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The Most Revolutionary Year of the

Twentieth Century Part 2

50 years later, we still are influenced by what happened during 1968. The tragedy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s
assassination made America reckon with its imperfections. It was a tragedy that strengthened those who
believe in the cause of justice. Also, the youth and others promoted social justice in universities and other
locations worldwide from New York City to Paris, France. The movement in Prague involved human beings
who resisted the anti-democratic agenda of Stalinism. Not to mention that the 1968 Presidential election was
changed forever with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Robert F. Kennedy grew ideologically to be
more progressive on issues of poverty and the fight to end the Vietnam War. This period of 1968 was a time
of both sorrows and heroes expressing the commitment to the ideal of social justice. Today, we are always in
favor of the Dream being realized for the human family.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s family in this picture walked in the funeral
procession in Atlanta, April 9, 1968. From the left: daughter Yolanda,
12; King's brother A.D. King; daughter Bernice, 5; widow Coretta Scott
King; Rev. Ralph Abernathy; sons Dexter, 7, and Martin Luther King III,


The Passing Away of a

Legendary Civil Rights
The Voice of Students
The Prague Spring
Activism in America and
Robert Kennedy’s 1968
Presidential Campaign
Appendix A: The Music
of Mid-1968
AP File

The Passing Away of a Legendary Civil Rights Leader

1968 was the time when Americans and human beings throughout the world
mourned the loss of a clergyman who proclaimed the principles of nonviolence,
opposition to the Vietnam War, economic justice, and human equality.

the Civil War. Many people were reactionary Richard Daley sent
D uring this era of 1968, angry. People have the right to be
angry at an innocent black man
police officers order to shoot to
kill arsonists. Jesse Jackson said
massive changes existed in being murdered by a coward with that it was a fascist response.
America plus the world. The a rifle. Human beings continued Then Mayor of Baltimore, Spiro
unjust murder of Dr. Martin to fight for justice. Floyd Agnew, falsely scapegoated Black
Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968 McKissick, the head of CORE Power advocates and other civil
changed our country. Many back then said, "Dr. Martin rights leaders for the situation
people were saddened at the Luther King was the last prince of instead of racial injustice and the
cruelty of such an act. People nonviolence...Nonviolence is a assassination of Dr. King. 12
mourned worldwide. His death in dead philosophy and it was not people died and more than 700
Memphis, Tennessee represented the Black people that killed it." fires were in Washington, D.C.
the end of the old school Civil SNCC Leader Kwame Ture was alone. Washington, D.C. had
Rights Movement era and the at a press conference said, "When thousands of federal troops and
beginning of the post-civil rights white America killed Dr. King last national guardsmen to defend the
era. Immediately, over 100 night, she declared war on us. We Capitol and the White House.
American cities had rebellions have to retaliate for the death of Tanks were in the streets in broad
which lasted for several days. our leaders...The only way to daylight. Roy Wilkins of the
Buildings were destroyed, people survive is to get some guns... We NAACP would outline the typical
mourned, and society had to are going to stand up on our feet response of "Martin's memory is
reckon with the point that racial and die like men. If that's our only being desecrated" in exposing
injustice has no place in the act of manhood, then godd__mit, outrage at the rebellions, but Roy
planet. The rebellions were the we're going to die." 168 cities Wilkins would support the
largest acts of urban revolt since burned. Chicago Mayor and Vietnam War (and he criticized
Dr. King for his anti-war views. 1968, took place the following 5 at the time, in the Ebeneezer
Wilkins would only oppose the day at the R.S. Lewis Funeral church. Ironically, Bernice King
Vietnam War after Richard Home in Memphis, Tennessee. would be a powerful, eloquent
Nixon was elected President). The This was followed by two funeral voice for freedom just like her
reality is that rebellions are cries services on April 9, 1968, in father.
from the unheard and we have to Atlanta, Georgia. Many schools
understand the causes of a closed. The first funeral in Atlanta The private funeral was followed
rebellion in order for everyone to was held in Ebeneezer Baptist by the loading of King's casket
activate a progressive solution. Dr. Church on Auburn Avenue. The onto a simple wooden farm wagon
King's funeral existed on April 9, first, private service began at pulled by two mules. The
1968 in Atlanta, Georgia. 10:30 a.m. EST at Ebeneezer procession proceeded down the
Baptist Church, and was filled three-and-a-half mile journey from
On that same day of April 4, with some 1,300 people; among Ebenezer Baptist Church to
1968, the Apollo Program the dignitaries present were labor Morehouse College. The
allowed Apollo 6 to be launched. leaders, foreign dignitaries, procession was observed by over
This was the second and last entertainment and sports figures 100,000 people; the Southern
unmanned test flight of the Saturn and leaders from numerous Christian Leadership Conference
V launch vehicle. Robert F. religious faiths. The service began commissioned a security detail to
Kennedy gave his “The Evil with Rev. Ralph Abernathy manage the crowd, while the
Menace of Violence” speech at delivering a sermon which called
the Cleveland City Club on April the event "one of the darkest
5, 1968. It was a very eloquent hours of mankind." At his
speech. The speech outlined the widow's request, King eulogized
vicious nature of violence and how himself: His last sermon at
constructive avenues are key Ebenezer Baptist Church, a
measures in establishing a society recording of his famous 'Drum
where justice is made real for all, Major' sermon, given on February
regardless of someone’s race or 4, 1968, was played at the funeral. This is the damage from the
color. By April 6, 1968, the Black In that sermon he makes a request 1968 rebellion in the city of
Panthers and Oakland police had that at his funeral no mention of Washington, D.C.
a shootout. Many people were his awards and honors be made,
arrested and died. One person but that it be said that he tried to Atlanta Police Department limited
who died was 16 year old Black "feed the hungry," "clothe the their participation to management
Panther Bobby Hutton. This was naked," "be right on the of automobile traffic and to
personal to the Panthers since [Vietnam] war question," and accompany dignitaries attending
Bobby Hutton was one of the "love and serve humanity." Per the events (like Charles Percy,
original members of the Black King's request, his good friend Edmund Muskie, Hubert
Panther Party for Self-Defense. Mahalia Jackson sang his favorite Humphrey, Ralph Yarborough
He carried guns as a means for hymn, "Take My Hand, Precious from Texas, Harry Belafonte,
him to promote self-defense. Lord", though not as part of the Dick Gregory, etc.). The
Witnesses say that Hutton was morning funeral service but later procession was silent, although it
unjustly murdered by the police. that day at a second open-air was accompanied on occasion by
service at Morehouse College. the singing of freedom songs
The first memorial service Coretta Scott King is seen in which were frequently sung during
following the assassination of picture comforting her youngest the marches in which King had
Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, daughter (Bernice King), who was participated. About 120 million
King was eulogized by college reburied at their current location
President Benjamin Mays (on that at the plaza between the King
same day of April 9, 1968), who Center and Ebenezer, and his
had given the benediction after widow Coretta was buried next to
King's "I Have a Dream" speech. him in 2006.
Benjamin Mays was 72 in 1968.
Mays' eulogy that would later be
known as the "No Man is Ahead
of His Time" speech. He noted There was a double explosion in
King's time in history to an downtown Richmond, Indiana
estimated 150,000 mourners by that killed 41 and injured 150
stating in his most famous people on April 6, 1968.
passage: President Lyndon Baines Johnson
signed the Civil Rights Act of
"..If Jesus was called to preach the 1968 on April 11, 1968. This
Gospel to the poor, Martin Luther came after pressure from civil
This image shows Dr. Martin Luther
was called to give dignity to the rights leaders and other Americans
King, Jr. (1929 - 1968) working in common man. If a prophet is one following the assassination of Dr.
the offices of the National who interprets in clear and Martin Luther King Jr. After
Cathedral at Washington D.C. on intelligible language the will of 1966, this law was difficult to
March 31, 1968. (Photo by Morton God, Martin Luther King Jr. fits pass since Republicans dominated
Broffman/Getty Images) that designation. If a prophet is the Congress by 1966. This law
one who does not seek popular banned housing discrimination in
Americans watched the funeral causes to espouse, but rather the all of its forms. Vice President
proceedings on TV. causes he thinks are right, Martin Hubert Humphrey announced his
Luther qualified on that score. candidacy for President in the
Among the persons leading the Democratic side on April 27,
procession, besides the immediate No! He was not ahead of his time. 1968. He was one of the greatest
family of the civil rights leader, No man is ahead of his time. progressives on domestic issues of
were Jesse Jackson, who held the Every man is within his star, each the 20th century (he was right to
flag of the United Nations, now in his time. Each man must promote racial equality as far back
Congressman John Lewis, and respond to the call of God in his as the 1940’s), but his weakness
Andrew Young who would later lifetime and not in somebody was that he was too tied to LBJ’s
become the Mayor of Atlanta and else’s time. Jesus had to respond to agenda (he supported LBJ's
also Ambassador to the United the call of God in the first century Vietnam War policies in public
Nations. A.D., and not in the 20th century. while having questions about it in
He had but one life to live. He private. Humphrey would split
The procession passed by the couldn’t wait..." with LBJ in public on Vietnam
Georgia state capitol building. completely late in the 1968
Following the funeral, King's Presidential campaign by
At the conclusion of the casket was loaded into a hearse for September). New York Governor
ceremony, the group sang "We his final trip to the South View Nelson Rockefeller ran for
Shall Overcome." Cemetery, a burial place President on the Republican side
predominantly reserved for on April 30, 1968.
The public and final service was African Americans. His remains
held at Morehouse College, where were exhumed in 1977 and
The Black Power Movement
The Black Power Movement is very diverse like many social movements are. It included
progressives, conservatives, and independent black people. What unified the movement was its
love of Blackness, the proclamation of the truth that Black is Beautiful, an advocacy of economic
empowerment, and a cultural awareness of the strength, resiliency, and power of African
Americans. Black Power ultimately is about black people utilizing self-determination in
establishing not only institutions, but total freedom among the black community.

The Black Panther Tarika

Matilaba wrote editorials,
drew cartoons, and
demanded respect while
she was Black Panther.
She wore an Afro during
the 1960’s too.

Malcolm X (1925-1965) was a hero of

Black Power is more than a political
the Black Power movement. He was
movement. It was a cultural movement too.
a revolutionary, because he fought
The black woman on the left is Saundra
Williams. She won Miss Black America imperialism, wanted Pan-African
Pageant in 1968. She has an Afro. Also, the unity in the world, he believed in
black woman on the right is the model Eve the rights of women, and he fought
Arnold in Harlem, NYC during 1968. The for the human rights of people of
Afro has been worn to this very day. black African descent.

Robert F. Williams and

his wife Mabel Williams
advocated self-defense,
self-determination, and

Kwame Ture was one of the architects of the

modern Black Power movement in 1966 when
he called for it in Mississippi. He was once a
leader in SNCC and he once allied with the
Black Panther Party. Before he died in 1998, he The Black Panthers endorsed socialism, an end
promoted Pan-Africanism. to police brutality, and Black Power.
The Voices of Students
Young people are always some of the greatest advocates of revolutionary change.
Students among many colors and backgrounds have united to oppose oligarchy,
racism, sexism, imperialism, and other injustices.

discrimination and the Vietnam War. It was a very

S tudent activism against war, imperialism, racism, historic time in America plus the world. This event
revolved around the student activist movement that
and economic exploitation grew by 1968. April 11, desired an end to the war in Vietnam, women's
1968 was the time when Germany's student radical rights, black studies in colleges, and the embrace of
Rudi Dutschke was almost assassinated. Outrage social equality. These young human beings desired an
grew as demonstrations and rioting existed in New overall change in society whereby the status quo is
York City, Berkeley, Toronto, Paris, Rome, Milan, gone (and true justice is subsequently made real for
Belgrade, Prague, and other locations worldwide. The the human family). Hamilton Hall in Columbia was
student movement was part of a long revolutionary occupied first. The reason was that many progressive
ethos that flourished during the late 1960's. students wanted to protest against the institution’s
Internationally, students cared about ending the war, ties to a Vietnam War research firm, the Institute for
ending imperialism, and wanting racism to end. They Defense Analyses (IDA). Also, the students (made up
were against authoritarian, anti-democratic of people among many backgrounds) wanted to fight
institutions, intransigent systems, and heinous against Columbia University's construction of a new
political parties (that use technologies in inflict gymnasium in Morningside Park, whose design plan
mayhem plus death worldwide). appeared to offer segregated access to black residents
of Harlem, which was adjacent to the building’s
The situation in Columbia started on April 23, 2018 lower side. This proposed gymnasium was heavily
(in about 50 years ago lasting until April 30, 1968) opposed by Harlem residents and many student
when students occupied Columbia University in New activists. Five buildings were occupied and one dean
York City. The students protested racial was held. Those involved in the occupation were the
SDS and Columbia' Students' Afro-American Society "...Grayson, I doubt if you will understand any of
(SAS). Columbia was a private Ivy-League school this... you call for order and respect for authority; we
whose leadership or administration was traditional call for justice, freedom, and socialism. There is only
and autocratic (Grayson Kirk was one Columbia one thing left to say. It may sound nihilistic to you,
leader who criticized the students as potentially since it is the opening shot in a war of liberation. I'll
dangerous). One of the student protesters was Mark use the words of LeRoi Jones [later Amiri Baraka,
Rudd. Rudd would later be part of the Weathermen who was a great civil right activist and poet], whom
Underground later on. On April 22, Mark Rudd I'm sure you don't like a whole lot: "Up against the
wrote an open letter to Kirk: wall, motherf____, this is a stick-up."

It lasted for over one week. It involved hundreds of end of campus instead. More protesting Columbia
students. The occupiers demanded the reinstatement and Barnard students were arrested and/or injured by
of six students suspended for protesting against the New York City police during a second round of
IDA, an end to the construction of the gym, amnesty protests on May 17–22, 1968, when community
for all students joining in the occupations, and the residents occupied a Columbia University-owned
reversal of an edict by university president Grayson partially vacant apartment building at 618 West 114
Kirk banning indoor protests. Later, the authorities Street to protest Columbia's expansion policies, and
went too far in suppressing the student revolt. Kirk later when students re-occupied Hamilton Hall to
called the police. He cut the power and water off protest Columbia's suspension of "The IDA Six."
from the occupied areas. On April 30, at 2:20 in the Before the night of May 22, 1968 was over, police
morning, some 1,000 police brutally attacked the had arrested another 177 students and beaten 51
students. Cops used axes to cut the doors. They or students. Mark Rudd said the following words to
the NYPD assaulted not only students unjustly and TIME on 2008 about the Columbia student protest
viciously. They assaulted journalists and movement:
photographers for no reason. Many students were
beaten by plains clothes NYPD officers. Some cops "What surprised me was the extent of the violence
destroyed photographic equipment. Within three the police employed and the administration
hours, the occupation was crushed. About 720 condoned."
students and faculty were arrested, and 136
demonstrators suffered injuries in the police attack. The legacy of the Columbia protests was that student
Leaders of the Columbia protests were Black Power activism could cause change. All of the freedom that
activists and SDS members like Mark Rudd. The we have today was a result of activists, who in many
protests achieved two of their stated goals. cases, shed blood in order for us to live on this Earth.
We have to always honor the sacrifices of heroes
Columbia disaffiliated from the IDA and scrapped (both men and women including the youth) who
the plans for the controversial gym, building a desire social and economic justice. The struggle
subterranean physical fitness center under the north continues and we shall overcome in the end.
The Prague Spring
Socialists and other freedom lovers fought for democratic change in Prague.
Also, new social realities caused historic plays like Hair to develop in the late
World War II, the victorious superpowers of the
T he musical Hair opened on Broadway officially U.S. and the U.S.S.R. divided Europe in that the
Eastern Bloc was controlled by the Soviets while
on April 29, 1968. It was a play that was ahead of its Western Europe was controlled heavily by other
time that dealt with racism, the counterculture,
Western powers. The reformist Alexander Dubček
religion, astrology, sex, sexuality, the Vietnam War,
was elected as the First Secretary of the Communist
the counterculture, and other issues. The musical
Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) on January 5, 1968.
promoted the Age of Aquarius (which is a New age
teaching of massive change in the world after the He replaced the hardliner Antonin Novotny. Dubček
current Age of Pisces) and hippie living being against declared the party's mission was "to build an
the Vietnam War. The play resolves around advanced socialist society on sound economic
characters deciding about the draft and how to live in foundations ... a socialism that corresponds to the
a changing world. historical democratic traditions of Czechoslovakia, in
accordance with the experience of other communist
The Prague Spring lasted from January 5, 1968 to parties ..." During the Prague Spring, Dubček
August 21, 1968. Today, we witness 50 years after established numerous reforms in giving more rights
that incident. It was one of the most important to the people of Czechoslovakia. They included: the
events of 1968. It revolved around the people of partial decentralization of the economy,
Czechoslovakia seeking independence and true democratization, ending restrictions on the media,
freedom from the Stalinist Warsaw Pact. During that promoting more free speech, and ending travel
time, there was the viciousness of capitalist restrictions.
imperialism and the viciousness of Stalinism. After
On March 4, 1968, Dubcek abolished censorship. Many of them defied curfews. Some like Jan Palach
He split the nation into 2 republics being the Czech used self-immolation suicides (i.e. burning oneself to
Republic and the Slovak Republic. Other activists death). After the invasion, the Soviets didn’t crush
used nonviolent resistance to promote democratic the aspirations of the people completely. People
freedoms too. Workplace democracy among workers throughout the Warsaw Pact fought for their
grew. Dubcek made the mistake of denouncing freedom continuously. Gustáv Husák ended the
workers’ strikes. The Soviets hated the reforms and reforms of Dubeck. Also, it is important to note that
fought back. On the night of August 20-21, 1968, the criminal acts of Stalinism are not representative
Eastern Bloc armies from four Warsaw Pact of all socialists. There were revolutionary socialists
countries – the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and who opposed the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.
Hungary—invaded the ČSSR (or Czechoslovakia). Ultimately, the Prague Spring inspired the future
That night, 200,000 troops and 2,000 tanks entered revolutions of the 1980’s that ultimately ended
the country. They invaded Czechoslovakia in trying Stalinism in Eastern Europe, East Germany, and the
to promote the status quo. The people resisted by Soviet Union itself.
painting street signs to confuse the Stalinist invaders.
Activism in America and Worldwide
Social movements are found internationally not just in America. The status quo
wasn’t working and new activists rose up to make their voices heard.
veterans wanted higher wages (while setting up tents
T oday, it is 50 years after the major Poor People's in Washington D.C.). Douglas MacArthur used his
troops to end the Bonus March brutally. One of the
Campaign march in Washington, D.C. The people at greatest mistakes of Douglas MacArthur was his
the location were black people, Latinx people, Native excessive response to the Bonus March.
Americans, white people, etc. The Poor People's
Campaign was the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Also, it is important to note that Sister Mary Wright
Jr. who wanted the poor to have economic justice Edelman inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to go
firmly. Many of these human beings on May 29, forward with the Poor People's Campaign. Since Dr.
1968 marched on the U.S. Supreme Court in King was gone physically by April 4, 1968, Ralph
Washington, D.C., to protest a high court ruling that Abernathy took over the SCLC and the Poor Peoples
affirmed limits on Native American fishing rights in Campaign. Dr. King wanted the Poor People's
several rivers of Washington state. The civil rights Campaign to give the poor a living wage, adequate
activist Ralph David Abernathy was the principal incomes, true land, allow to give the poor to
leader of the Poor People’s Campaign following the experience true political and economic power, and
assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Another the establishment of other policies. This was part of
leader of the movement was Reies Tijerina, a leader the Economic Bill of Rights. The Poor People's
of the Chicano movement in the state of New Campaign asked for the federal government to
Mexico. Many protesters were at the doors of the prioritize helping the poor with a $30 billion anti-
U.S. Supreme Court building seeking justice. Dr. poverty package that included, among other
Martin Luther King Jr., before he died, was becoming demands, a commitment to full employment, a
more left wing and more revolutionary. He saw that guaranteed annual income measure, and more low-
civil and voting rights are great, but you have to income housing. Even during that time (with the
address an economic system that harms people of all peak of the American post-World War II economic
colors if you desire true liberation. You have to have boom in the midst of the lowest economic inequality
a massive redistribution of economic and political in American history, possibly in world history), the
power in order to cause real change in our society. capitalist powers that be refused to follow the
Dr. King wanted the Poor People's Campaign to be Economic Bill of Rights of the Poor People's
like the Bonus March back in the 1930's when WWI Campaign (when these proposals from Dr. King and
others were reasonable and legitimate). Dr. King once to fight for the poor. It has been a sick past-time for
said that if the government can spend billions of not only some of the rich, but some of the
dollars to send a man on the moon then it can spend bourgeoisie middle class (many of whom are one or
billions of dollars to help the poor right here on two paychecks away from poverty themselves) to
Earth. He's right. Today, we have a new Poor mock and degrade the poor viciously, which is evil.
People's Campaign desiring economic justice as well. Those days are over. The poor deserves respect and
Rev. Barber is one leader of this 2018 movement honor just like anyone else.
using rallies, civil disobedience, and other programs

These are images of Paris during the Paris student revolt of 1968.
More than 50 years ago, there was the uprising in the police against the students. From May 6-7, 1968,
Paris, which was about students going onward to something else happened. Union Nationale des
fight for their causes. Student protests erupted in Étudiants de France (UNEF) organized
Paris back in May 2, 1968. Students protested the demonstrations. Then, the police and the students
closure of the arts college at Paris University at engaged in street fighting. The police used tear gas
Nanterre, a newly-erected suburban campus that had and batons to disperse the students.
been shut down in response to ongoing student
protests. During the next day, the protests spread to Later, the students used barricades and gasoline
the prestigious Sorbonne. The students wanted bombs. Some overturned cars. In the Latin Quarter,
disciplinary action against Nanterre student Daniel street fighting continued between the police and
Cohn-Bendit to be dropped. The police broke up students. More than 10,000 demonstrators blocked
both demonstrations. Boulevard St. Germain with overturned buses, and
“wave after wave of police counterattacks were
On the night of May 3, in the words of one press repelled,” according to the New York Times report
account, “riot policemen using clubs and tear gas on the event. “Police vehicles racing reinforcements
fought pitched battles with Sorbonne students” to the scene were bombarded from roofs with stones
protesting the Nanterre closing. The arrested and firebombs. The windows of countless paddy-
students totaled 573. In response, authorities ordered wagons and police buses were smashed in, and scores
the indefinite closure of the Sorbonne, for the first of overturned and burning cars littered Boulevard St.
time since its founding in 1253. On May 5, 1968, Germain and Rue de Rennes.” After the revolt, there
professors organized a strike in protest of the was the reactionary backlash led by Charles de Gaulle
situation. They opposed the heavy handed actions of and others in France.
Le précepte de la liberté est l'idéal de l'humanité et nous gagnerons à
la fin.

Robert Kennedy's 1968 Presidential Campaign

The 1968 campaign of Robert Kennedy gained a huge following among many
Americans and made people realize that the issues of poverty, war, class, and
racism must be recognized plus dealt with in a compassionate, forthright
while his foreign policy views were similar to LBJ's
T he Presidential campaign of 1968 continued. views. Pro-war Democrats, party bosses, and most
labor leaders supported Humphrey. Kennedy and
The Democratic race was wide open after Lyndon McCarthy battled for the anti-war vote while
Baines Johnson withdrew from the race. Black Humphrey quietly gathered delegates. Robert
Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver also ran against the Kennedy was more energetic than McCarthy during
Vietnam War in the Peace and Freedom party ticket. the race. RFK said that, "I run to seek new policies,
Vice President Hubert Humphrey officially policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our
announced his candidacy on April 27, 1968. He cities, policies to close the gap that now exists
famous said that, "Here we are, the way politics between black and white, between rich and poor,
ought to be in America, the politics of happiness, the between young and old in this country and around
politics of purpose, and the politics of joy." Once, the rest of the world." McCarthy had progressive
liberals heavily honored Humphrey for his advocacy economic views, but he was seen by many as aloof.
of civil rights back in the 1940's, but his allegiance to He wanted to limit the power of the Presidency.
LBJ caused him to experience many protests. Even
LBJ criticized him by saying, "just too old-fashioned, There is nothing wrong with the politics of purpose,
he looks like, he talks like he belongs to the past." but we can't embrace a naiveté that ignores the
Humphrey had a huge burden throughout his unhappiness found in the lives of the suffering and
campaign and his domestic views were progressive the poor. The United States and North Vietnam
start to agree on peace talks in Paris by May 3, 1968. burned them with napalm as a protest against the
May 7, 1968 was when Robert Kennedy won the Vietnam War. The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine
Indiana primary. Indiana had inner city black Scorpion sinks with 99 men aboard, 400 miles
Americans, white ethnic factory workers, southwest of the Azores. This happened on May 22,
suburbanites, and rural farmers. RFK used the train 1968. McCarthy won the Oregon primary on May
to travel into many parts of the states to appeal to 28, 1968 because Oregon was much more
black people and white people. On May 14, 1968, conservative back then (and RFK’s pro-gun control
the Beatles announced the creation of Apple Records stance turned many Oregon voters off). Nixon easily
in a New York press conference. Many won the Oregon primary. Robert Kennedy
thunderstorms created tornadoes that made huge campaigned in California during this time. McCarthy
damage plus casualties in Charles City, Iowa, stumped California’s many colleges and universities,
Oelwein, Iowa, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. Robert where he was treated as a hero for being the first
Kennedy won the Nebraska primary on May 14, presidential candidate to oppose the war. Robert
1968 too. It was Kennedy’s first majority victory. He Kennedy campaigned in the ghettos and barrios of
beat both McCarthy and LBJ. Nixon won the California’s larger cities, where he was mobbed by
Republican primary in Nebraska over Ronald enthusiastic supporters. Charles Evers and John
Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller. Back then, Lewis campaigned for Robert Kennedy in black
Rockefeller was a liberal Republican, Reagan was in communities. Cesar Chavez campaigned for RFK
the conservative wing, and Nixon was in the middle. also in barrios. Kennedy and McCarthy engaged in a
On May 17, 1968, the Catonsville Nine enter the television debate a few days before the primary; it
Selective Service offices in Catonsville, Maryland, was generally considered a draw.
take dozens of selective service draft records, and
On June 4, 1968, Robert Kennedy narrowly defeated Robert Francis Kennedy, another tragedy existed
McCarthy in California, 46%–42%. However, where human beings (especially the youth) were
McCarthy refused to withdraw from the race and sadden plus confused on where to go next in the
made it clear that he would contest Kennedy in the movement for social justice. Many of the New Left
upcoming New York primary, where McCarthy had and the black freedom struggle questioned whether
much support from anti-war activists in New York revolutionary change would be possible after another
City. Robert Kennedy ultimately gathered support innocent man was murdered. Robert Kennedy was
among African Americans, white progressives, Latino one of four American men (who also include JFK,
Americans, Native Americans, women, and others to Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) who
win the California primary. On June 5, 1968, U.S. were assassinated by a murderer in the midst of
presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot at ideological evolution in being more progressive on
the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by issues. Yet, RFK’s unfortunate, unjust death never
Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy died from his injuries the ended the Dream. The Dream continues.
next day on June 6, 1968. With the assassination of
Appendix A: The Music of mid-1968
After Dr. King’s assassination, record label, and clothing store two-part single which held the
James Brown was on national (on May 14, 1968). On May 30, number-one spot on the R& B
television on April 5, 1968. He 1968, The Beatles begin recording singles chart for six weeks, and
helped to defuse a rebellion in The White Album (officially peaked at number ten on the
Boston. He calmed the feelings of titled, simply, The Beatles). Billboard Hot 100. Both parts of
anger among black people in the Sessions would span over 4 the single were later included on
concert over the unjust murder of months, ending on October. On James Brown's 1968 album A
Dr. King. On April 7, 1968, June 20, 1968 was when David Soulful Christmas and on his 1969
Singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Ruffin was fired from the album sharing the title of the song.
Simone's performance at Temptations. The reason was that "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm
Westbury Music Fair is dedicated Otis Williams accused Ruffin of Proud" was Brown's first recording
to the late Dr. Martin Luther having a large ego and Ruffin to feature trombonist Fred
King, Jr. The song "Why? (The wanted to inquire into the Wesley. In the song, Brown
king of love is dead)" by Gene Temptation’s financial records. addressed the prejudice towards
Taylor is performed for the first Ruffin demanded an accounting of blacks in America, and the need
time. The show was partially the group’s money. On June 20, for black empowerment. He
released on the Emmy nominated 1968, Martha Reeves & the proclaims that "we demands a
album Nuff Said (1968). On May 4, Vandellas make their debut at the chance to do things for
Mary Hopkin performs on the Copacabana in New York City, ourself/we're tired of beating our
British TV show Opportunity winning a rave review in the New head against the wall/and workin'
Knocks. Hopkin catches the York Times. The engagement was for someone else." The song's call-
attention of model Twiggy, who recorded but remains in the and-response chorus is performed
recommends her to Paul Motown vaults. By August 1, 1968, by a group of young children, who
McCartney. McCartney would Jeff Beck Group released their respond to Brown's command of
soon sign Hopkin to Apple album Truth. A seminal work of "Say it loud" with "I'm black and
Records. Aretha Franklin records heavy metal, it incorporates blues I'm proud!" The song was recorded
her live LP Aretha in Paris at the and hard rock. It introduced the in a Los Angeles area suburb with
Olympia Theater on May 7, 1968. talents of Rod Stewart and about 30 young people from the
At a press conference, John Ronnie Wood. On August 1968, Watts and Compton areas. This
Lennon and Paul McCartney James Brown released one of his record from James Brown
introduce the Beatles' new greatest records and an anthem of certainly inspired confidence
business concept, Apple Corps, the Black Power movement. It is among black people worldwide
Ltd., an entertainment company called “Say It Loud- I’m Black and and promoted the truth that
that included a recording studio, a I’m Proud.” It was released as a BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL.
By Timothy

The following next pages will show

information about the funeral of Sister
Aretha Franklin.
Credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

The funeral of Aretha Franklin was one of the most In the church, floral arrangements came from many
memorable funerals in human history. Songs, people like Sam Moore, Mariah Carey, Barbara Redding,
speeches, and the expression of love for her legacy were and the family of Otis Redding. A large number of
abundant during that day. It had a diversity of people were there in the church. The dignitaries
speakers, celebrations, music, grief, and then some. It included Jennifer Holiday, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep.
allowed people to say a tribute to a legendary woman Maxine Waters, T.D. Jakes, Faith Hill, Louis Farrakhan,
who broke down social barriers and had an incredible Whoopi Goldberg, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Omarosa
musical voice. She was curious about life and Aretha Manigault-Newman, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and
Franklin was a human rights activist too. The funeral other human beings. Jenifer Lewis (who is a great
lasted for over 8 hours. It was on 8 a.m. when Aretha actress) was there as well. The funeral was fully
Franklin’s body arrived at the Detroit church. underway by 11 am. The church choir sang Franklin’s
Franklin’s white hearse arrived. Many people lined up “Say a Little Prayer” and her version of “Bridge Over
for hours outside the Greater Grace Temple. Two Troubled Water.” Mourners arrived. London’s
dozen owners of pink Cadillacs were at the church to Buckingham Palace celebrated Franklin’s life too. As
honor Franklin’s 80’s song “Freeway of Love.” Aretha Franklin’s body was covered in fabric, many
people shouted “Hallelujah!” Rev. Jesse Jackson
comforted actress Cicely Tyson and Franklin’s family
members comforted each other.
Bishop Charles H. Ellis of Greater Grace Temple in Aretha Franklin’s family members also expressed tributes
Detroit spoke. Ellis talked about encouragement. By 12:15 to her as well. Victorie Franklin, her granddaughter, said
pm, singer Faith Hill honored Aretha Franklin by at the Queen of Soul's funeral that she will always
singing the well-known gospel song of “What a Friend cherish being part of Franklin's legacy, recognizing parts
We have in Jesus.” Bill Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and of her grandmother in her. "Nothing sounded better to
the Rev. Al Sharpton stood up to celebrate the music. By me than my grandmother's voice," said Victorie. "Her
12:40 pm, Ariana Grande sang the song “A Natural voice brought peace." Grandson Jordan directed his
Woman.” Ellis made the terrible action by saying remarks directly to Aretha, frequently stopping to fight
offensive words about Ariana Grande. Al Sharpton back tears. "I'm sad today, because I'm losing my friend,
spoke and told the truth that Aretha Franklin never but I know the imprint she left on this world can never
worked for him (i.e. Trump), but she only performed for be removed. You showed the world God's love, and
him. Sharpton said that Franklin worked for us, which is there's nothing more honorable." Aretha's son, Edward,
true. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. sang "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" by Marvin Gaye.
Bush sent messages to honor the Queen of Soul and they By the time Cristal Robin-Aretha Franklin was born, her
weren't present at the church funeral. aunt was already the Queen of Soul. But to Cristal, as she
said in her remarks, Aretha was “just my aunt, my
father’s sister. And I was her namesake.”

Credit: AFP
“My aunt Robin never let Aretha Lawrence is working with many Cicely Tyson, who is 93 years old, read
forget that her name came first, but lawmakers including Senator Kamala a version of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s
Aretha would laugh and say they D. Harris of California to introduce “When Malindy Sings.” She wore a
saved the best for last,” Cristal legislation to award Aretha Franklin graceful church hat. After 4 pm.,
recalled. posthumously with a Congressional Bishop Paul Morton and Yolanda
Former attorney general Eric H. Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian Adams led a lively performance of
Holder Jr. spoke of her activism and honors. “I am so proud to have known “Mary Don’t You Weep,” a spiritual
how she was a part of his life and to have shared my life with the Franklin recorded a live version of for
including his family’s life. amazing queen,” Lawrence said. “The her 1972 album “Amazing Grace.”
Queen deserves this gold medal and Georgetown University professor
Bill Clinton gave her memorial of I’m honored to give it to her.” Rev. Michael Eric Dyson said that Aretha
Aretha Franklin by telling stories William J. Barber II praised Aretha Franklin was “black without apology
and showing humor about the times Franklin too. He is the pastor of or excuse,” referencing her work with
that he had encountered Aretha Greenleaf Christian Church in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the
Franklin. Gospel veteran Shirley Goldsboro, North Carolina. Tyler Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al
Caesar was joined by rising gospel Perry spoke. Chaka Khan at 3:23 pm. Sharpton. Dyson said that she helped
star Tasha Cobbs Leonard as she performed a great rendition of the transform the existence of black
performed “How I Got Over,” a gospel song “Goin’ Up Younder” and America. Then, Michael Eric Dyson
lively hymn Franklin featured on her Ron Isley followed with “His Eye is condemned President Trump for
1972 album “Amazing Grace.” Later, On the Sparrow.” Rev. Jesse Jackson at disrespecting Franklin by claiming
Greg Mathis said that Aretha 3:55 pm. honored Aretha Franklin that she once worked “for” him. “You
Franklin told him to fight to give about showing the truth that Aretha is lugubrious leech, you doppelganger of
Flint, Michigan residents clean not lost, but she is in Heaven. He also deceit and deviance, you lethal liar,
drinking water. Rep. Brenda wanted people to register to vote as you dimwitted dictator, you foolish
Lawrence (D-Mich.) talked about not being registered “dishonors fascist,” Dyson said. “She ain’t work for
how Aretha Franklin encouraged Aretha.” Clive Davis spoke about you. She worked above you. She
her. Aretha Franklin as a woman who had worked beyond you. Get your
a thirst for knowledge and wanted to preposition right!” Afterwards,
be perfect in musical expression. Jennifer Hudson sang “Amazing
By 5:15 pm, former NBA player Gladys Knight sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
Isaiah Thomas euglozied Aretha and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Jennifer
Franklin as a close friend and how Holliday sang “Climbing Higher Mountains.”
her music helped his mother. He Also, Fantasia Barrino sang music too including
said that, “She found a way to Jennifer Hudson plus Chaka Khan. The Clark
inspire all of us with hope, love and Sisters sang music. At 6:45 pm, Jennifer Holliday
dreams through her music. Her and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir
voice found a way to help this performed a processional as attendees exited the
nation soothe and deal with its Greater Grace Temple. The funeral of Aretha
troubled past." Stevie Wonder Franklin ended on that note. Aretha Franklin
performed with harmonica skills showed heroism long before the 1970's and she
and with his voice. Wonder said at truly was a legendary black woman.
the end of his song. "The joy is in
knowing that she will have an
eternal life of bliss."

Rest in Power Sister Aretha

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