Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

April 28, 2014
by sarcozona

In the spring of 1963, the rate of unemployment for whites was 4.8 percent. For nonwhites it was 12.1 percent. According to government estimates, one-fifth of the white population was below the poverty line, and one-half the black population was below that line. The civil rights bills emphasized voting, but voting was not a fundamental solution to racism or poverty.

1963. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

April 21, 2014
by sarcozona

REGISTRAR: What do you want?

CRAWFORD: I brought this lady down to register

REGISTRAR: (after giving the woman a card to fill out and sending her outside in the hall) Why did you bring this lady down here?

CRAWFORD: Because she wants to be a first class citizen like ya’ll.

REGISTRAR: Who are you to bring people down to register?

CRAWFORD: It’s my job.

REGISTRAR: Suppose you get two bullets in your head right now?

Early 1960s. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

I have relatives who argue that because oppression and racism are a thing of the past, things like affirmative action or diversity training in the workplace aren’t relevant. Ignoring the fact that racism is still an enormous problem, this is the kind of thing that was commonplace during their lifetime. How can you think this was happening to black people around you and think that it’s over? That as soon as a couple non-discrimination laws get passed people’s minds change and victims magically recover? It may be history, but it’s not over.

April 14, 2014
by sarcozona

Desperate people were not waiting for the government to help them; they were helping themselves, acting directly. Aunt Molly Jackson, a woman who later became active in labor struggles in Appalachia, recalled how she walked into the local store, asked for a 24-pound sack of flour, gave it to her little boy to take it outside, then filled a sack of sugar and said to the storekeeper, “Well, I’ll see you in ninety days. I have to feed some children … I’ll pay you, don’t worry.” And when he objected, she pulled out her pistol (which, as a midwife traveling alone through the hills, she had a permit to carry) and said: “Martin, if you try to take this grub away from me, God knows that if they electrocute me for it tomorrow, I’ll shoot you six times in a minute.”

1933. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

April 7, 2014
by sarcozona

Local authorities passed laws to stop them [the IWW] from speaking: the IWW defied these laws. In Missoula, Montana, a lumber and mining area, hundreds of Wobblies arrived by boxcar after some had been prevented from speaking. They were arrested one after another until they clogged the jails and the courts, and finally forced the town to repeal its antispeech ordinance.

Early 1900s. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States