 3.0 said...

If you click on the USA Today link you'll see a photo of Opal Blankinship standing in front of the Church at 23rd and Benton Blvc, pointing up Benton. There is a video posted by the KC Star that validates some of what I am about to share, some is my recollection from living in the the botton half of the duplex that was on the other side of 23rd from the church, just the other side of the gas station. High school kids had gathered at the church to discuss the police riot down at city hall. A white man in a white car came barrelling down the street trying to run over kids, got out of his car and starting yelling 'Niggers go home"... the national Guard was lined up at 24th street with guns, gas and armor. The guy pulled a gun. The kids flipped his car and all hell broke loose. The Guard came down the street and tear-gased every house on the block. We were not snipers, but my mom, me aged 4, my brother kofi 8 and James 9, were pressed to the floor while our front porch got tear gassed and the guard started shooting. The Panthers, who were mostly high school and college-aged kids tried to defend the black-owned businesses, like my grandfather's shoe shop on 24th and prospect from the guard and the police who were shooting out everything. There were no snipers. My other experience with the panthers was as a kid taking part in their lunch program and day care. I doubt they had time to drive through white neighborhoods on megaphones. No some unscrupulous real estate agents might have done that to exploit people's fears, but I will tell you as an eye-witness, it was a police and military riot, not a riot instigated by the people in the community.

Okai 3.0 said...

I lived at 23rd and Benton. If you click on the USA Today story you'll see Opal Blankenship standing in front of the church there. She is pointing toward 24th and Benton. High School kids had gathered at the church for protection after they had been gassed in front of City Hall and driven from downtown because the schools had not been closed for MLK's funeral. The National Guard and Police had lined up on 24th with guns, gas and armor. The kids were not armed. The Panthers were not among them. A white man in a white car came barreling down the street from the direction she's point, trying to run over kids and yelling 'niggers go home, etc.' He started shooting and some boys from the block rocked and flipped his car. The all hell broke loose from the Guard and the tear gassed every house on the block, including the bottom floor duplex where I lived with my Mom and two bothers (4, 8, 10) and started shooting. As for the Panthers, I used to attend their breakfast and daycare center, I don't know that they had time to drive through white neighborhoods scaring white people. Maybe some unscrupulous real estate agents exploited the situation and did that.