Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where Is Our National Memory?

October 5, 2011 saw the passing of The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference along with Dr. Martin Luther King. This was man of unsung greatness, whom Diane McWhorter over at the NYT rightly calls "the key architect of the civil rights revolution’s turning-point victory in Birmingham, the mass marches of 1963." ("Marching in King's Shadow," Oct. 6, 2011.)

Of course, President Obama should honor Shuttlesworth's life with some recognition. Perhaps even a simple, elegant tweet to inform his 10,400,000 Twitter followers about the man's legacy. Well, I found only this:


Not to diminish the impact of personal computing (I'm writing this on a Macbook Pro right now, in fact), but come on! Steve Jobs made Obama's work possible?! Jobs's death merited not merely one, but two tweets. Here's the second:


Didn't Rev. Shuttlesworth "change the way we see the world" too, by being so instrumental in removing the albatross of Jim Crow from around the country's neck for all the world to see? And for being a proponent of nonviolent resistance at least as early as Dr. King? Where is our national memory?

At least Obama did issue a statement in memory of Shuttlesworth, in which he says "America owes Reverend Shuttlesworth a debt of gratitude." Truth! But his statement about Steve Jobs was a bit longer, and included this: "The world has lost a visionary." Maybe so, but what we desperately need now are more visionaries in the mold of Fred Shuttlesworth.

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