I was saddened by their deaths, but sadness wasn’t my only emotion. I was also shocked. And I was outraged. I went through an “I hate all white people” stage for quite a spell after Sept. 15, 1963.
JFK’s death didn’t shock me because, well, what can shock you after a church is bombed and four children are killed?
In a country where people are filled with so much hate that children can be killed after a house of worship is bombed, no one is really safe. Not even the president of the United States.
That’s what Malcolm X tried to say in December of 1963 when he gave a speech that today is known as “The End of White World Supremacy.”
During the question-and-answer period after his speech, Malcolm gave his now famous or infamous – I’ll let readers decide which – “chickens coming home to roost” comment about JFK’s death.
In his autobiography, Malcolm explained, at length, what he meant by the statement. America, he said, had allowed hatred to spread unchecked. That hatred, he said, eventually caught up with none other than the president of the United States.
And often, elected officials had no problem expressing that hatred, especially racial hatred. Read what Birmingham Mayor Arthur J. Hanes had to say about Martin Luther King Jr. after black folks rioted in that city in May of 1963.
“Martin Luther King is a revolutionary. The nigger King ought to be investigated by the attorney general. This nigger has got the blessing of the attorney general and the White House.”
Mind you, Birmingham blacks rioted AFTER the home of King’s younger brother, A.D. King, and the A.G. Gaston Motel had been bombed. Notice Hanes wanted the advocate of nonviolence, not the bombings, investigated.
It was Hanes’ incendiary rhetoric that probably led to the events of Sept. 15, 1963. His comments certainly didn’t help ease racial tensions in Birmingham one iota.
I’ve gotten over my sadness about what happened on Nov. 22, 1963. But I’m still outraged about what happened on Sept. 15 of that tumultuous year.