This post is another fond remembrance of my Dad. Who had the unfortunate task of raising me as a son. I was that kind of kid who questioned everything..But mostly the “Jim crow” apartheid system he was forced to make a life for his family under. Like a lot of young “newly militant” people of that time we made the stupid mistake of thinking that because our parents took up the challenge to take care of their families even in that evil system. That it meant that our parents were somehow “okay” with being 3rd class citizens in our own country…It took a lot of growing up for me to see that my Dad fought me so hard about joining SNCC, about joining the Black Panther Party..about going to Africa..was because every person he had ever known who openly challenged the “status quo” of white supremacy …..was dead..And not just him, as I grew older it seemed almost every family had a tale of somebody who had challenged the way things were …back in the 1920s..or during WW II or even back in WW I..those stories all ended with a person who died under “strange circumstances” like my Dad’s father..or had to secretly leave town “forever” like my Moms Uncle Arthur..or sometimes they just hung you from a tree..My Father fought me on those things out of love…….and fear. When he passed away in 1984 …I found out from my brother and from my Dad’s old army buddies that he not only gave money secretly to SCLC and SNCC..but that at night when he drank with his VFW buddies he would brag about his son who had the “whiteys” so scared…it’s awful that I didn’t really know that side of my father while he was alive. But when I talk about him today I always mention the guts and bravery it took to dare to just take good care of your family in that awful time that I grew up in..This picture is from the late fortys or early 50s…my Dad walking to work in downtown Atlanta. He was the Chef in a white Restaurant that he was NOT allowed to eat at himself…He once during the civil rights movement beginnings told me about how he saw all the Black students picketing the place..and getting beaten up by the cops…He made me and my sister promise that we would never get involved . what he didn’t know is that I already knew them all…But what I didn’t know it that it was not lost of Dad that he cooked there all day long and could never bring his family in for a meal…Dad helped to bail out several of those people…that was called “The Atlanta Student Movement”.. Those people….those parents were ALL heroes.And I salute ALL the Black fathers of those times..and a profound apology to my Father.
This is one of my favorite historical pictures of all time ….This is Gloria Richardson…and she was one of Malcolm X’s heroes …Gloria Hayes Richardson was born on May 6, 1922 in Baltimore, Maryland to parents John and Mabel Hayes. During the Great Depression her parents moved the family to Cambridge, Maryland, the home of Mabel Hayes. Young Gloria grew up in a privileged environment. Her grandfather, Herbert M. St. Clair, was one of the town’s wealthiest citizens. He owned numerous properties in the city’s Second Ward which included a funeral parlor, grocery store and butcher shop. He was also the sole African American member of the Cambridge City Council through most of the early 20th Century.
Gloria attended Howard University in Washington at the age of 16 and graduated in 1942 with a degree in sociology. After Howard, she worked as a civil servant for the federal government in World War II-era Washington, D.C. but returned to Cambridge after the war. Despite her grandfather’s political and economic influence, the Maryland Department of Social Services, for example, refused to hire Gloria or any other black social workers. Gloria Hayes married local school teacher Harry Richardson in 1948 and raised a family for the next thirteen years.
When the civil rights movement came to Cambridge in 1961 in the form of Freedom Riders, the town was thoroughly segregated and the African American unemployment rate was 40%. Gloria Richardson’s teenage daughter, Donna, became involved with the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) effort to desegregate public accommodations. Gloria, however, refused to commit herself to non-violence as a protest tactic.
When the SNCC-led protests faltered in 1962, Gloria and other parents created the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC) which became the only adult-led SNCC affiliate in the civil rights organization’s history. CNAC enlarged the scope of grievances to include housing and employment discrimination and inadequate health care. Richardson was selected to lead CNAC.
This Richardson-led effort differed from most other civil rights campaigns of the era. It took place in a border state rather than the Deep South. It addressed a much wider array of issues rather than the one or two that motivated other campaigns. Since Richardson and her followers refused to commit to non-violence as a philosophy or a tactic, CNAC protests were far more violent and confrontative. Protests in 1963, for example, prompted Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes to send in the Maryland National Guard. The Guard remained in the city, which was effectively under martial law, for nearly a year. The Cambridge Movement also drew the attention of U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy who unsuccessfully attempted to broker an agreement between Cambridge’s white political leaders and Richardson’s CNAC.
By the summer of 1964 Richardson resigned from the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee citing her exhaustion from leading nearly two years of continuous demonstrations. Richardson, who had divorced Harry Richardson in the late 1950s, married freelance photographer Frank Dandridge. The couple moved to New York City with Richardson’s younger daughter Tamara.
Why am I posting a picture like this you might ask. I’m Tim Hayes ..the guy that the chief of police in Atlanta Georgia. Herbert Jenkins .once described as a “mad dog cop killer”…That was when I was the founder of and for a while until I left for Cuba and Africa the Captain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Black Panther Party.. But The fact that after those days I like to consider myself an honest historian. Meaning when you speak of history …you have to say what your research has revealed ….whether you like it or not or whether it fits your preferred world view or not. That’s what separates real historians from hacks….and there are a lot of hacks out there…The history of Black community relations with city police forces for the most part has been a history of an “occupying force” rather than people who are there to “protect and serve”…But I know from over fifty years of observation that there really are decent people out there who wear the blue suit…When I got the worst beating of my life..by a cop….and I have gotten several, it took two rookie cops to come and pull the sadistic pig Sgt.. Eldren Bell off of me…he still managed to crack my skull..The officer who took care of me later and got me medical attention.. Later sued the Atlanta police Dept. for police brutality…his name was DeWitt Smith…I will never forget him..that was 1970…Since that time I have seen that the culture of the urban American police officer has changed very little..They usually don’t tell when a fellow officer ignores someone’s rights…and most of the times when they do they get ugly treatment from their co-workers. But there are real people on the police force who step up from time to time and many of them have been people I know ..or the child of someone I know…and one of the most decent people I know is a nephew of mine who is an officer in Georgia…so yes we should keep shedding the light on those pigs on the force who abuse the people they are sworn to protect..but we also need to help create a culture where those people on the police force who REALLY are there to “protect and serve” are more willing to step up when they are protecting one of us from one of their co-workers…..I know I will get a lot of flack for this….I just had a talk with a Philadelphia policeman who I know from my days as a counselor at Olney High School in Philly where he was student..he will be reporting another officer tonight for assaulting a woman he had already arrested …I wish him well..oh yes and by the way ….I never killed a police officer.
One of the things that has really bothered me in this crazy election year. has been the way so many people become victim to the “bandwagon” mentality. If something becomes popular with enough people to reach a certain “critical mass” then it becomes something many people think they just have to do, or think, or at least try to say they believe in. I mean you can’t be considered “hip” or cool unless you embrace certain ways of seeing things or making certain “talking points” a part of your normal conversation.No matter how stupid..if enough people think it’s cool ..you say it too..Among many Black people this had lead to a type of anti-intellectualism . You shut down critical analysis because it just “ain’t cool” any more.One of the ways this manifests itself in today’s world is the “I’m tired of hearing about slavery” crowd..I consider this a childish and backward rejection of a part of our history that still affects us more than any. While I understand why one would say this, from my experience to make such a statement has more to do with ones sense of “racial self esteem”..As Important as it is to study the complete Black Historical experience..from pre-history to now. We still are being influenced by the experience of slavery as a people ..and as a nation… I was a part of that generation that while maybe not the first but certainly was the first in mass to begin to study and research Black History beyond the time of slavery. Fifty years ago we were making pilgrimages to west Africa, saving up to go to Ethiopia, Somalia, Seeing sites in the Middle East. I went to Algeria, and Israel , and Tunisia as well yes Egypt. in search of Black History before slavery. I wanted to find out as much as i could about Moorish history and religion. Important stuff, true. What this all lead me back to is that we still don’t have a really complete understanding of the psychological impact of slavery. or the long lasting pathology that causes us as Black people to act out is some ways over and over in generation after generation. I’m tired of hearing people say “I don’t want to see any more movies about slavery.” Well true there is a lot more to our story than that……a lot more. And I would like to see more films and published studies on Pre-slavery Black history. But we have only scratched the surface of the peculiar institution of slavery. So yes I’m looking forward to another film that deals with slavery…but this one..called “Birth of a Nation” deals with a part of the slave experience most of the films have stayed away from….Rebellion…so it may turn out to be a good film….and it may not. But that anti-intellectual bullshit about “I don’t want to see another slave film” will not keep me out of the theater..to see the trailer use this link.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIlUerVomDE
JUST IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW. Donald Trump has now called himself the “Law and Order” candidate..and has said at least three times that Law and order will be the “hallmark” of his presidency. Well I remember very well the last time a person ran for president as the “law and order” president…1968. This person used the fact that people were organizing in mass movements to protest an unjust war. The fact that the civil rights movement had grown to the point of addressing economic issues and foreign policy. A national organization born of the struggle to end police brutality and fight the militarization of police forces had grown to take on many of the responsibilities that aid to dependent children should have been taking on…was demonized and had hundreds of it’s members vilified ..murdered..incarcerated ..framed..This person used all those things happening in our country to scare the shit out of the majority of white Americans… won that election….turned the Presidency into an Imperial office..literally formed a separate government agency for the purpose of cheating in the re-election campaign, stole the re-election …got caught by it’s own arrogance and the President ended up having to resign in disgrace…Guess what ?? last night the republicans put up another “Law and order” candidate…And rather than seeing how this is happening …many alleged “progressives” are still bathing in the “sour grapes” of not getting the nomination for their “darling ” candidate….they need to shut the hell up and join us in some serious work we all need to do..
As I begin writing this it is Sunday morning. All the news shows on TV are doing stories on the Dallas police shootings..and just as I was getting my coffee the kitchen radio tells me that there have been several incidents of “police ambush”…This sends a horrible chill up and down my spine….for reasons I will get into later. First let’s set the stage. In the last few days seemingly back to back we have had a Black man shot, on camera, lying down, subdued with two huge white men on top of him and suddenly he is shot several times. Then the next morning we see a video of a desperate Black woman with a baby in her car. And next to her is a Black man in a Bloody shirt, and as the scene goes on we see a policeman still pointing a gun inside the car as the woman, who remarkably managed to remain calm tells us and the now screaming officer that she thinks her “boyfriend” is dead. For me it seems just hours later that I find out that while I was sleeping ( I’m on a lot of meds because I am dealing with a cardio/pulmonary condition ) What at first seemed like several gun-toting people had shot more than several police officers during a “Black Lives Matter” rally ..killing at least five. .I am in my mid sixties….we have been here before. The years 1969 and 1970 were some fierce times. Police brutality and abuse have led to the formation of the Black Panther Party a few years before. The Party started out as a reaction to police brutality and cruelty in the extreme..And yes, the police were what we in those days called “trigger happy”..I feel compelled here to say that even in those days there were police officers who felt bewildered by the behavior of their fellow officers. And in the part of the country where I lived every year you would hear about some officer who “broke the code” and complained about excessive force used by some other officer…most of the time these people ended up leaving the force. We began to hear about these “whistle blowing” cops less and less…I now assume that it does not happen any more..The Black Panther Party in the beginning would follow police around, and when the police stopped a driver or confronted a citizen for any reason we would observe the situation and make sure the police followed procedure. This alone could be called a revolutionary action…in case you don’t know…..it got a lot worse. As the years went on the government began to position itself more and more in opposition to the BPP. We began to be raided ..ambushed and murdered at an alarming rate….and as time went on partially out of frustration but we know now partially because of people planted among us for the purpose of agent provocateur. There came to be people who wanted to declare “war” on police…punish them for every incident of abuse….Now let me say here that this is NOT a history of the Black Panther Party…I’m just setting the stage to tell you about how some very specific events came to happen. By late 1969, I began to meet people..some had been in the BPP at some point often having been thrown out…but even more who had never been a part of the Party. People who were trying to form underground armies..and Police assassination brigades. And yes …some people who I knew or had met actually carried out some of these actions..the most spectacular was when police were called to an address and got there and picked up a package in the room and it exploded. I was told later that this was an “initiation”..There are many of these people still being hunted by the government today…This is the memory that sent waves of fear through my body..Because I remember what happened after that…it became open season on Black activist of all kinds. I lost many really good friends and many people including myself went into exile moving to Cuba, parts of Africa and the Middle Eastand to South America …..some live there still ..in places I won’t talk about….did it make police behave any better toward citizens ? …..no…What it taught us is that when you live inside the cruelist most violent country in the world ..that society will spare no expense to preserve the status quo…and will throw both caution and morality out the window..to crush what opposes it. These actions brought down on even peaceful “non-violent” activists The full wrath of American Law enforcement. Well over a hundred people were killed who had NOTHING to do with any police ambush action..No little brigade of nuts who hate cops and start shooting them, ambushing them will succeed at changing the behavior of what we used to call the “Occupation army” of the oppressor…Okay that’s just one small part of what needs to be said before the idea to some how to retaliate against the police takes hold of some poor soul…it’s a road we have traveled down before…and I remember the consequences too well. There is more to say about the events of the last few days …For instance what’s broken with our police force and how or can we fix it…That’s tomorrow
I don’t remember the date, it was in September of 1970, I knew I was hungry, as I had almost nothing to eat the day before. Not an unusual thing in those days when I was full time in the Black Panther Party. On the streets of Atlanta Georgia, I had decided to go to Chestnut and Fair Street, in the center of the Black College complex. Clark College on one corner Spelman College a block away Morehouse College where I was technically still a student on the opposite corner. I was standing there trying to sell Black Panther News Papers. If I sold enough to cover the cost of food for the Free breakfast program I would be able to keep what ever was left for myself. I was busy trying to sell a paper to a really pretty Clark College girl and didn’t notice until I turned around that there was this really tall guy standing right next to me. After I sold a paper to a passing car I noticed the look on the face of the buyer when he looked at the tall guy. I stepped back on the sidewalk and looked up and sure enough it was Muhammad Ali. It was him who struck up a conversation. He said how he respected the BPP and the work we did and was sorry that he had not done more to donate money to our community programs. I told him that we all knew what he was going through, and that to us he was always the “People”s Champion” we went into a lot of subjects Like Abdul Nassar who had just died and how the new Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was a real Egyptian …a Black man and not an Arab. I told him that it meant a lot to many of us that he had taken this stance on the war.Ali kept saying that he had not planned any of this…he just had to do what he thought was the right thing…”suppose ” he said ..”when they grow up …my kids ask me what did I do about this” …”I don’t want to have to say I did nothing ” simple words …but I knew exactly what he meant….You have to understand that during the time Ali had been suspended from boxing the number of Black as well as non-Black men drafted to go and fight that war had grown enormously This was over forty five years ago so a lot of the words have faded away. But what got me was after about ten minutes somebody across the street said “HEY LOOK ….IT’S ALI “..all of a sudden his voice changed, his posture changed, he began to speak more in a “ghetto dialect” and got really loud.It was like a switch was thrown and he turned on his other persona….I think in that moment I learned more about him that in any of his interviews ….he knew who he was, he knew what he was. I knew in that one second that Ali was not being manipulated by Malcolm or Elijah Muhammad. Within seconds there were dozens of people ….trying to get close to Ali. I noticed that a bright yellow limo drove up..Ali pushed through the crowd ..gave me a ten dollar bill..I gave him the Black Panther newspaper, he got in the car and was gone. I found out a few minutes later that Ali had been using the gym at Morehouse College to train for his up coming comeback fight..against Jerry Quarry…it was an easy win about a month later. A lot of things happened to me during those Black Panther years but this day is one memory that I treasure…To guys in my generation maybe Stokely may have made Black what we called ourselves..but it was Ali who maybe not alone but in terms of the loudest voice, taught us how to BE Black men and women…real Black men and women…We were under no obligation to aide America in it’s imperialism …and it fact had more in common with the people America wanted us to kill…The most powerful words spoken by a Black American ..ever, were “NO VIET CONG EVER CALLED ME NIGGER” This took what we were still calling a “civil rights” movement and turned it into something much bigger. That’s what Malcolm died trying to do…it’s what MLK came to embrace at the end of his life…and despite all the money and being the “worlds most famous person” This is and will be what made Muhammad Ali….”The Greatest”…don’t have to tell Ali to “rest in power”…..we know he is.
I actually wrote this one morning two years ago but a friend of mine saw it recently and suggested that this remembrance belonged here……May 26th 2014…I woke from a fitful dream this morning , in my sleep I kept seeing guys I knew who never came back from the war Viet Nam..in that way that dreams can be, some of them were real guys that I knew in high school or from my “hood” but some of them were just faces. I think it’s because I went to sleep with the TV on and there was so much stuff on about Memorial day… But yes I knew a lot of guys and even a few women who went to “the NAM” many never came back. As high school was ending for me and my generation, you had many people who lived in complete fear of the day they would get “called up” in the draft to go fight that war To be honest I also grew up with guys who grew up watching all those WW II movies with John Wayne and Audie Murphy..( I know none of you young people know who Audie Murphy was…do what you do best google him) and these people could not wait to get in uniform and go fight and kill some communists. You have to understand that everybody I mean EVERYBODIES Dad had fought in WW II in fact you could not buy a house in our neighborhood unless you were a veteran. Also I have to mention that not as many Black men went to college as they do today some didn’t have the grades , even more could not afford it. I was in that few who were sought out by the colleges both Black and White. We didn’t have Affirmative Action back then so all the big white colleges would literally hunt down Black “super students” …you only needed two or three in your school then no one could say Cornell , or Dartmouth were “racist” ..but you really had to be that “super student” ten times better than the white student to be what we called in those days “the nigger who sat by the door”..I didn’t have the best grades but in my IQ tests I scored in the 160s ..by the time I was in 11th grade it was not unusual for there to be a big black car sitting in front of my parents house when I got home from school two or three times a week ..all asking us to sign an agreement for me to go to their University … I don’t say this to brag .in fact it was a curse that inflicted a lot of pain on my parents and to this day colors the relationships I have with my siblings. But that’s a story for another day, the point here is that I seemed to be in a position to not be “cannon fodder” in that war….But they got a lot of us…I feel bad about it today that the stupid young man I was would make fun of these guys..”hey man you a little brown guy who is treated like shit in your own country going off to kill little brown guys on the other side of the world who just want to run their own country, man you’re a complete fool”. That was easy for me to say …I would have a student deferment and would not have to go…or so I thought ..that’s another story too for another day or for my blog. But the point here is Uncle Sam took a lot of boys through no fault of their own .Money and class for the most part decided if you had to go or not.0ver 58,000 never came back.. and today I salute every single one of them. This picture is of a statue that sits in the park where the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial is….I kind of like it ..look closely at the soldiers faces ….I think it says it all.
When time permits I have been writing here for a few years. Today I was asked for a “bio” by a group that will put me on a panel discussion about a new book dealing with the civil rights movement. I also realized that I had never done that here…so from now on I guess this little blurb that we put together this morning will be my “official” bio. Tim Hayes has been an activist all his life. Inspired by the freedom riders in 1961, Tim still in elementary school sought them out. Even sneaking out of his Mothers church on Sundays to attend meetings of the Atlanta Student Movement. Later Tim spent most of his high school years following the older members of the new organization SNCC. Just doing anything he could just to be around them and a part of the organization. Making coffee , getting sandwiches ,or what ever it took.In January of 1965 while on a trip to New York for the National Science fair. Tim met and talked with Malcolm X . Who he had seen speak several times in Atlanta but had never got a chance to actually meet. This was where Tim got the idea that the civil rights movement was really only a small part of an international struggle to rid the world of Imperialism and colonialism. In March of 1965 Tim was allowed to go on his first real civil rights demonstration. He was a part of the group who marched across that bridge in Selma Alabama on “Bloody Sunday”. On that day he was teargassed and beaten and was run over by a horse before getting away. After high school Tim attended Morehouse College and Yale Univ.. But dropped out when he was asked to join the Black Panther Party . This was directly related to the words he remembered from Malcolm X. Tim founded the Atlanta Ga. chapter of the party and worked in the Chicago , New Haven, and Los Angeles chapters and several offices in New York city..The Black Panthers were an organization that developed solidarity with most of the liberation movements in Africa and Asia at the time.Tim used this opportunity to visit and work in many countries , Cuba, Angola, North Viet Nam and Israel/Palestine.During this time he dug wells in Guinea, inoculated children against TB in Angola during the middle of the war for liberation there and spent time in an Israeli prison under some of the harshest conditions you can imagine. When Tim decided he wanted to settle down and have a normal life and raise children. He found this was impossible to do in his home town of Atlanta Ga. It seemed that he was simply too well known by law enforcement to just be a “regular” citizen. So he moved to Philadelphia in 1973..Taking jobs first in drug rehabilitation and then with the Philadelphia board of education. When Tim moved to the Germantown area in 1978 he found his new mission . and has mostly devoted his time to voter education and registration.And from time to time if the candidate inspires him he works in political campaigns most notably the Irv Ackelsberg and Sherrie Cohen city council campaigns. In 2014 Tim registered over 4000 voters in the Philadelphia area..Today Tim spends most of his time trying to be a good grand father and still plays music with among others the legendary Philadelphia band Philly Gumbo.
It’s Saturday morning March 7th 2015, I’m listening in the background to all the newscasters and politicians give their take on the events that happened one morning 50 years ago today. Since the recent film “Selma” was released the subject “Bloody Sunday” has been talked and talked about…and in more than one forum I have talked about how I was there. I was there for the Bloody Sunday attempted march but I was not there for the two marches that came later. it’s strange how when you are in the middle of an event that will become history..or in this case almost legend, you don’t really think of it in that way. I was very young, in my mid teens. I had been an admirer of the college students who became the “freedom riders” since 1961..they replaced ,TV cowboys and Superman as my heroes..Names like Diane Nash, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. James Bevel, Jesse Harris there were many more names but the two who would inspire young Tim Hayes the most at that time where C.T. Vivian and and John Lewis and the people who would later become SNCC. I was in grade school when the Freedom Riders became my heroes in 1961 ..after the Atlanta student movement and the sit ins in the Carolina began. Black student mobilization gained a momentum that was unstoppable. I began to read about SNCC almost every week. And since I lived in the capitol of the old South and it’s largest city Atlanta, Ga. there was plenty to read about. Atlanta is also a city with several historically Black Colleges and Universities Morehouse, Spelman, Morris Brown and more. And it was only a matter of time until the Black Student arm of the civil rights movement would become centered there. I began to hang around these people as much as I could..and as I grew and got older I heard and observed many things..One thing that impressed me the most as a youngster was how SNNC was not governed from the top down…but in the meetings I was sometime able to attend or at least listen from outside these people who were really not that much older than I was, became committed to a type of participatory Democracy….ruling by consensus as described here from a Wike article…. ” SNCC was unusual among civil rights groups in the way in which decisions were made. Instead of “top down” control, as was the case with most organizations at that time, decisions in SNCC were made by consensus, called participatory democracy. Ms. Ella Baker was extremely influential in establishing that model, as was Rev. James Lawson. Group meetings would be convened in which every participant could speak for as long as they wanted and the meeting would continue until everyone who was left was in agreement with the decision. Because activities were often very dangerous and could lead to prison or death, SNCC wanted all participants to support each activity” ….By the time I was in my mid-teens I was just itching to go on a real march or get in the field and do some real work…In 1965 I was still in High School..and in fact on that Sunday in March 1965..I had to sneak out of my parents house to catch the ride to Selma. Before I got there all I really knew was the James Bevel a SCLC operative who has been organizing in Selma wanted this march to happen …and that most of SCLC did not like the timing..But after the death of Jimmy Lee Jackson at the hands of a State Trooper during a small peaceful march…Bevel and other people decided that the March was on…John Lewis of SNCC along with Hosea Williams of SCLC were at the head of the march..I was actually surprised to see that Andrew Young who I did not know at that time but I knew what his position in SCLC was there..as we had all been told that MLK did not approve of this march…Voting rights was the call for this time for us and the Selma Voting Rights Movement was intended to be a model for other communities in the South as we pressed for a voting rights act…Well the rest is well known and was portrayed very well in the film “Selma” We marched across that Edmond Pettus Bridge on U.S. Highway 80 ..and then we were stopped,.. they made an announcement that we were to disperse …and I remember the words from a bull horn saying “I have nothing further to say to you” then they walked towards us slowly at first and then faster …then the gas came..the way I remember it was a woman screamed, then I saw the people in front of me falling down, then I was struck in the head and fell down, shortly after that as I tried to get up and help a lady who had fallen something almost crushed my ankle..I looked up and saw that it was horse..the white people who were standing on the sidewalks were clapping their hands and cheering..those of us who had not started running back across the bridge helped other people to their feet …..and we ran …and we ran ..and we ran….most of us who were no locals .met back at the church where we had started out from..there was cursing, and crying, and there were men and women who went home to get guns…I went back inside ..limping as my ankle was injured ..even then I wondered what my parents would say when I got back home….Those were the events of March 7th 1965 as I can best recall them….All this began over the right to vote ..and the hopes of a Voting Rights Law that we could count on to serve us for the ages….As people today seem to be jumping on a bandwagon to be seen observing this day….what I think of mostly ….the brave local people of Selma who put there lives at risk …on that day and the next….and it really pisses me off that many of the people who are trying to dismantle the hard won Voting Rights Act are today going to observances of Bloody Sunday …like they actually give a damn ..This is just a lesson that the struggle is never really over..we have to maintain a constant vigil ..if we want to maintain our hard won rights