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Re: Whose interpretation? Ours or theirs?

>>It is my opinion that Lincoln may have had several "real interests", the two more pressing; saving the union and freeing the slaves were paramount; one of conscionable morality and the other, of union preservation. To refer to him as the 'great preserver' implies that the result of his efforts had only preserved the union which he "could have" done through expediency or capitulation to the South thus saving thousands of lives. But his moral commitment to the Slave issue were so strong that it could not be deterred by the inevitability of a civil war.<<

Folks will continue to have contrasting views of old Abe, but I will hold strongly to the view that if Lincoln's prime purpose was to abolish slavery, he would never have uttered if he could save the union without freeing the slaves he would. I do understand and appreciate the quandary in which Lincoln was, but whether we like it or not his prime focus was to SAVE the Union, NOT to FREE the slaves. He said so himself!!!!!!!

From my perspective, that's a more damning statement than whatever credits (rightly so) that you have given him. Here, let's be mindful of Maya Angelou's poignant observation that when a man is telling you who he is, never doubt him.
Can you imagine Nelson Mandela saying that if he could kill ALL white people to end apartheid in South Africa, he would so, but if he could achieve the same goal without killing White folks he would also do so?
A perfect combination during the Civil Rights struggle would have been for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to welcome Malcolm X with open arms and agreeing with him to use violence when you must, but try as best as you can to remain true to non-violence. Dr. King was pleasant enough, but remained steadfast to his cause of non-violence. Despite that Malcolm's I won't turn the other cheek made far more sense to me than MLK's non-violence.

The heroism and "worshipping" of MLK and Mandela, and let's also add Muhammed Ali to that list, lies in their unwavering and unambiguous commitment to what they truly believed and stood for. Remember Maya Angelou's piercing warning!

While reading your rebuttal (excellently done), I was beginning to view your portrayal of Lincoln as a combination of William Wilberforce on the one hand plus the economic forces that Dr. Eric Williams so brilliantly expounded, that led to the British ending slavery. Is that an accurate summation?

In the movie "Amistad" Cinque played by Djimon Hounsou, struck one of the most telling blows at the forked system of American justice and White people's logic. In a powerful and profound moment in the courthouse, he shouted out in a loud voice "Give us free" indicating his frustration with a legal system that freed him with a "not guilty" verdict but never affirmed the real and true nature of the crime against him and the other slaves. As fas as Cinque was concerned his freedom meant freedom for all, and not "not guilty" due to his particular case.

Verne, I do respect and do give credit to those who have, and those who are continuing to work realistically within a racist system to rescue some of its victims, but I'm far more respectful and admire those who were uncompromising and remained true to the real goal that they wanted us to believe they espoused. That's why I squirm when I am supposed to accept Winston Churchill, Judge Antoin Scalia among others as my heroes. That's why I questioningly wonder if Abe Lincoln really belongs there, again from a Black man's perspective. And that's why Nelson Mandella, Dr. Martin Luther King and the "greatest" himself, Muhammed Ali" will always be my REAL HEROES from my perspective as a Black man.

In summation I do respect and admire what outstanding personalities have tried to do, but really true hero worship belongs to the very selected few like Jesus (if the stories about him are true), Mandella, MLK and "the Greatest."

P.S: Wouldn't it be great if the posts on this Talkshop were mostly in this spirit so that we can all learn what we originally did not know?

Re: Whose interpretation? Ours or theirs?

A friend called me to ask why do my posts like this topic, appear to be unduly focused on race relations in America. My immediate response was why not?

After all, I live in America where my children and grand-children and succeeding generations are likely to call home. If we are supposed to leave the world a much better place than we found it, shouldn't it be our moral imperative to TRY working to achieve that goal?

But the interpretation of race relations is not my singular focus. I am just as interested in the things around me. I live in West Orange, a stone's throw from Montclair. Here is a small city of whose existence I had no clue even though my Jamaican college room-mate used to frequently visit there during vacation times. I guess it made absolutely no impression on me, period!
In fact while driving on I-95 through New Jersey, I could not resist feeling that the state was New York City's dumping ground. All along the highway, what was clearly visible were rows and rows of factories and abandoned buildings and a huge stadium in the Meadowlands where the New York Jets and Giants call home for their football home games.

How incorrectly would I have continued to be had my daughter not chose Montclair to raise her family and invited us to join her there to help with our Noah and later, Maya. To say the very least I'm overjoyed to be here, cold as it is in contrast to an almost Caribbean type of weather in Miami after 33 years living there.

That's another one of the reasons why I chose to ask "Whose interpretation? Ours or theirs?"

Those who know me in particular very well, could not believe that my wife and I would forego the warmth and comforts of Miami to return to the cold. Our reasoning was quite simple. Would we prefer warm Miami while barely seeing our grands grow, or a warm family while helping to grow our grands despite the cold?
The answer was self evident, and the surprises of West Orange and Montclair have added to the pleasantries of living here. Now even my other daughter has closed down her podiatric practice in the Bronx to live and work in West Orange.
How pleasing it is to see an all too familiar and definitely common sight of biracial children shepherded by their parents on their way to school, the library or restaurants. Even more interesting is that within the mixed parentage, there is a far greater frequency of White fathers as one would have less likely expected.

And that segues into the movies. We use the weekends to go wherever we choose. Going to the movies is among those choices. In this year's slew of highly rated Academy nominated movies, we first went to see FENCES. Denzel Washington ably supported by Viola Davis could not have set the standard any higher. Then we went to see the much highly touted LA LA LAND. Then MISSING FIGURES and finally last night we saw MANCHESTER by the SEA.

As I said before there are so much to love about this Montclair-West Orange area. After each of those movies, I deliberately sought the opinions of fellow-movie-goers. From them, Blacks as well Whites who were in the majority, unanimously agreed that La La Land fittingly deserved to be in la-la-land and could not comprehend why it was even rated much less competing for the Oscars.

MANCHESTER fared much better, but as one of the posters on which patrons were asked to write our opinion of the movie, noted, Manchester by the Sea was unfortunately competing for Oscar awards at the same time that FENCES and especially MISSING FIURES were also competing. Yes, Joe Frazier was an unbelievable boxer, but it was too bad that his nemesis Muhammed Ali was there competing at the same time for center stage.

Therefore when I chose this topic for discussion, I was not referring only to the prejudicial and corrupted views of those whose job it is to decide who our historical heroes plus those we should admire, ought to be, but just as important an appraisal of everyday things all around us.

Too often we express ideas that we assume are our very own without even realizing how swayed we are by the basic premise we choose to stand upon to give those opinions. Often times we rarely thoroughly think through what it is that make us say the things we say. That's why I will always ask >Whose interpretation? Ours or theirs?< Or put another way, "yours or theirs."

Hey y'all I'm really looking forward to hearing from you.