Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Commemorating the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.


In August of 1963, a massive march on Washington, D.C., was organized to express outrage at the prevalence of racism in the United States and to push for national desegregation. At this event, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In this speech, he described his hopes for our great nation to be a nation of equality — a county united as one people. On that day, he spoke for every man and woman of every creed, color, and culture. He was the voice for every individual who had a dream.

Monday, January 19th is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This is a day set aside for reflection on the life of this influential figure in our nation’s history as well as the ideals he stood for. It is a day for us to commemorate the legacy of Dr. King and serves as a reminder of how he was a model of courage, truth, justice, compassion, humility, and service.

On April 3, 1968 Dr. King delivered a speech in Memphis, Tenn. in which he said, “I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land.”

The following evening, Dr. King was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. At 6:01 p.m., a shot rang out, killing the man who inspired so many with his dedication to nonviolent demonstrations. Even after his death, however, his work continued as many of his followers were further inspired to continue the national movement for a society blind to the color of people’s skin.

During the nearly four decades since Dr. King’s death, our country has made great strides towards equality for all. His work continues to inspire many to fight for human rights and the end of all prejudices.

(The author, Jason Crowell, is a state senator from Cape Girardeau, Mo. This was his column for the week of Jan. 12-18.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Civil rights lawyer dead at 78

Civil rights lawyer Charles Morgan died Thursday at age 78. The following remembrance of Mr. Morgan comes from the Tuscaloosa News:

Charles Morgan was great lawyer, even greater man

There was a saying in the white community of supporters of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, when the likes of Alabama Gov. George Wallace and Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett defiantly ruled their states and thugs like Bull Conner in Birmingham and Jim Clark in Selma terrorized the majority population:

It was a time when “it took guts to have guts.”

Charles Morgan Jr., who died Thursday at the age of 78, was such a man of formidable intestinal fortitude.

A Birmingham attorney in the early sixties, Morgan defended and represented victims of the Jim Crow segregationist polices of the era, first in Alabama, and later in Georgia, where he opened the first American Civil Liberties Union southern regional office in 1964.

One of his many landmark litigations was Reynolds vs. Sims, an Alabama case dealing with the apportionment of the state legislature that he won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964.

Ever heard of the “one-man, one-vote” principle? Well, it was established in part by the precedents set in that case, which dealt a decisive blow to the rural lawmakers who wielded power out of proportion to the number of people they represented.

“It ended gerrymandering,” Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery told the Associated Press last week after Morgan passed away in Destin, Fla., the victim of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. “It became a bedrock principle for voting rights. It changed the complexion of the South and the country.

“Chuck was a true giant of the legal profession,” Cohen added. “He was a creative genius and was relentless in his pursuit of our Constitution. He was also an incredibly brave and eloquent man.”

Morgan also successfully represented such high profile defendants as Muhammad Ali in his fight against draft evasion charges and Julian Bond, currently the chairman of the NAACP’s national board, when the Georgia Legislature refused to seat him because of a statement he made opposing the Vietnam War.

A graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, Morgan did not spend much time in Tuscaloosa over the course of the rest of his life, but most people who have eaten at Chuck’s Fish restaurant on Greensboro Avenue downtown know that it is named in his honor by his son, Charles Morgan III, who also owns restaurants in the Destin area.

“My father believed in law and order, but he believed in using the law to change the order,” the younger Morgan, who has involved himself in community betterment projects in Florida and Tuscaloosa, said after his father died. “He was a hell of a man. I wish he could have held out to see Barack Obama get into office. He would have loved to have seen that.”

Indeed, Charles Morgan Sr. helped make Obama’s election possible.

Information about research project given

The annual third quarter research project on the Civil Rights Movement is scheduled to begin Monday in Mr. Turner's eighth grade communication arts classes at South Middle School.


-Thesis Statement 100 points
-First Draft 200 points
-Oral Presentation 100 points
-Multimedia Presentation 100 points
-Final Draft 300 points
-Bibliography 100 points
-Meeting Deadlines 100 points


First Week- Research in MAC Lab

Second Week- Two days research in library, organize notes, materials, write thesis statement.

Third Week- Work on first draft on your own. Classroom time will be used for MAP Preparation activities.

Fourth Week- Work on first draft on your own. Classroom time will be used for MAP Preparation Activities.

Fifth Week- First Draft is Due on Monday. One day in lab to work on multimedia presentation for those who need it. Oral presentations will be given.

Sixth Week- Multi-Media Presentations. Work on final draft, bibliography.

Seventh Week- Finish any oral or multi-media presentations that have not been completed. Work on final draft, bibliography.

Eighth Week- Turn in final draft, bibliography. Project concludes.


Thesis Statement- Friday, January 23

First Draft- Monday, February 9

Final Draft, Bibliography Monday, March 2

Research Schedule

Monday, January 12- MAC Lab, No Printing, No use of Google or other search engines. Use links on Room 210 Civil Rights.

Tuesday, January 13- MAC Lab, Printing Allowed, No use of Google or other search engines. Use links on Room 210 Civil Rights.

Wednesday, January 14-Friday, January 16- MAC Lab, Printing Allowed, Search engines may be used. Begin using Google Book Search, Google Government Search, if needed.

Tuesday, January 20-Wednesday, January 21- Library

Thursday, January 22- Books may be checked out from library. First come, first served.

MAC LAB will be open before and after school most days. Mr. Biggers will also have his room open some days before and after school.