Marriage Rights in Alabama

“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling, Loving vs. Virginia, 1967. The decision struck down state laws against interracial marriage.

Same-sex couples had a small few window of a few weeks, in a handful of Alabama counties to legally marry this winter.

Those rights were suspended last night by an emergency ruling by the Alabama State Supreme Court.

We march for civil rights. We march for the right to marry. We are in solidarity with those Alabama families who seek to protect their loved ones with the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

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Winning Over Women: A Civil Rights Strategy

Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard RustinTime on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin by Don Weise

I’m currently reading Bayard Rustin’s collected writings, “Time on Two Crosses.” In describing an inter-racial group’s efforts in 1947 to test the Morgan decision — the case that found that state segregation laws did not apply to interstate bus travel, he wrote:


“It appeared that women are more intelligently inquisitive, open for discussion, and liberal in their sentiments than men. On several occasions women not only defended those who broke with Jim Crow, but gave their names and addresses, offering to act as witnesses. In appealing for aid in the psychological struggle within the bus one might do well to concentrate on winning over women.”

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Re-reading “To Kill a Mockingbird”

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This post originally appeared as a review on my Goodreads account on August 5, 2014.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve re-read this book over the years. What prompted this re-read the other day was taking one of those vapid internet quizzes “Which classic novel are you?” and since my result WASN’T “The body of ‘Moby-Dick‘ and the heart of ‘Bartleby the Scrivener‘” I was a little surprised. As part of an inter-racial family (spoiler alert: I’m basically the Dolphus Raymond sipping Coca-Cola out of a paper bag outside the courthouse) some of the themes of the book strike pretty close to home.

In some ways the book is so simple and straightforward that I wondered how it might age as I read it again in my thirties. As a story about and narrated by children (with fairly simplistic views about race throughout) I wondered how it would hold up. Would it be saccharine or seem dated? I also have sort of a micro-judginess about people who gush about To Kill a Mockingbird as their favorite book, simply because I know they read it sophomore year in high school and I wonder if they’ve read anything else since there. A variation on this is the zillions of little Harpers, Atticuses and Scouts (no Calpurnias, for the record) I’ve met on the playgrounds in recent years and I keep on wondering if these literary names reflect the parents’ sophomoric tastes. In short, I am a judgy, superficial and rather bitchy person who scrutinizes people’s tastes to that degree about a book that I’ve long declared one of my favorites as well.
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Two Violas: Mothers of the Movement

When I think about the women who bent the arc of history toward justice, I tend to think about the ones who were holding their lives and families together the best they could while engaging in some of the boldest, most high-stakes activism I can imagine. It’s one thing to march for justice in my sneakers and then to retire home to my dishwasher. For me, marching is a good walk with a good message. I enjoy the protection of my skin color, the knowledge of my rights, the faith they’ll be upheld in the justice system, and the blessing of time. It’s quite another to march in your Sunday best, the imminent threat of physical and sexual violence, jail, and concern for what will happen to your children as a result. Two Violas gave their treasure to the nation. Continue reading Two Violas: Mothers of the Movement

Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around