Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Carrying on Dr. King's great struggle

"... For most of the past decade the field of education has been a battleground in the freedom struggle. It was not fortuitous that education became embroiled in this conflict. Education is one of the vital tools the Negro needs in order to advance. And yet it has been denied him by devises of segregation and manipulations with quality.' -- Dr. King's acceptance speech upon winning the John Dewey Award in 1964
Today marks the 84th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. On this day, one can't help but take note that despite all the rhetoric coming from the political leadership about education being "the civil rights issue of our generation" it's shocking how little has been accomplished in fulfilling Dr. King's vision of ed equity and desegregation, during these first 4 years of the Obama administration. If anything, public schooling has become even more racially segregated and certainly more privatized than at any point since MLK's death in 1968.

Here in Chicago, to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, we will be doing what Dr. King probably would have been doing on his birthday were he still alive. We'll be once again on the march to Save Our Schools at one of seven North, West and South side locations on Saturday, January 19th. We will be fighting for our communities, our students and our schools, and speaking out against the planned mass closing of public schools, primarily in under-served black and Latino neighborhoods.


 I am elated that Chicago's own great civil rights warrior, 94-year-old Professor Timuel Black, is getting some well-deserved recognition for his role on the front lines of the struggle. For those who don't know, Tim was Dr. King's point person here in Chicago in organizing the historic 1963 March on Washington. We will be  there to applaud him when he receives the Champion of Freedom award on Friday at the city's 27th Annual Interfaith Breakfast.

ABC News' Ron Majors reports:
He is a proud graduate of DuSable High School on the South Side. There, he is counted among the hall-of-famers. "In this building we had people like John H. Johnson, Harold Washington who became the first black Mayor, Nat King Cole. We used to be in the same classroom," said Black.  A few years after his high school experience, Black made another famous friend- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Black was so inspired, that he left a doctorate program at the University of Chicago to dedicate himself to civil rights work. He would become the Chicago chair of the 1963 March on Washington. "We organized the March on Washington over there in this neighborhood. Young people here in DuSable, participating in the organizing," said Black.
It's important to note that Tim led a fight to save his beloved DuSable from the chopping block. The school was turned over to private charter operators in 2005 as part of Daley/Duncan's disastrous Renaissance 2010.


  1. I love that speech. Why doesn't the UFT carry it on their website?


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.