America prepares to celebrate life,
influence Martin Luther King Jr.

A true ‘Drum Major for Justice’

By Merdies Hayes

Editor in chief

For much of one-half century, the policies and ideology of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have been espoused and renounced, adopted and co-opted by practically every socio-political movement the world over. Americans, rightly, consider him as their benevolent representative of peaceful social change-a latter-day Gandhi in terms of reshaping the public landscape-whose brief and fateful sojourn would force this nation to look inward toward a more perfect union.

No longer does America solely celebrate King’s life and work. The world has come to recognize the Nobel Laureate as a clear example of a people’s inevitable conquest over tyranny and injustice. The fall of the Soviet Union, the protests at Tiananmen Square, the Arab Spring and to a lesser degree the Black Lives Matter movement can serve as individual examples-some successful, others less so-of the power and lure of human rights and individual dignity in the face of oppression and discrimination. King worked until his death to illuminate how organization, communication and, most vital to his work, the construct of love of your fellow man can help to overcome even the most entrenched bigotry and racism.

Finding the “Strength to Love”

King’s 1963 book, “Strength to Love,” is a stellar literary example of how one must have what the opening chapter explains as “A Tough Mind and A Tender Heart.” In this chapter, King spells out why it is so important for any social movement of advancement to develop a strategy of incisive thinking, realistic appraisal and decisive judgment. There were no easy answers during the Civil Rights Movement. Everyone involved in America’s social revolution had to contend with half-truths, false facts and prejudices spewed forth to derail a movement bent on upending the nation’s ingrained subjugation of African Americans.

Martin Luther King’s legacy lives on today. His powers of persuasion, his eloquent presentation and his adamant adherence to love continue to resonate loudly throughout the world.

A look at the legacy of Barack Obama

By David L. Horne

OW Contributor

In 2010, a Siena College Research Institute survey ranked then President Obama number 15 of 43 previous U.S. presidents. A 2012 NewsWeek survey ranked Obama as number 10 among the 43 previous presidents. Nate Silver’s 2013 survey, based on an amalgamation of various rankings, put Obama at number 17 among previous presidents. A very recent survey of 391 presidential scholars and experts in politics, as members of the American Political Science Association, ranked him as the 18th most successful U.S. president. In February 2015, the Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, also ranked Obama 18th. Coincidentally, George W. Bush, currently ranked the worst U.S. President of all, thinks that Donald Trump, will replace him as the worst.

In one of his final interviews, President Obama said that being president was akin to being a relay runner: you get elected, take the baton and run your part of the race as best you can, and hopefully gain or hold a lead, then pass the baton off to the president next in line. The presidency is about successfully handling your part of the race, then moving on.

Did President Obama run his segment successfully?

He had all the elements thrown at him to thwart him: rain, sleet, mud, ice, and a unified, obdurate Republican Party willing to trip him, push him and otherwise block his way. He was jostled more than once by other runners.

There were no scandals. There were no demonstrations of faulty manners or bad behavior. The president remained a statesman, an effective leader, a strong symbol of confidence and skilled knowledge for generations of Black Americans and global Africans.

Did Mr. Obama lay down a worthy set of tracks to follow and to be proud of for young people?

Indeed, he did. He and we can be proud of what he and his family accomplished for us all.

Backbone
of America

Black contribution to the history of our nation

By OW Staff

Every February, African Americans and the nation alike, take the month to reflect upon the history of Black people in these United States. From the beginnings of slavery to the election of the first African American president, Black people have made many strides along the way and have certainly made their mark in the annals of American history.

In recognition, OurWeekly did a four-part series on the 15 most pivotal aspects of Black History. This issue explores Civil Rights, Culture and Migration.

Civil Rights

Because of the Civil Rights Act, many laws have been passed to guarantee civil rights to all Americans, but the struggle continues for Blacks, women, Hispanics, Asian Americans, people with disabilities, the LGBT community and the homeless. What began primarily as a remedy for past injustices placed on African Americans has transformed into a panoply of laws that provide a redress of grievances for all Americans who may suffer under the indignity of discrimination.

Music

Music is arguably one of the most central aspects of African-American culture. Rooted in the typically polyrhythmic sounds of the ethnic groups in Africa, this art form is ever expanding and has been influencing society as a whole since its American beginnings when slaves blended traditional European hymns with African elements to create spirituals.

Hair

Since the beginning of African civilizations, hairstyles have been used to convey messages to society. As early as the 15th century, different styles could indicate a person’s marital status, age, religion, ethnic identity, wealth and rank within the community. Hair maintenance in traditional Africa was aimed at creating a sense of beauty.

A perfect
political storm

Political scientists attempt to explain the November election surprise

“… people in both camps thought-reasonably so-that Trump simply could not overcome his apparently abhorrent record with women, or his numerous gaffes, rants and tweet storms, or the constant dysfunction and turnover in his campaign team,” said Davin Phoenix, assistant professor of Political Science at U.C. Irvine.

Political scientist Robert Smith at San Francisco State University was one of the few who considered the possibility of a Trump victory (as President of the United States.

This particular political development may thusly be the result of, in Smith’s words, a “…perception that Obama pushed things too far.”

GOP faithful, Smith points out, kept the scandal of Clinton’s supposed link to the Benghazi, Libya, massacre at an American consulate.

Even after the former Secretary of State was cleared of wrongdoing, the implication that she was deceitful was firmly planted among eligible voters.

Smith summarizes that this solidified “… the underlying narrative that she was dishonest.”

His colleague across town at the University of San Francisco, James Lance Taylor voiced the same sentiment, about the pendulum swinging back referencing the rise of Ronald Reagan immediately after the gains in equality by the Civil Rights Movement.

“We’ve seen this before,” Taylor believes. “Demagogic, charismatic personalities are not uncommon in American political history,” he continues.

Taylor categorizes David Duke, Sarah Palin, Al Sharpton, Strom Thurman, and the immortal Huey Long in his list of notables, who could be considered demagogs like Trump.

Yet and still, all the tangible data pointed to another Clinton victory, in this case Hillary’s.

Christopher Sebastian Parker of the University of Washington: “First, they underestimated the extent to which many Whites were alarmed by the presence of a Black man in the White House. Second, they underestimated the degree to which the same constituency would reject a female commander-in-chief.”

“Let’s face it: the president is the face of the country, America personified,” added. “It was just too much for them to have a non-White male in the White House. Period.”