Spare Change News
Many people today don’t stand up for human rights or civil rights because they don’t feel that they will be heard. The truth of the matter is that if you don’t vote for a candidate or a particular issue and if you don’t demand change, then it never will be, and that’s when our voices as a whole nation are silenced and never heard.
Over the centuries we have had several people who have fought long and hard for our rights and we must not forget them. People such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Bishop Isaac Wiley, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have all made a big fight for us to have the things we have today such as the right to vote, freedom from slavery, quality education, freedom of speech, and many other privileges that we are able to enjoy today and sometime take for granted.
Following are the words of R C McCall, a homeless woman who moved to Boston from South Carolina in the 1960s, who first-hand witnessed and partook in the making of history when she was a part of the marches and rallies which she experienced with King and his other followers.
Beatrice – Did you speak or meet him at any of the rallies or marches you attended?
R C McCall – Yes, I did.
Beatrice – What was it like being a part of the rallies or marches that you went to?
R C McCall – Back then it was a meaningful cause to me.
Beatrice – Where did you march at?
R C McCall – I went to Washington D. C. and several other places, but I can’t remember them all.
Beatrice – So there were a large amount of people?
R C McCall – yes, oh yes, definitely yes.
Beatrice – Were you present when he gave his I Have A Dream speech?
R C McCall – Yes, I was and it was fantastic.
Beatrice – Who got you interested in going to his marches or rallies in the ‘50s and ‘60s?
R C McCall – I actually learned about it when I heard Angela Davis and Mr. Newton talking at one of our Black Panther meetings.
Beatrice – How did you feel when you’d heard that he’d been shot to death?
R C McCall – Devastated. It should have never happened. A life gone too soon. He would’ve been our
president. He suffered for his beliefs and we stood by him during the times when he got arrested or hosed down for no reason except for standing up for his beliefs. He was taken away from us too soon.
Beatrice – Where were you when you got the news?
R C McCall – I was in Grove Hall. The Black Panthers had an office there.
Beatrice – When did you get involved with the local or national movement?
R C McCall – I got involved with the Black Panthers in 1968 but I was involved with the rallies and marches for King back in the 1950’s until he died.
Beatrice – Do you think anything has gotten any better or worse since King’s
death in 1968?
R C McCall – Some things have gotten better, like integrating our children’s school systems. What is worse is they get out of school and they’re messed up in life.
Today we don’t have the same kind of meaningful causes like what King had fought for. Our biggest problems today are being fought for by people who form little groups like Occupy Boston,
Human Rights City, and by famous people like Princess Diana when she was alive. As a nation that claims to take pride in being civilized and intellectually superior educationally over many foreign countries, we need to practice what we preach and show what democracy is really about. This is my opinion.
In the words of some of our leaders, if you don’t vote and stand up to be heard then you are invisible and the people in charge of making decisions for you will do whatever they want, and will put into office whomever they want because you don’t matter to them because you didn’t use your rights and the power you have of voting and freedom of speech. Try thinking about that this month and during Black History Month next month. Try doing like me and learning about your family roots. too. Have a happy and pleasant Martin Luther King Jr. Day too.
BEATRICE BELL is a Spare Change News writer and vendor.