AFRICANGLOBE – On August 28, 2008 Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president exactly 45 years to the day from Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
The Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement ended exactly 100 years apart, in 1865 and 1965 respectively.
The most important speech during the Civil War was President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863). The key speech of the Civil Rights Movement was Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream!”(1963) They are separated by precisely 100 years, and they each proclaimed the same thing, liberty for African Americans.
King gave his speech at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. At the time President Kennedy was seen as the champion of the Civil Rights Movement. One hundred years before that Lincoln was viewed as the Great Emancipator.
The two presidents were slain nearly a hundred years apart, Lincoln in 1865, Kennedy in 1963, and each by an ex-soldier from the Old Confederacy. Lincoln was killed in Ford’s Theater. Kennedy died in a car made by Ford called the Lincoln.
Each of these presidents was succeeded in office by Vice Presidents with the same last name, Johnson, and the two men bear a very striking resemblance. Lyndon Johnson succeeded Kennedy, and Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln.
Furthermore, each Johnson pushed through Congress key legislation to benefit African Americans. Andrew Johnson passed the laws that gave us Reconstruction, and Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Laws that yielded Affirmative Action.
Reconstruction began to falter in 1877 when the party of Lincoln (the Republicans) began to falter in their commitment to equality. Exactly 100 years later, in 1977, Affirmative Action faltered after the Bakke case was brought before the Supreme Court. Reconstruction was reversed with the Plessy v. Ferguesson decision of the Court in 1896. Affirmative Action was gutted by a series of Supreme Court cases in 1996.
The 1995 March on Washington came in the 33rd year after the 1963 March on Washington. The 1963 March was led by the integrationist Minister Martin Luther King, the 1995 March by the separatist Minister Louis Farrakhan. Just as the two leaders held opposing ideas, their rallies took place on opposite sides of the Capitol building.
All of the racial uprisings in the 1960s took place after an incident of police brutality. The most serious racial disturbance in America was believed to be the one that took place in Detroit in 1967. The largest one before that also took place in Detroit, in 1943.
Only twice in American history have there been simultaneous disturbances across the land in response to a single event, both times the name “King” was involved, the riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King and the riots after the acquittal of the officers in the Rodney King case.
Malcolm X was assassinated three years before King, but both men were 39 years old when they died. In traditional African society one becomes an elder at age 40. Hence, both were snatched away from us on the very eve of attaining the height of their powers. The number of the building were Malcolm met his fate is 3940. And so I ask, are all of these things just coincidences, or are they something more?
By: Dr. Arthur Lewin
Dr. Lewin was born in Harlem, New York. His parents hail from Jamaica and Cuba. His research has included topics in Jamaican political history, charismatic leadership in African America, Africa and the Caribbean and the class structure in Black America. He is the author of the popular book Africa is Not a Country its a Continent!