Screaming Silence

When silence speaks, everyone hears differently. Claudette Esmerelda

1948, President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981 to end segregation in the Armed Services, 1954, Brown v. Board of Education, a consolidation of five cases into one, is decided by the Supreme Court, effectively ending racial segregation in public schools (many remained segregated), 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges is escorted by four armed federal marshals as she becomes the first student to integrate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, 1961, black and white activists, known as freedom riders, took bus trips through the American South to protest segregated bus terminals and attempted to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters, 1963, approximately 250,000 people take part in The March on Washington for jobs and freedom(MLK’s I Have A Dream speech) and a bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama kills four young girls prior to Sunday services, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, preventing employment discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin, 1965, Malcolm X is assassinated, Bloody Sunday, Selma to Montgomery, around 600 civil rights marchers walk in protest black voter suppression. Local police block and brutally attack them (John Lewis among them). Later that year, President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prevent the use of literacy tests as a voting requirement, allowed federal examiners to review voter qualifications and federal observers to monitor polling places, Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, TN and eight days later, President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act.

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom. John Locke

In 1969, a groundbreaking, educational children’s show debuted with an integrated cast of children and adults living together in a community; this was absolutely wonderful considering the past 20 years of civil unrest (we won’t even bring up the events predating 1948)! This would be a show that would ensure an ‘echo’ in the ears of impressionable children that the laws passed by President Truman and Johnson reflect “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” 99% of the U.S. was super excited but the 1% considered the laws of the presidents and wave of change to be spicy for their appetite and decided to turn the page on this new recipe. This recipe had foreign ingredients that would make a taster question “why did you add something more, what made you think others would agree to the taste and how many would NOW want to start using these added ingredients and passing it on to family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors?’

“I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them Sam I am!” Dr. Suess

I remember growing up watching this show during early and middle childhood, adolescence and even as an adulthood. Why? There is an inside child in all of us and it awakens to pure and unadulterated interaction. The pureness of a child, however, tiring because they are FULL OF ENERGY, their voice, talk, laughter, playing and especially, their face while sleeping; it moves you to want to kiss, hug and love them even more, if it is even possible. I really do not believe my childhood would have been the same without this show and my grands love it still to this day, like me, will probably watch it as they grow younger. But, what if the 1% would’ve been able to scratch this recipe out of the mouth of babes? There was one state, not surprised but still embarrassed to say, who did not want a taste of this new recipe.

“the newly formed Mississippi Authority for Educational Television (also known as the State Commission for Educational Television) held a regularly scheduled meeting in January 1970. The board had been created by the state legislature with appointees named by Governor John Bell Williams to evaluate shows that were set to air on the state’s Educational Television, or ETV, station. The five-member panel consisted of educators and private citizens, including a teacher and a principal, and was headed up by James McKay, a banker in Jackson, Mississippi.

McKay’s presence was notable for the fact that his father-in-law, Allen Thompson, had just retired after spending 20 years as mayor of Jackson. Highly resistant to integration in the city during his tenure in office, Thompson was also the founder of Freedom of Choice in the United States, or FOCUS, an activist group that promoted what they dubbed “freedom of choice” in public schools—a thinly veiled reference to segregation. Mississippi, long the most incendiary state in the nation when it came to civil rights, was still struggling with the racial tension of the 1960s. Systemic racism was an issue.

Regardless of how the decision was justified, many took issue with it. In an anonymous editorial for the Delta Democrat-Times, a critic wrote:

“But Mississippi’s ETV commission won’t be showing it for the time being because of one fatal defect, as measured by Mississippi’s political leadership. Sesame Street is integrated. Some of its leading cast members are black, including the man who does much of the overt ‘teaching.’ The neighborhood of the ‘street’ is a mixed one. And all that, of course, goes against the Mississippi grain.”

Mississippi - The Hospitality State

Links to sources of story:

Ironically, the characters on this show were invented by a Mississippi born puppeteer, Jim Henson. The popular TV show, Sesame Street was the first show “designed by education professionals and child psychologists with one goal: to help low-income and minority students aged 2-5 overcome some of the deficiencies they had when entering school.” This design could give past and future insight of banning. However, Sesame Street was not to be denied, not even by Mississippi, and they lifted their ban due to being outed by a MS anonymous source to the NY Times. I think that anonymous source must have known that dazzling and loving star, ELMO would eventually make us love Sesame Street even more!

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. Albert Einstein

With all the protests about “all men are created equal” aren’t we glad that it helped to create a more equitable society amongst our diverse communities within the U.S.? Oh…wait a minute, after all these years, things have not changed to point that some had wished because of silence.

The Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was rolled back in March of 2020.

This happened due to silence of the upper class ignoring systemic racism.

Exactly sixty years ago, four American Black college students staged a silent sit-in at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina and gathered support of more than 300 hundred more within days.,asked%20to%20leave%2C%20they%20remained%20in%20their%20seats.

This happened due to the silence of character that ignited a generation to change history.

The late, great #NotoriousRBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) made numerous dissents to decisions made against civil rights for which she disagreed stating “publishing a dissenting opinion can help make the writer of the majority opinion clarify their position and the hope that, through their words, they can get Congress to push forward legislation to correct what they see as issues with the way the law is written.“

This type of silence happens in two ways: the majority continues to overrule the opinion of the minority but the minority finds a way for their opinion to heard in the future and possibly used later to be overturned.

Silence is a text easy to misread. A.A. Attanasio

What is our takeaway about being in silence? Some say, Silence is not consent. It is a mute protest of one who cannot put his feelings into words; others say, beware of the silent snake for it is the deadliest of all; but all say, take note of silent children. Some cry and wail when they are hurt but it is the quiet ones that have deeper scars. To answer your question; you decide the answer based on where you stand with silence.

There was once a wise man who knew the law, studied the law and was considered the law, was asked what to do with a woman who had done wrong.

1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

You see, sometimes you have to be silent to make the right decision, like Jesus. Jesus knew they were trying to tempt him, Jesus knew they were trying make him part of their clique, and Jesus knew they too were sinners. Jesus being God knew all the answers we still ask:

How does a group of men catch a woman in the act of adultery? Was it a setup, were one of them involved in the adultery, where was the man she committed adultery with?

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

Jesus went into silent mode again, but this time, He was awaiting two reactions: The Accusers

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Once silence has fulfilled it’s obligation of protecting the accused, like the Miranda Rights should but like the woman, she was considered guilty before her trial even started. Jesus is always the Righteous Judge and always takes all evidence into account, even His blood that was shed on Calvary for our sins. Her accusers were convicted by His silence, it must have given them time to think about their plot to try and undermine this woman and His ministry and slithered away one by one like a snake.

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

This blog was published to share Christ and to bring awareness to the many laws that are being repealed in the name of progress for some but not for all. Remember, only use your silence to gather your composer to speak in order that you may silence the enemy and the suffering of others.

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