Monday, May 27, 2013

The First Memorial Day

May 1, 1865

Believe it or not, Memorial Day wasn't invented for sleeping late, department store sales, or professional sporting events - it is to be a day of honoring the nation's dead!  As early as 1866, over 25 cities (mostly in the South) claimed to be the birthplace of Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day).  It was to be a day of solemn remembrance, thanks, consecration, and celebration of the 625,00+ soldiers who sacrificed their lives during The Civil War.  But, according to Yale University history professor David Blight we must look to the primary sources for the true origins of Memorial Day!

Flag-raising over Ft. Sumter - April 14, 1865

By the spring of 1865, Charleston, S.C., lay in ruin and occupied by Union troops. Among the first troops was the 21st United States Colored Infantry who accepted the city’s official surrender.  The whites of Charleston had mostly abandoned the city, but thousands of African-Americans, mostly former slaves who remained to celebrate their freedom and began immediately to commemorate all they were thankful for. 

Washington Race Track Grandstand ca. 1865

The largest commemoration event in Charleston occurred at Washington Race Track on May 1, 1865.  The Confederate Army had converted this large plantation and horse racing track (a true symbol of Southern wealth, power, and aristocracy) into an outdoor prison. Union soldiers were held in horrible conditions in the interior of the track and at least 257 died of disease and were buried in a mass grave behind the beautiful Italianate Grandstand.

At the conclusion of the war, the freedmen of Charleston went to the site, reburied the Union dead in a proper cemetery, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They painted the fence white and built an archway over the entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

      "For the Martyrs" 

Together with white missionaries and teachers, they staged a parade of over 10,000 on the mile long track. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing

 “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”
The parade was led by 3,000 African-American children carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.”  Hundreds of women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came marching freed men, followed by a brigade of Union infantry that included the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.  At the cemetery, a children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and many spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.  After the speeches many gathered for picnics and continued to watch soldiers drill.
"The 54th"
Listen to "John Brown's Body"
Frederick Douglass reminds us to never forget the true meaning of The Civil War (and Memorial Day)...a day of ideals!

“it was a war of ideas, a battle of principles...between the old and the new, slavery and freedom, barbarism and civilization ... and in dead earnest for something beyond the battlefield.”

Friday, May 24, 2013


"Remember the Maine!" - 1898 False Flag

"False Flags" are historical events or operations carried out (usually covertly) by governments, military, paramilitary or other organizations to appear as though they are being carried out by the enemy.  The purpose is to lie/ deceive citizens so that they will support the governments agenda, policies, and military actions.

USS Maddox - 1964 False Flag

But, why would the government lie to us and how many times have they lied to promote an agenda or start a war?!?  If you are interested in further reading or research, I would encourage you to investigate the annotated list of American False Flags!

1811- "Battle" of Tippecanoe
1830- Indian Removal/ Trail of Tears
1846- "American Blood on American Soil!" Mexican-American War
1851 to 1890- The American Indian "Wars"
1890- Ghost Dance/ Wounded Knee Massacre
 1898- "Remember the Maine!" Spanish-American War
1915- Lusitania Contraband
1940- The McCollum Memo
1948 - CIA Italian Elections
1953- CIA Iranian Coup
1961- CIA Greece Coup
1961- The Bay of Pigs
1962- Operation Northwoods
1964- Gulf of Tonkin Incident
1973- Wounded Knee Incident
1983- Invasion of Grenada
2003- Weapons of Mass Destruction
Today- Drone "Warfare"?


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Was JFK killed by a Pro-Castro, Marxist Sociopath, Lee Harvey Oswald, as the Warren Commission would like us to believe? Or was the assassination part of a much larger conspiracy that involved the mafia, CIA, FBI, and Cold War intrique?

As you know, one of President Kennedy's primary foreign policy goals was to overthrow Communist dictator Fidel Castro in Cuba.  The CIA led plots to assassinate Castro by using Mafia operatives and failed miserably by leading 1,500 Cuban exiles into the Bay of Pigs Fiasco in 1961.  Most assume that these assassination plots ended after agreements made with the USSR after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.  But, when Castro refused to allow UN officials in to inspect his missile sites Kennedy contiuned to plot the overthrow of Fidel and Raul Castro. 


The 1963 Kennedy - CIA plan to overthrow Castro was codenamed "AMWORLD" (declassified in 1999). It involved a coup led by members of the Cuban government -possibly Juan Almeida and Che Guevara. The members of the coup would then form a provisional government with Cuban exiles and invite the US military to help "restore order".

Unfortunately for JFK, AMWORLD was discovered by three Mafia bosses - Carlos Marcello (New Orleans), Santo Trafficante (Tampa) and Johnny Roselli (Chicago/ Hollywood/ Las Vegas) - who had ties to and infiltrated the CIA.  They used their knowledge of AMWORLD to plan JFK's  assassination with impunity.  A thorough government investigation into the JFK assassination would expose AMWORLD and lead America back to the brink of WWIII with Cuba and the Soviet Union.  AMWORLD was the perfect cover to kill JFK...everyone knew (including RFK) who (the mafia) killed JFK but had to remain silent to protect America's reputation and national security.
Carlos Marcello
"A dog will continue to bite you if you cut off its tail...but if you cut off the dog's would cease to cause trouble.  Yes, I had the son of a bitch killed. I'm glad I did. I'm sorry I couldn't have done it myself!"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Woodstock: The First Song

Listen to the first song performed at Woodstock - 1969

Richie Havens (one of my all-time favorite poet/ musicians) was the first artist to perform at The Woodstock Music & Art Festival in 1969.  The first song that he performed was "Minstrel from Gaul."  Here is my completely amateur interpretation of his song.

Minstrel From Gaul
Words by Richie Havens & Mark Roth

A minstrel came down from Gaul, with scores of tales to tell.
Some of them were true and some were false and some we knew too well.
It was told in fire, it was told in ice,
It was told a million times though it need not be told twice.
Verse 1 Interpretation: Minstrels were musicians who sang lyrics of far off places and "historical" events...A reference to 500 years of Roman war with and domination of Gaul (modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Germany). Gaul and it's language, culture, etc. were destroyed...where is The Roman Empire now?
A soldier came down from Dien Bien Phu, with silence in his eyes.
He told of many an evening when fire was the sky.
He told of many a morning when the bravest of men would cry,
Knowing, through Satan’s earthbound magic, many more would have to die.
Many more would have to die.
Verse 2 Interpretation: A reference to the very bloddy Battle of Dien Bien Phu...the final battle (March-May 1954) of the First Indochina War between the French Colonial Army (France had occupied Vietnam for nearly 100 years) and Vietnamese Viet Minh Communist forces. Historian Martin Windrow wrote that Dien Bien Phu was "the first time that a non-European independence movement (Viet Minh) had evolved from guerrilla warfare to a conventionally organized and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western Super Power (France). Havens also eludes to the fact that the battle would not be the end..."many more would have to die"...a clear reference to the American Vietnam War.

A man came down from Sinai Mountain,
with words of truth for us all.
How we bowed and knelt down,
How we worshipped well.
And when it came to listening,
We listened little, if at all,
If at all.

Verse 3 Interpretation: Here Havens recalls the story of Moses and The Ten "we worship the truth" but don't really listen/ learn anything from it at all.  What have we learned from war, occupations, past experiences, our Constitution and Bill of Rights, or the words "Thou shalt not kill"...

Monday, May 13, 2013

President Obama's Favorite "Quote"

The Oval Office
 A new rug (2010) in President Barack Obama's Oval Office contains 5 famous quotations woven into its curved edge, including this line from Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "How Long? Not Long!" and "Where Do We Go From Here?" speeches:

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Listen to the conclusion of the "How Long?  Not Long!" Speech
delivered at the end of The Selma to Montgomery March

In David Remnick's biography (published in 2010) of Barack Obama, "The Bridge," he attributes Dr. Martin Luther King's famous quote as "Barack Obama's favorite quotation."  The only problem is that they are not exactly Dr. King's words!  Dr. King often paraphrased and quoted these words (and he made no secret of it) from a long-dead abolitionist he deeply admired named Theodore Parker.

Theodore Parker

Who was Theodore Parker?  He was a Boston abolitionist and reformer (whose grandfather had led The Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington) who predicted the end of slavery in 1850 when he wrote:

"I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one.  My eye reaches but little ways.  I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight.  I can divine it by conscience.  And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice." 

Another familiar quote from Abraham Lincoln woven into President Obama's rug is "government of the people, by the people and for the people"...the well-known utterance from the close of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863. Interestingly in 1850, Parker wrote, 

"A democracy -- that is a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people."

Clearly, two of President Obama's favorite quotes come directly from Theodore Parker!  

If you were President what quotes would you put on the rug in the Oval Office?!? 

Footnote #1: MLK finished the "How Long? Not Long!" speech with words from the Battle Hymn of the Republic - a Union Civil War Anthem!

Footnote #2: MLK stood where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the CSA.

Footnote #3: Another great Theodore Parker (1853) quote..."The domestic function of the woman does not exhaust her powers... To make one half of the human race consume its energies in the functions of housekeeper, wife and mother is a monstrous waste of the most precious material God ever made."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Detroit Heard The Dream First

On August 28, 1963, thousands of people travelled to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to take part in The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  More than 10 speakers and singers brought messages of civil rights, economic justice, and racial harmony.  One of the most famous people sharing the stage at the Lincoln Memorial was Mahalia Jackson.  She was an internationally known singer known as "The Queen of Gospel".   She had first met and supported Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.

Mahalia Jackson

If Martin Luther King, Jr., had a favorite "opening act", it was Mahalia Jackson, she often performed by his side. Before Dr. King's speech, he requested that she sing the gospel classic "I've Been 'Buked, and I've Been Scorned."  About 10 minutes into his speech, Mahalia saw that Dr. King was struggling and needed a change of direction...she recalled a speech he had given earlier in the year in Detroit, Michigan.
Listen to the original "I Have A Dream" Speech
Detroit - June 23, 1963
And at that moment she shouted from behind the podium,
"Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream!"

And at that moment, Dr. King left his prepared notes behind to improvise the last 6 minutes of his speech—the greatest extemporaneous speech of all time!  "I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream..."

Watch and Listen!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dr. Vernon Johns: Prelude To A Dream

Dr. Vernon Johns
1892 - 1965
The Father of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Vernon Johns was an African-American civil rights leader and Baptist minister. His messages at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama were sometimes aggressive, accusatory, and shocking...but always "speaking the truth."  He was continually inspired by his mother's words, "If ever you see a good fight...get in it!"

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

Many times he criticized local whites for their Jim Crow racism and violence and his own church for passively standing by and letting things happen.  Many times his congregation refused his requests to sing "Go Down, Moses" and warned him to not make any trouble in his future sermons. 

Dr. Johns replied, "You are ashamed of what you were (slavery) , I'm ashamed of what you've become!"  

Paul Robeson sings "Go Down, Moses"

One of his most controversial sermons, came after a young woman from his church was raped.  They took her to the hospital, but Jim Crow Laws prevented the doctors from treating her.  In anger, Dr. Johns prepared a sermon entitled "When the Rapist is White." The governor of Alabama warned Dr. Johns that there could be consequences if he gave the sermon, but Dr. Johns ignored the governor.  Following this sermon, the church council asked, "Why don't he leave it alone?"

Later, a man tried to stop police from beating another black man and was shot and killed.  This murder inspired another historic message, "It's Safe to Murder Negroes in Montgomery." Again, the governor, a grand jury, and the KKK tried to stop the message, but he refused.

Watch James Earl Jones' brilliant portrayal of
Vernon Johns "Final Sermon"


Dr. Johns was asked to leave the church and was replaced by a "more traditional pastor"...26 year old Martin Luther King, Jr.  Oh, Dexter Avenue was in for a rude awakening!