Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How long? Not long! Because no lie can live forever

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

March 25, 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the culmination of the Selma civil rights marches, which finally arrived at the capitol of Alabama on March 25, 1965. 

Approximately twenty-five thousand marchers converged on the capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama and stayed there until they delivered their petition to the governor's representative.

There, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous speech referred to today by its rousing series of rhetorical questions during the finale: "How long? Not long!"

A written transcript of that speech can be read in its entirety here, and a portion of the actual speech given by Dr. King on that day fifty years ago can be heard and seen here.

And, on that same day fifty years ago, between 8:30 and 8:55 pm, Viola Liuzzo was murdered when the car in which she and Leroy Moton were traveling on highway 80 was fired upon by another vehicle.

Those not familiar with this terrible crime can (and should) seek to learn more -- a good start might be reading (or re-reading) the excellent examination of the sickening events of the murder and the events which led up to it and which followed afterwards, written by Mary Stanton, first published in 1998, entitled From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo.

Many questions remain regarding that tragic incident, around which many deliberate lies were fabricated for various reasons, all of them sinister.

It is clear that violence and deliberate deception are often used together in order to oppress people and to keep others from seeing the injustice that is being perpetrated.

It is clear that Martin Luther King was well aware of the central role which lies always play in the perpetration of such injustice and oppression -- and that he was aware that for those lies to lose their power, the truth must be made known.

In his speech How long? Not long! delivered on that day, fifty long years ago and yet not so long ago, he proclaims:
How long will it take? Somebody's asking: "How long will prejudice blind the visions of men?"
I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment -- however frustrating the hour: 
It will not be long.  Because truth crushed to earth will rise again.
How long? Not long!
Because no lie can live forever.
How long? Not long!
Because ye shall reap what ye sow.
How long? Not long!