LBCC – Know Your Colleagues – Professor Melvin Ross, Part 2
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LBCC – Know Your Colleagues – Professor Melvin Ross, Part 2


– Dr. Ross for coming a second time. (audience applauds) and sharing his public story, and I invite Dr. Ross
here to (too low to hear). Thank you. – Thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you, everybody,
for that warm response and welcome and so forth. Oh, it looks like you’re going to be a tough crowd today, huh? (audience laughs) well, if that’s the case, I hadn’t planned to do this, but now I just made a decision. I decided no more secrets about civil rights in this country. That’s right, let’s break it down. Let’s tell the truth.
(audience applauds) All right, no more playing
around and playing games, huh? As a matter of fact, in
terms of those secrets, secret number one. We need to know that in the United States,
we have a lot of dirty linen as far as civil rights are concerned. Lots of people in this
country have not only lost their constitutional rights, but they’ve lost their dignity, they’ve lost any and everything
that you could think of that would be important. Including their culture, their souls, don’t even mention lives
at the bounty here. And we’re talking about
dirty, dirty linen. When we start talking about civil rights, what’s the first thing
that comes to our mind? What’s meant by civil rights? And obviously what
you’re thinking right now is let’s say those rights
that you are entitled to the country of your citizenship. Those citizenship rights. Rights within the country. Just as you would say civil war is a war within the country, civil rights, rights within the country. So we’re going to get all up in that, see what’s been going on,
and see why so many people have lost rights in this
country at one time or another. Talk about the impact of it briefly, and see if we can’t go from there. At the same time, let’s say now, talking about, let’s say,
scores and scores of people have been injured one way
or another as a result of denial of those rights. But I guess I can be the
bearer of some good news today. And point out that, hey, throughout, let’s say,
decades and decades of history in this country, the United
States has made many strides and are definitely, I
feel, on the right road moving towards the destination of trying to resolve any and all
problems in that area. And I think that’s a good thing. However, we are not at
that destination yet. But I do feel we’re on the
right road to get there. And so, that’s a good thing. But let’s get started and
see if we can’t really sort of break things down a little bit. And, of course, I’m going to emphasize, let’s say, the modern civil rights movement. And when you think about the
modern civil rights movement that got started, let’s
say, in the 40s and the 50s specifically, we’re going
to talk about blacks and black rights, let’s
call them civil rights or lack thereof in this country. And we’re going to see if
we can’t break it down. When you begin talking about, let’s say, civil rights for blacks in this country, let’s say we don’t want to go back to the 13th Amendment and the 14th Amendment because that was the time period
when there was some relief. But we need to go back before that time to see where there was a
need for a 13th Amendment and a 14th Amendment. Let’s just say anyone familiar
with the 13th Amendment? And I would imagine some of
you have seen the documentary, if you will, The 13th, right? So 13th amendment, what’s that all about? All right, a volunteer. The 13th Amendment. All right, so you said
you need some help, huh? The 13th Amendment passed in 1865 ended slavery in this country. It stated slavery in the United
States is unconstitutional. So, you say, okay, well,
did we need such a law? Did we need such a bill? Of course, we’re going
to find is by that time, black people in this country had been enslaved for
approximately 205 years. Black people in this
country had been enslaved for approximately 205 years, from roughly 1660 to 1865. So think about the impact
of that on civil rights. But then again, the
conclusion is going to be that blacks were given no
civil rights in this country. No rights whatsoever during 205 years. How many generations is that? Let’s say if we say that a
generation is 25 to 35 years, we’ll use 30 years, if we use 30 years,
that’s seven generations. Seven generations. Of enslavement, generation
after generation after generation after
generation, you get the idea. And we’re going to pass
that on from that generation to the next to the next to the next. During that particular generation, there were different kinds
of of laws that governed the conduct and behavior
of blacks during slavery. You know them as slave codes. You know the ones that
said it’s against the law to pay a black person
for his or her labor. Or laws that said it’s against the law for a black person to own property. And you probably have done some research and if you have, you found
that there were some laws that stated, especially in states like Alabama and Mississippi, it’s against the law for
a black person to own even a dog. Even a dog. If any black person is found to be guilty of such an offense, first of all, the dog is
to be killed immediately for its role in all of this. Yeah, I know, I know, I know, going one step further, not
only are we talking about that, but the black person is to be given up to 39 lashes on its bare back well laid on in addition to be fined dare I say up to $10. Hmm, if you’re working every day, not getting paid for your labor, you might not be able
to pay $10 for a fine. So in that case, perhaps more, let’s say, stripes, more lashes
might be in the offering. But at any rate, we
had those kinds of laws that it’s against the law
to teach a black person to read and write. It’s against the law for a
black person to carry a stick or a cane unless he’s blind or cripple. Mississippi even had laws
stating that it’s against the law for a black person to make justify noises in the streets. But at any rate, so,
law after law after law during that 205 year period. But as we move along and talk about impact and then talk about the needs for a civil rights movement,
think about it this way. After 205 years of enslavement, blacks came out of slavery with zero, zero property, zero money in the bank, zero education, virtually,
and zero rights, you name it, whatsoever. And at the same time,
you’re going to find in 1865 the Ku Klux Klan was started. Why was it started? To ensure that black people
remained in their place. So times were hard for blacks. So in one word, you might
say that after 205 years of enslavement, blacks came out
of enslavement with nothing. And at the same time, after 205 years of enslaving black people, whites came out of that
same period with everything. And just between the two of us, that has been part of the
dilemma of civil rights and equality in this
country that has existed from that time all the way up to today. And when you begin talking
about a civil rights movement, the idea here was for black
people to get the rights that were being denied. After enslavement, new laws were passed. You know them maybe as black codes. In other words, laws
stated in free society that it’s against the
law for a black person to hold a job over a white person. You’re saying, hmm, okay, or better yet. If any Negro does not perform
his work responsibilities to the satisfaction of his white employer, he can be beaten on the job. Wait, I’m confused, did
I say this was slavery? Oh, this is after the slavery period. This is during the period of
freedom and equality, right? For all. As a matter of fact, huh? So we want to make sure we understand what we are talking about here. So at any rate, when you think about that, that is going to go on for a generation. As a matter of fact,
it’s going to be extended from that generation
all the way up to maybe, what year is it? 2017, but we’ll break that down in a few. Coming back to the
case, and it sounds like it should be nice and
fresh in here, right? So the air should be good. So that’s a good thing. So when you think about it,
during the first generation of freedom, blacks were not so free. And you’re gonna find that not
only were black codes passed, but Jim Crow laws as well. Segregation laws, right? In other words, there was an obsession with ensuring that blacks
remained in their place. And as far as white society was concerned, the place for blacks was
one subordinate to whites. Jim Crow laws, everybody
knows segregation laws. It’s against the law for
a black person to live in the same community with a white person. It’s against the law for a black person to attend the same school
with the white person. It’s against the law, let’s say, for a black person to drink
from the same water fountain as a white person, you know
that’s a problem, right? And, of course, it’s against
the law for a black person to marry a white person. Hmm, and don’t forget it’s against the law to store textbooks for black students in the same warehouse as
textbooks for white students. All kinds of laws that
were designed not only to segregate black people, but also to denigrate and
subjugate blacks as well. At the same time, you’re going
to find there were other laws passed in thar first generation
that stated, let’s say, you cannot vote unless
your grandfather voted in the last presidential election before the Civil War, which
would have been in 1860. Since blacks were enslaved at that time, then that would automatically
disqualify blacks from what, being able to vote. And on top of that, during
that same generation, a United States Supreme
Court same out and said, hey, it’s okay to separate people. In other words, separate
but equal comes out in 1896 during that first generation of black freedom. And at the same time, so,
hey, I guess black society was doomed, but what you’re going to find when you check it out, that,
hey, as a result of many courageous blacks during
that first generation of black freedom and also
the courage of some whites as well, a movement gradually got started. So we know that blacks didn’t
end black slavery themselves. That whites were there for that. At the same time, the
first Civil Rights Bill that blacks got. Blacks didn’t write them, whites did that. And at the top of the list
would be Senator Charles Sumner. Or over here in the House, Representative Thaddeus Stevens, who was indicating that,
hey, blacks should get at least 40 acres and
a military mule, right? So that they could be independent. That was voted down, but the Civil Rights Bill would be passed, even though it would be vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, but
Congress would override it. But moving on, so during that generation, courageous blacks such
as a W.E.B. Du Bois, Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, William Monroe Trotter, Sojourner Truth, Otter
B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, you name it, you name it, you name it. There were any number of blacks who got to stirring and stirring it up until a movement would
quietly begin coming together. Second generation, 1900 to 1935, you name it, hey, what did we have? Not only black individuals, but
black organizations as well. The Niagara movement, the NACP. Let’s say the National Urban League. Wow, 2 million blacks or so left the south going to the north. From there, think about the
UNIA with Marcus Garvey. Or think about the Nation of Islam. Or go beyond that to coming
into the next generation, CORE. SCLC, SNCC, the Black Panthers. NOW, the Neighborhood Organized Workers, any number of organizations got involved. And what you’re going to find, bam, that’s where I come in. That’s where I joined the movement and had personal
involvement during the ’60s. I was a student at that particular time but as I was growing
up in Mobile, Alabama, the civil rights movement was exploding all around me. So I was growing up, and I listened, plus I had attended segregated schools when I was coming through. So black teachers every day talked to us about how you have to work hard. You have to be smart,
you have to be dedicated. One of the secrets that
they would tell us, you have to work twice as hard as whites. Don’t let that get out of here now, okay? But as a result, hey, we worked harder. I believe that we worked harder. When I returned to
Mobile today and check up on some of my old buddies from the past, many of them went on to
law school, med school, and other professional types of positions so I think there’s a good chance
that we worked pretty hard. But when it comes down
to personal involvement, let me ask, can you think of any let’s say civil rights demonstration that you’ve heard of, and let’s see if I was involved in it some kind of way. Any one that you can think of. A march, a demonstration. You name it, just one. All right, put your thinking caps on. All right, yes? (student speaks too low to hear) All right, she said the
march on Washington. Now, out of all the
marches that I was not in, she asked me about it. (audience laughs) I don’t believe it. Now, I could talk about some of the things I did on the peripheral in terms of helping other
people to get there, but, no, but you’re all
familiar with that one, right? We’re talking the march on
Washington, what year was it? ’63. 1963 and the whole idea was that, hey, a group of black
leaders had gotten together and decided let’s apply pressure
on the federal government to do something about black civil rights. Let’s apply some pressure. At the forefront of that movement was A. Philip Randolph. Not only was he threatening
President Kennedy with a march on Washington with 100,000 black people, he would say, about 100,000 black people, but he had been doing
that for the longest. He had been around long enough to have threatened President F.D.R., Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He threatened, let’s say,
a march of 50,000 blacks at that time, and this was in what? Should we say the late 30s. He pressured President Roosevelt so much that President Roosevelt
signed an executive order. I believe it was 8802, which ended discrimination in terms of military jobs, contracts
with military agencies, government agencies, et cetera. So he did that. After he left going on what
his four administrations, but think about it, he was
replaced by President Truman. Was A. Philip Randolph there? Yup, he pressured him. He pressured him until he signed executive order I believe it was 9981. And what did it do? It ended segregation in the United States Armed Forces. That was a biggie, that was a biggie. So I don’t want to go
any further than that. I will make one suggestion, if you’re really interested
in getting the feel for the march on Washington, there are any number of
references I could give you, but there’s a movie called Get
On the Bus, Get On the Bus, has anyone seen it? All right, was it touching
in some sense to you? It was. It moved you. Get On the Bus, check it out. So I didn’t go to Washington at that time, I was doing other things. But at the same time,
there’s a group of blacks who are going to leave L.A. They’re going to get on the bus, and of course take that bus to D.C. And you’re going to find
out a lot about black lives and whether black lives
matter during that particular bus ride from L.A. to there. Let’s try one more time. Any demonstration think you of, any conflict that you can think of, yes, sir, and I know we’re on
the same path, I can see it. Pardon me? (speaking too low to hear) Oh, Selma, Selma, as in the march from Selma to Montgomery. Bam, of course I was. Et cetera. I was a student at the time. I was a student at
Alabama State University. And it’s in the capital, which
is Montgomery, Alabama. So I was on campus and one day, let’s say, SNCC
representatives as well as NOW, Neighborhood Organized
Workers, came on campus, and they brought little kids with them. They brought little kids with them. Maybe four, five, six years old who had been beaten up in Selma. With the initial attempts to march across the Pettus Bridge, right? And the little kids would
get up ask indicate, my mama was beaten up, they hit my mama. And then because she wanted her rights. You know, and college students, you know, and Alabama State was
segregated at the time. So in other words, we’re listening, (grunting) okay, if you’re concerned, let’s say the marchers should
be coming through tomorrow, dadadadada, on their way to what? The capitol in Montgomery. So we want you to be with us. Are you with us? Yeah! (grunts) Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And the next day, so I was already to make that trip. I dressed all up and everything. Not like this, because I was a student. But I didn’t realize that we
might be going into battle. I thought that, hey, we’re
going to be able to march down for our constitutional rights, right? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So, when the marchers came through, they actually marched past our campus. And that was too of
course get maybe another couple of thousand black
students to, what, participate. And so, when I was in
the line, I was around the end of the line, and what was interesting is
we marched through the city, Montgomery, there were many
whites on the sidewalks, on the curbs, let’s say, throwing bottles. Spitting, those kinds of things. And I guess probably since we were a group of college students, I was a little nervous myself. I hadn’t anticipated conflict. You know, because I try to be non-violent as much as possible. So I am with the group of guys. And as we walked by, and there were about maybe seven or eight white
guys on the sidewalk here who started with the
nigger, you know, ribs, and on and on and on. Watermelon heads and blah blah blah and whatever whatever. And, of course, so some
of the guys who I was with cursed them out and indicated, hey, blank to blank blank, this ain’t the non-violent
end of the movement. So bring your and blah
blah blah blah blah blah. And I went like this, you know, but I also kept my eyes open on any space if I needed to depart so that I can, you know, so I could get a new movement going. (audience laughs) But at any rate, so there was no, so that was anti-climatic for me. But that was one march that was in at Alabama State because we used to march on the capitol all the time. And on one time, once again, blacks in different part of the south had been involved in
demonstrations and were beaten, once again, they came through our campus because, and I guess, at that time, Governor Wallace was pretty
much on his way out the door so he was a major target of
the civil rights movement for the south. Governor Wallace in Alabama and right next door, let’s say, in Georgia, Lester Maddox,
et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So we marched, and on one occasion, I, once again representatives from SNCC came through our campus, SNCC was very active in
Alabama and Mississippi. SNCC representatives came through. They were pretty much dressed the way you’re dressed right now. Men and women. They came singing freedom
songs on the campus. So black students obviously
started gathering around, 2, 3, 4, 5, 600, 700 students, et cetera. And the idea was that, hey, we need to march on Governor Wallace. We need to do it. And I’m, yeah, (grunting excitedly). Et cetera, right? That was the feeling. So the next day said be in
the stadium at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning. So 10 o’clock the next morning, I’m there. I’m dressed the way you’re
dressed and everything. Probably had my favorite shirt and pants on something like that. I didn’t know we were
going into battle that day. All right, so I’m there sitting around. And then helicopters above. I’m saying, hmm, that’s interesting, okay, well, they’re probably
looking for something. And at the same time, the
stadium was filling up maybe about 3,000 black
students, something like that. Then the SNCC representatives marched in. But they, this must have
been the military auxiliary of the group that came in the day before. They had helmets on, brogams on, fatigues. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Beards down to here, et cetera. And I’m saying, hmm, they look
like they’re going to war. So they came in, gave their
big speech, let’s go, let’s go. We need to carry the message
of rights for black people on and on and on. So we got out there and
we started marching, they said line up two by two. So can you imagine if
we’re lining up two by two, how long that line was? For maybe about 3,000 students or so. That’s rights, so we’re talking
at least a couple of blocks. But initially maybe there
were about maybe about 1,500 initially. But they felt that wasn’t enough, so they said instead of
marching down this sidewalk from campus downtown, let’s march through different buildings on campus and sing and raise hell until professors excuse class and then we would have more students. So we marched through building
to building, et cetera, singing loud, raising hell. And by the time we came
out of the buildings, we had at least 3,000 students, right? So we got one block from campus, and I was probably close to the middle of the line for, let’s say, 3,000
students in groups of twos. So I’m black here, we
get one block off campus. A police car comes from that direction, one from that direction. Two policemen here, two policemen there. They jump out with
their batons, et cetera, and the SNCC representatives
say, we’re going through. We’re going through. And I’m back here, I didn’t have to worry. I said, yeah, we’re going
through, we’re going through. So the front of the line started, and the cops jump back
in their cars and left. And we cheered because we had a victory. Lots of winning. But we didn’t get tired of winning then, and that’s another
question right now. But that’s another story. But at any rate, so we get
two blocks from campus, and about six to eight police cars come from that direction, from
that direction, et cetera. And with about four to
six policemen in each car, they jump out and black the street. And, whoa, now I hadn’t
bargained for this. And the SNCC representative said, okay, all we want to do is exercise
our constitutional rights. Let’s get off the sidewalk
like we had been doing, two by two by two, said,
and what we’re going to do is get out into the middle of the street, and we’re all going to come on up front. We’re all going to push
up front, et cetera. And I’m saying, wow, as a matter
of fact, oops, oops, oops. Oops. Here I am on the front row. I’m saying, what the is this? I didn’t ask for this, and the cops were standing right here. I’m there, and the then the
SNCC representative said, sit down, sit down, everybody sit down. So I say, okay, I sat
down, and I’m looking up. And the cops in front of me were like this with their baton. And I said, oh, blank. I said what am I doing here? I shouldn’t be here, et cetera. So I’m sweating, and all
sad and low and everything. And the SNCC representative
said we’re exercising our constitutional rights. There’s nothing they can
to us to kill our spirit and our rights, and I’m thinking kill? Then the SNCC representative
said, everybody, take your glasses off and any jewelry. I said, what? For what, for what? I said, no, I don’t want to. I said, oh, I said, blank. I said I’m, et cetera. We were given five minutes to disperse or they were gonna disperse us. Truck pulls up with about 15 horses on it. And more policemen and
possemen get the horses off. So they align across the street. They’re going to run over us. So we’re sitting there. And then five minutes, four,
three, two, one minute, 60 seconds to disperse. And at that particular time,
you know what happened. A television truck comes around the corner with reporters on top of
the truck with their cameras rolling, et cetera, and getting
the action and everything. And the SNCC representatives
started passing the words, don’t worry, they’re
not going to do anything with the cameras here,
et cetera, et cetera. And I was praying, I wasn’t
big on praying in those days, but I was praying they were right. And they didn’t do anything. So that was 10, 11, about 11:30. Around 12 o’clock, I
sort of looked behind me, and instead of 3,000 students,
there were about 300. So I said, wow, well, it’s lunch time, they probably got hungry
and they’ll be back. 30 minutes later I looked behind me, and there were maybe
about, let’s say maybe 150 students. So I said, hmm, I said at
the rate things are going, we get small enough, anything can happen. But I was hungry, I was hungry, so I decided to go, and the plan was go and get a bite to eat and
rush back up there, right? And, of course, so I went
to get a bite to eat, then I remembered that I
had an assignment to do. And some other stuff.
(audience laughs) So it wasn’t until about 10:30 p.m. That I decided, oh,
let me go back up there and see what’s going on and everything. So, went back, got my lady from her dorm, blah blah blah, and we
decided to walk up and see what was going on, right? So here we are walking
up, oh, there they are on that same corner, but it’s only about 35 to 40 of them. So I walked up, I was a frat guy, so I’m checking on some of
my frats here and there, whatever, et cetera. And the next thing I know my
lady snatches my arm this way, and I pull back, what’s up? And she does that, and I turn this way. And about 25 possemen are
beginning to ride this way with horses, students are
sitting down in the streets. And across the nation,
historically black colleges were founded for the most
part in black neighborhoods. So here we have the college back here, and this is all a black
neighborhood around here. So some black people were
sitting on their porches and everything, et cetera. So when my lady snatched me this way, and I looked back to
see the horses coming, there was nothing I could do other than get out of the way. So if any students wanted to run, which they were beginning to scramble, I wouldn’t be in their way. So I sort of snatched my arm this way because I was gonna jump up
under this house right here. And in the south, houses
might sit up about this high or something like that. So I had spotted that when I spotted them. And I don’t know what I said to her, but I was gone. I was gone. So I leaped over this way right out under the house, then
I saw blacks throwing bricks and bottles so I decided to throw a brick. So I reached back to
pick up a brick to throw, and a brother was running so
fast he stepped on my hand. And I thought it was a horse. So I snatched, I dove up under the house. (panting) And stayed there
for a couple of hours. (audience laughs) I mean, it was, you know, I
wanted to see what was going on so I could report it to
you guys today, right? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Next day in the newspapers, black students attack possemen, and refuse to allow emergency ambulances to come through the street. That’s what they were trying to do is clear the streets
for an ambulance, right? Et cetera. I was involved in other
demonstrations and pickets in the neighborhood, let’s say, because blacks were unable one in Mobile in particular, blacks weren’t able to
work in grocery stores and other convenience
stores in black neighbors because only whites were there. Blacks couldn’t even get
jobs bagging groceries or whatever. So I came to Mobile, I had been away. Came in, joined an organization, NOW, Neighborhood Organized Workers. I heard that they had helped to desegregate Mobile while
I was going and everything. So I wanted to support them. Then I started hearing as I would attend their Wednesday night meetings let’s say with about 200, 225 people. I had started hearing that
the way they desegregated Mobile, and especially downtown in jobs, they would demonstrate
picket, and when some blacks would cross the picket lines,
there might be four or five burly guys sitting around in trucks. When they would come out,
these guys would jump on them and beat them up. I said, hmm, that’s the way it was? Or if women and other
black women and others would go into the stores and come out, let’s say, with packages,
they would snatch the packages and stomp the packages
and stuff like that. But the message was, stay
your blank from down here. Et cetera. And they were probably so ruthless that they prevailed. And let’s say you’re going to find that Mobile was desegregated
downtown in terms of jobs, in terms of everything. So that was that. So I had joined NOW. So I’m there in a Wednesday night meeting, and at the same time, I was also a co-host of a radio talk show in
Mobile called Today’s World. And I was, so I was on broadcasting one Sunday, and someone called in and wanted to know what did I think about NOW
beating up black people, intimidating black
people, snatching packages and all of that. So I said, well, I have no evidence that NOW is responsible
for anything like that, because I had seen nothing, right? Et cetera, but the
person kept on pressing. And I kept on trying
to finesse the question until I said I have to say something. The listeners are gonna think
I’m stupid as hell, right? So I said, the person said, so, if NOW is responsible,
how do you feel about that? And I had to say, well, I wouldn’t support anyone who would
use force and intimidation against black people. I said whites had done
that for much too long, so I don’t think blacks should
use those tactics on blacks. Blah blah blah blah blah blah. And that was that. Until I went to their
Wednesday night meeting. And some blacks had had
their homes burned down in Mobile who had crossed
picket lines and everything. Had their cars fire bombed
or something like that. So it was tough. And I had heard about it,
I hadn’t seen anything. But I had heard about
it on a weekly basis. So I go to the Wednesday night meeting, and so the president of NOW says, I have some announcements to make. I want you to know that
there’s a black man who has nerve enough to go on radio and talk about NOW and
say we are guilty of this this this and this, et cetera. I’m not going to tell
you what his name is. I’m not going to tell you that he lives at 2109 Coster Reedy Street, that’s where my parents lived, and I was staying with them while I was in Mobile visiting. So I’m not gonna tell
you that he lives there because something might
happen to the house. I sure would hate for something
to happen to that house like it getting burned down. Blah blah blah. I see what the? My parents house? I’m sitting in the back, so, I raise my hand. I said, he said no, bruh, not now, we taking care of business because I want to remind
everything once again I’m not going tell you
his name is Melvin Ross, dadadadada. And said excuse me, excuse
me, I’m Melvin Ross. I’m Melvin Ross. Because my thinking was, I
couldn’t let my parents’ house get burned, right? I couldn’t do that. So I said, oh, goodness blank. Let me do this. He said, what? Who? I said I’m Melvin Ross. He said, on the radio? I said, yes. He said, oh, come on up
here, come on up here. And so, I walked out to the aisle and as I’m walking down the aisle, brothers were sticking
their feet out like this and saying you (growling and snarling) and I’m looking at them and somebody else kicked the foot out and everything. So I’m right here and
I get up to the front, and he says, oh, come
on up here, you the one? You the one? You blah blah blah, dadadadadada. I said, well, no, that’s not what I said. He said blank the blank the blank. You blank the blank the blank, you said. I said, no, that’s not what I said. He said, hold on. Tape recorder. Pull the mic down. Said, listen to this, everybody. Melvin Ross, yes, I
feel I would not support any organization blank to blank to blank, he said, dadadada, dedededede, dadadadada. He said, let me play some more. Dadadadada. So everybody was in the
audience, kill that nigga! (snarling) So I said, oh, blank. So I reached over,
pushed the tape recorder. And stopped it, and I said,
okay, let me talk to you. Let me just be real with you for a minute. I said, I didn’t say that you NOW is responsible for
this this this and et cetera. I said but I know you are. I even know by names who has done what. I said, but I didn’t want
to put that out there. I said, no, I do not want to
support black people doing this this and this to black people. I said, because we need black support. I said, instead of 200,000
blacks at this meeting tonight, which would have been about
half the population of Mobile, I said we have about 200 or so, et cetera. And he said, looky here,
we have to instill respect in black people, that’s
how the movement survives. I said, well, you aren’t
instilling respect, you’re instilling fear, blah blah blah. And blank blank and blank and blank. I said, as a matter of
fact, do you want me to call some names, burnings, blank
blank and blank and blank? I said, out of every
demonstration you’ve had for the last six weeks, I’ve been there. And there have only,
out of 2 to 300 people who come to these meetings, only 12 are usually there. Dogs have been turned loose on us, and whatever, whatever, whatever. So he leaned over and whispered
to his vice president. (imitating whispering) Then he came back, he said, Brother Ross, I like you. And I’m wondering if you
would serve as vice president for the next three weeks
since vice president blah is leaving, and he has to go, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And what I want you to do, I respect you, I
appreciate what you’ve done and how you’ve done it, will you serve as vice president? He said, what you think about
that, brothers and sisters? They went (clapping) and I went, thank you very much. I appreciate this, and as a result of other commitments that I have, I won’t be able to do it. I said, I’m scheduled to
leave day after tomorrow. You know, dadadadada, dededede, and I got the blank on
out of there, et cetera. And nothing happened to my parents’ house. So I was thankful for
that, but at the same time, I should indicate that at the same time, I should indicate about a year and a half later, the president of NOW,
the vice president of NOW were arrested for dealing drugs, for intimidating business
officials in the city, shaking different ones down for money, all of those kinds of things, et cetera. So there’s good, there’s
bad, and there’s ugly that was involved in the movement. But that’s what comes with movements because you have different
people doing different things. At the same time, what was
good is that blacks stuck with a movement so much
so that it would broaden to include not only blacks
as a civil rights movement, but also anyone let’s
say based on race, color, creed, religion, gender,
sexual orientation, handicap status, on and on and on. To the extent that that’s
been carried forward and now it’s also
including environmentalism. Now we also at the time of
talking black lives matter. And above all and beyond,
we’re talking about inequality, we’re talking about the 99%ers versus the 1%ers, et cetera. And that perhaps is going
to be even more powerful in days to come and everything. But let me just stop at this point, and just say, does
anyone have one question before we talk out the door? Yes, sir? (student speaking too far
away from mic to hear) Okay, at what point in
time are you talking? – [Man] 20th century. – Oh, whoa, my, okay, wow. So, initially, in this country, we’ve had going back to
colonial days and coming up, we had a temperance movement, we had an abolitionist movement. We had a women’s movement. And that take us into the 1920s. Women, of course, get the right to vote with the presidential election of 1920s, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But at the same time,
going one step from there, as we move out and get
civil rights active, ’64, Civil Rights Boil of ’65, voting rights for all
Civil Rights Bill of ’68, so that takes in any number of movements and by the time we get
to the ’70s and the ’80s, movements are blowing up
all across the country. Everything from, I mean, we’re
talking additional movements. Everything from the gay rights movement to, let’s say, handicap
status, the gender movement, et cetera, and they all
have picked up steam to the extent that right now, everybody knows that whatever
you have to say negative or do negative to any protected groups, you had better do it undercover, otherwise there will be penalties
and consequences to pay. So there’s so many, but I just can’t get into them right now. What I will say is I
think we are at a point where enough positive energy is out there whether it’s for the civil
rights that we’ve talked about or for environmental
rights, or you name it, you name it, you name it. And the rest of the world is exploding. Next time, I’m going to want
to ask you about the U.K. You probably have some
information that I would love to get first-hand and everything. But other than that, let me thank you for coming today. And I appreciate your listening and let’s go from there. Let’s work together to,
what, make sure we stay on this road and destination to equality and to a better quality
of life for everybody. Thank you. (audience applauds) – Thank you, Dr. Ross. I appreciate you all coming. We’ll let you know for our next talk what we’re gonna be doing. Thank you. – Thank you again.

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