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Opinion Blogs
50 Years later
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50 Years later

50 Years later
Photo Credit: AFP
(FILES) US civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (C) waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC (Washington Monument in background) during the "March on Washington". 28 August marks the 40th anniversary of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Martin Luther King was assassinated on 04 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray confessed to shooting King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

50 Years later

His leadership led to our opportunities.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. truly spoke for all black people, because we were all unified behind one purpose. That was equal justice and liberty for all, and no one did more to bring it about than Dr. King.

Today, there is no one leader who speaks for all black people, and that includes Barack Obama. He is the president of the United States, but he does not speak for all black people. This is as it should be, because one aspect of the freedom for which Dr. King fought is that no single leader should be able to tell all black people how to think or how to live. And anyone who claims to speak for all black people is a fraud.

Leadership is important, of course, and I want young black people to look to accomplished, responsible, informed black Americans for an example and for insight on how they might build happy and successful futures for themselves. A problem for young blacks, however, is that the most responsible and informed voices are not necessarily the ones you often see on television. They are not the ones who show up when there is racial strife and controversy, but rather the ones who are working hard every day to make the most of the opportunities Dr. King helped to give us.

I am happy to see the commemorations of the 1963 March on Washington, but I am a little disappointed that most of the speakers there will be politicians and activists, and that the tone coming from this event is as though it were still 1963, and that Dr. King's sacrifices have not borne any fruit. It made me angry when I heard Jesse Jackson the other day compare the Tea Party to the defenders of Jim Crow, because a) I have spoken at many Tea Party rallies and no one has ever treated me as anything other than an American; and b) Jesse Jackson should be better than the cheap tactic of marginalizing every political opponent with the false smear of racism. If he had any confidence in his beliefs, he would not do that.

So let me introduce you to some of my friends, informed black Americans who are Dr. King's legacy and who can serve as excellent examples of leadership for young blacks who also want to become the fruit of what Dr. King worked so hard to achieve. They are:

Harry Alford – President of the National Black Chamber of Commerce

Ken Blackwell – Former Attorney General of Ohio and former mayor of Cincinnati.  He sits on several boards and is a Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council.

Dr. Ben Carson – Retired pediatric neurosurgeon from John Hopkins and political commentator.  Dr. Carson is a quiet and brilliant man, who is unafraid to tell it like it is!

Niger Innis – President of CORE (Council on Racial Equality) and Chief Strategist for the Tea Party Patriots

Dr. Alveda King – Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and political activist.  Her main focus is working with Priests for Life in protecting the life of the unborn.

Star Parker – Founder of CURE (Center for Urban Renewal and Education) and syndicated columnist.  She has been active in Republican politics and conservative issues since 1995.

Colonel Allen West – Former congressman from Florida, retired Army and political activist for conservative issues.

Armstrong Williams -  American Black Conservative political commentator and host of national syndicated TV program “The Right Side.”

Walter Williams – Distinguished Professor of  Economics at George Mason University, as well as a syndicated columnist and author. Known for his libertarian/conservative views.

State Senator Elbert Gillory, R-LA – Recently switched parties from Democrat to Republican.  Outspoken and up and coming in the Republican Party.

Frances Rice – Chairman of the National Black Republican Association.  Mrs. Rice is also a retired U.S. Army Colonel and a terrific spokesperson for conservative issues.

Senator Tim Scott, R-SC:  First black elected Senator in U.S. history!  Senator Scott works tirelessly for the causes of conservatism.

Mia Love – Current mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.  She is considering another run for Congress to unseat Rep. Jim Matheson (R) who has held his seat for over ten years. Mia is a staunch Republican and someone to watch in the future of the Republican party.

J.C. Watts - Former congressman from Oklahoma.

They all believe in the Constitution of the United States of America. They all believe in our free market system. They believe in freedom, not free stuff. They believe in individual responsibility.

That’s what they all have in common, and they happen to all be black voices. They are the ones that more of us need to listen to. In 1964, the civil liberties no-fly zone was lifted, thanks to the sacrifices, speeches and marches of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, equal opportunity is pursued in the trenches, in your community, in your place of employment. The promised land of equal opportunity did not promise equal results. That’s where the divisive people get it wrong.

I do a lot of speaking all over the country. I’m going to be speaking at Yale next week. I often get asked when I’m out on the trail, “Mr. Cain, you graduated from college in the late ‘60s on the heels of 1964, and you have succeeded at climbing the corporate ladder. How did you deal with discrimination and being black as you pursued those achievements?"

I’ve gotten that question more than once. My answer has always been, first of all, I didn’t have to deal with my blackness. The people who didn’t like the fact that I was black, they had to deal with my blackness. I didn’t go to work every day flaunting my blackness. I went into work focusing on what I needed to do to achieve results.

Was there discrimination as I climbed the corporate ladder? Yes, but I didn’t focus on it. I allowed resentment to be someone else’s problem.

I was too busy trying to be happy in the pursuit of my own American dream for myself and my family, not worrying about barriers in the mind of others that hold people back.

So let’s use the commemoration of the achievements of the last 50 years to be a springboard for us, positively united, going forward in the next 50 years.

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  • ATHENS – It’s a picture that if anyone actually sells it will make a killing. The four seniors who stayed, with the postgame hoopla of a 42-13 blowout swirling around them, pulled over to have someone capture the moment. No one would have blamed Nick Chubb and Sony Michel for taking the NFL’s money. Running backs live short lives. College running back is a pretty tough way to earn a scholarship. Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy had to consider if another uncertain season was the best move. Because guys who hit NFL quarterbacks have nice houses too. This was one of the moments they thought was more valuable than turning pro. Those four players standing together for a photograph that will probably be on their walls forever. They don’t have senior days in the league. Tonight was the proper end for the Class of 2017 that very much deserve it. “What a great honor it is for these guys to go out on top,” said coach Kirby Smart. “To do something no Georgia team has done before. Win the SEC East and go undefeated in the East.” It hardly seems like it was four years ago when this class walked into Sanford Stadium for the first time. We were more focused on guys like Gurley, Mason, Wilson and Herrera. But it was that night we saw a few glimpses. There was Aaron Davis, playing as a walk-on because, well there wasn’t many options, getting an interception in his first game against Clemson. He had another interception in his last game. Michel was the best running back in his class. He was the speedster from Florida with the cool name. The backfield was loaded then. But Michel was actually the Dawgs second leading receiver that night. This night, he scored three times. And of course, Chubb. Remember this. And this. This kid had a point to make and we took notice. Now Nick Chubb is a soon-to-be Georgia legend (or maybe he already is, but there’s games to go. “He’s won the hearts over of a fan base that will never leave,” said coach Kirby Smart. “What he’s given to this place through injury and toughness, it’s just tremendous.” It cannot be overstated for Chubb has accomplished here. There is only one back that’s had more yards and more touchdowns than this kid from Cedartown. He’s the clear second best to Herschel Walker and that’s about all anybody can be. “Man you hope that you have many more as good as (Chubb),” said Smart. “But you know these guys don’t come around very often.” With the talent in this backfield, Chubb hasn’t been the workhorse that he had to be when Todd Gurley got busted four years ago. Remember his first starter? 38 carries. That’s still his career high. A week later it was 30 more against Arkansas. Whatever has been needed, Chubb has delivered. With no flash. No style. Just stud. Yeah, Nick probably could be a Heisman contender but that’s not what’s best for this team. And frankly Chubb running the ball for free 30 times a night is not what’s best for him either. So instead he and his buddy Sony split the load (with another freshman chipping in) and everybody is a star “They complement each other so well and they get along so well,” said Smart. “It will be a long time before you coach a pair like that again.” I don’t know any of these players personally. They are college kids and I’m a guy that sticks a microphone in their face. But I don’t think I’ve ever rooted harder for a player on any team that I have for Nick Chubb. I thought his career was over that afternoon in Knoxville three years ago. It was bad. Last year, I thought the old Chubb was never coming back. Knee injuries are no joke. But there’s never been any complaining. Any showboating. Anything that would take attention away from everyone in Red and Black. Tonight, Chubb got his reward. His best performance of the season (151 rushing yards) and two more TDs. Despite the reduced workload, Chubb is over 1,000 yards for the year. The only season he didn’t do, his knee nearly blew up. There’s only one other UGA back that can say that and he goes by one name. It’s a fitting send off for this entire senior class, but man am I going miss watching No. 27 in red. “What a great honor it is for these guys to go out on top,” said Smart. “It’s their leadership that’s led us to this point.” A lot has happened in this football program since that muggy September night against Clemson four years ago. A couple of head coaches, a bunch of coordinators, some bad losses and lots of doubt. Tonight, there is little doubt that this Georgia team is very, very good and can do some special things. So hopefully for these 21 and 22 year old, there will be more pictures to put on their walls with some nice trophies next to them. But at least tonight, they have the moment they have rightfully earned.  
  • The company accused of negligence after a 5-year-old died at the Sun Dial restaurant had no comment Friday about a lawsuit filed against it. >> Read more trending news “Due to the pending litigation, we are not commenting on the matter,” Marriott International, Inc. spokesman Jeff Flaherty told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email.  The parents of Charlie Holt, who died from a head injury after he was caught in the rotating wall at the restaurant atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza, filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming negligence against the restaurant and hotel.  The lawsuit alleges the restaurant failed to prevent a “longstanding safety hazard” that led to the child’s death and disputes initial claims the boy wandered away from his family.  Marriott International, Inc., which owns the Westin Peachtree Hotel and the Sun Dial restaurant, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, LLC were named in the suit.  “The Sun Dial had no protections to stop children from getting close to the pinch point or to stop the rotation of the floor if a child became trapped in the pinch point,” the lawsuit states.  Charlie Holt was visiting Atlanta with his parents, Rebecca and Michael Holt from Charlotte, North Carolina, April 14 when he was caught between a wall and table as the dining area rotated. The family was seated near a window, but Atlanta police said the boy wandered away from the table.  Westin security staff and employees freed the child, police said, but he later died at Grady Memorial Hospital from a crushed skull.  The Holt family’s attorney, Joe Fried, said Charlie did not leave his family, contrary to police statements.  “The family was leaving the restaurant together after paying their bill,” Fried said in an email to The AJC late Thursday. “They were walking to the exit, following the same path that the hostess used to walk them to their table and that they used to walk to and from the restroom earlier. Charlie was only a few steps ahead.” Fried said the path was blocked when a booth rotated near a stationary interior wall, trapping Charlie between the booth and wall.  Rebecca and Michael Holt rushed to help Charlie, but he was stuck.  “By the time someone could manually stop the rotation, it was too late,” Fried said. “Charlie’s head had been pulled into the narrow pinch point and he suffered catastrophic head trauma, right in front of his parents.” The lawsuit alleges there was no guard to prevent people from getting trapped and no emergency stop button on the wall or automatic safety cutoff. The family is seeking unspecified punitive damages and a trial.
  • Christina Aguilera delivered a tribute to the late Whitney Houston that only a vocalist of her caliber could do. >> Read more trending news At Sunday night’s American Music Awards, Aguilera celebrated the 25th anniversary of Houston’s blockbuster movie “The Bodyguard” and it’s top-selling soundtrack. Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs Beginning her set in a black pantsuit and a singular spotlight, Aguilera sang the a capella opening of “I Will Always Love You,” transitioning to the big note before going into “I Have Nothing,” followed by “Run to You,” a song Houston herself has praised Aguilera for singing. Related: Christina Aguilera to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, ‘The Bodyguard’ at AMAs Assisted by a choir, Aguilera ended her tribute with “I’m Every Woman” recieving a standing ovation. Watch a clip of the performance below.
  • Congressional Republicans left Capitol Hill late last week excited about the prospects for sweeping legislation which would deliver tax cuts and tax reform, as with approval of a House tax bill, the focus has shifted to the Senate, and whether GOP leaders can muster the needed votes to approve a slightly different GOP tax measure after Thanksgiving. “This bill gives Americans more take home pay by cutting taxes and preserving deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – while he’s on board, only a handful of GOP Senators are expected to determine the fate of this legislation. Here’s where things stand on Capitol Hill: 1. Remember, there is more to do than tax reform. Yes, Republicans want to get tax reform done by the end of the year. But there are other measures which will need attention as well after the Thanksgiving break. For example, the Children’s Health Insurance program needs to be reauthorized, and has been in limbo since October 1. A temporary federal budget runs out on December 8, and there still hasn’t been a deal announced on how much Congress will decide to spend on the discretionary budget, which is what funds pretty much everything outside of mandatory spending items like Social Security and Medicare. There had been talk earlier this year of a possible government shutdown showdown, but that seems unlikely right now, because it would really get in the way of GOP efforts on tax reform. House Speaker Paul Ryan still wants all that spending work – a giant omnibus funding bill – done by the end of the year. House Speaker Ryan: Don't intend on stopgap government funding into next year. — DailyFX Team Live (@DailyFXTeam) November 14, 2017 2. A rush of spending seems likely. 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The cuts included in the President’s budget have pretty much been ignored by lawmakers, and it took the White House three disaster aid bills before any offsetting budget cuts were proposed. Meanwhile, the yearly federal deficit is trending back up, and with the disaster relief bills, and an increase in the federal budget caps, there will be more red ink in 2018. Only a few Republicans have stuck with their familiar call for budget discipline. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) on adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit: “If this was a Democratic bill we wouldn’t even be voting for it. That’s how hypocritical this place has become.” https://t.co/H5FduNppVH — MainStream Coalition (@ksmainstream) November 17, 2017
  • A plant mistaken for marijuana led to a Butler County couple suing their police department for a wrongful drug bust. >> Read more trending news Audrey and Edward Cramer talked about that incident on Thursday as they announced the lawsuit. The Cramers said it all started when their insurance agent came to their Buffalo Township home for a property damage claim and took pictures of hibiscus plants. The agent thought they were marijuana and gave the pictures to police. Audrey Cramer could not hold back the tears as she described how three Buffalo Township police officers pulled her out of her home on Oct. 5 wearing only her underwear. 'I was not treated as though I was a human being. I was just something they were going to push aside,' she said. “I asked them again if I could put pants on and he told me no and I had to stand out on the porch.' The Cramers say that police thought they were growing marijuana in the backyard of their Garden Way home. When officers got a search warrant and went to their house, the Cramers say their home was ransacked and they were handcuffed and forced to sit in a police car for four hours. 'Sometimes I think they look for a crime where it doesn't exist in order to justify their existence,' Edward Cramer said. Edward Cramer says he tried to explain that the plants were hibiscus flowers. The couple's attorney, Al Lindsay, filed a lawsuit today on their behalf. 'I cannot understand the frame of reference that was on these police officers’ minds, what were they thinking,” Lindsay said. The Cramers say they never got an apology. Audrey says she has severe emotional trauma. 'I don't sleep at night,” she said. “And you don't leave me at the house by myself.' Channel 11 reached out to the Buffalo Township police and the township manager but they have yet to respond.
  • Channel 2 Action News has exclusive access to the planning, and the best view during the demolition. Channel 2's Chris Jose spoke to one of the people in charge of this big job Sunday night. Richard Adamo is the president of the Adamo Group, the company in charge of the implosion. 'Execution is everything. It's no different than being on the football field. We've done everything humanely possible to take into account, all of the little details, from fugitive dust to the neighbors across the street, the evaluation of the MARTA,' Adamo said. RELATED STORIES: WSB-TV has partnership to broadcast Georgia Dome implosion LIVE MARTA announces alternate service plan for Georgia Dome implosion Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be protected when the Georgia Dome comes down Georgia Dome implosion set for Nov. 20 at 7:30 a.m. The difference between between an implosion and a football game is practice. The implosion is just one shot. 'It's got to count. What we're relying on is experience and the fact that this project has been vetted,' Adamo explained. 'We have 4,800 pounds of dynamite total. 4,300 pounds of TNT, and 300 pounds of linear shaped charges. the linear shaped charges are gonna cut the ring. and the tnt is gonna do the rest on the concrete columns. The implosion is expected to last about 12 seconds. Adamo will be the one to push the button. WSB-TV is partnering with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority for a LIVE broadcast of the Georgia Dome demolition. WATCH Channel 2 Action News This Morning starting at 4:30 a.m. for LIVE Team 2 Coverage.