Archive for January, 2011

Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and race in America. By Jim Buie Photography by Steve Marsel

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

In the 55 years since Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a city bus, sparking the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott,

America has made remarkable progress in the area of civil rights. Segregation has been outlawed, doors have been opened for minorities

to integrate into the mainstream of affluent American society, and whites have been freed from the guilt that comes from racial oppression. Who could have imagined in 1955 that the United States would one day have an African American president?,

Original Photography by Boston Advertising & Commercial Photographer Steve Marsel

Photograph ©2011 Steve Marsel

The victory of Barack Obama demonstrated that racial prejudice, as well as distrust and division among the races, have diminished considerably in the last half century. His election was a redemptive moment for the nation.

And yet, two years later, his presidency seems more transitional and less transformational. For many blacks, the American Dream remains far too elusive. Thanks to the Bush years and the Great Recession, many African Americans are worse off economically than were their parents. The income gap between whites and blacks has GROWN in the last 30 years. Racial discrimination endures in education, wages and employment. Indeed, a class divide has developed in the black community: middle class African Americans say they share values more in common with middle-class whites than they do with the underclass of poor blacks and whites.

African Americans still represent Obama’s strongest base of support. Just as John F. Kennedy broke a social barrier in becoming the first Catholic president, Obama broke a social barrier in becoming the first African American president. Just as anti-Catholic bigotry dissolved into insignificance after the 1960 election, it seems likely that bigotry against African Americans will fade with the generations that lived in and perpetuated racial segregation.

But much work is left to be done — especially in the economic realm — in making Martin Luther King’s dream of racial equality a reality.


Steve Marsel Galleries Blog Guest Blogger Jim Buie

Jim Buie

Guest blogger Jim Buie grew up in a small town in North Carolina during the turmoil of the civil rights era, which pricked his conscience about the social injustices he observed locally. He went on to a six-year career as a newspaperman, where he profiled Klansmen, met Martin Luther King Sr., Andrew Young, and Rosa Parks, among other “greats” of the civil rights movement.

More recently he served as a communications consultant to the North Carolina NAACP.  Mr. Buie is teaching English in central Turkey where he also writes articles for international publications.  His most recent book “Teacher of ‘Our Town’,” Jim explores his mother’s experiences as a teacher during the racial integration of her public school she taught at. He blogs about civil rights and current events at www.jimbuie.com.  Read more about civil rights on his blog .

Visit Steve Marsel’s other sites: Steve Marsel Studio, the assignment site and flagship site of the Steve Marsel brand, Steve Marsel Stock, the rights managed digital stock library of Steve Marsel Studio, Steve Marsel Galleries, the private gallery site of the Steve Marsel Studio. Visit one of Boston Photographer Steve Marsel’s other blogs as well: Steve Marsel Studio Blog , the creative blog of the Steve Marsel Studio. Steve Marsel Galleries Blog, Steve Marsel’s blog that discusses the stories behind the photographs, and Steve Marsel Stock Blog, the blog of Steve Marsel’s rights managed digital stock photography library that discusses the stories behind the images on the stock site.

Actual text of the speech by Dr. Martin Luther King to kickoff the Montgomery Bus Boycott December 5th, 1955
We are here this evening for serious business. We are here in a general sense because first and foremost we are American citizens, and we are determined to apply our citizenship to the fullness of its means. We are here because of our love for democracy, because of our deep-seated belief that democracy transformed from thin paper to thick action is the greatest, form of government on earth. But we are here in a specific sense, because of the bus situation in Montgomery. We are here because we are determined to get the situation corrected.

This situation is not at all new. The problem has existed over endless years. For many years now Negroes in Montgomery and so many other areas have been inflicted with the paralysis of crippling fear on buses in our community. On so many occasions, Negroes have been intimidated and humiliated and oppressed because of the sheer fact that they were Negroes. I don’t have time this evening to go into the history of these numerous cases.But at least one stands before us now with glaring dimensions. Just the other day, just last Thursday to be exact, one of the finest citizens in Montgomery – not one of the finest Negro citizens but one of the finest citizens in Montgomery – was taken from a bus and carried to jail and arrested because she refused to get up to give her seat to a white person. Mrs. Rosa Parks is a fine person. And since it had to happen I’m happy it happened to a person like Mrs. Parks, for nobody can doubt the boundless outreach of her integrity. Nobody can doubt the height of her character, nobody can doubt the depth of her Christian commitment and devotion to the teachings of Jesus.And just because she refused to get up, she was arrested. You know my friends there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time my friends when people get tired of being flung across the abyss of humiliation where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amidst the piercing chill of an Alpine November.

We are here, we are here this evening because we’re tired now. Now let us say that we are not here advocating violence. We have overcome that. I want it to be known throughout Montgomery and throughout this nation that we are Christian people. We believe in the Christian religion. We believe in the teachings of Jesus. The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest. And secondly, this is the glory of America, with all of its faults. This is the glory of our democracy. If we were incarcerated behind the iron curtains of a Communistic nation we couldn’t do this. If we were trapped in the dungeon of a totalitarian regime we couldn’t do this. But the great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right.

My friends, don’t let anybody make us feel that we ought to be compared in our actions with the Ku Klux Klan or with the White Citizens’ Councils. There will be no crosses burned at any bus stops in Montgomery. There will be no white persons pulled out of their homes and taken out to some distant road and murdered.

There will be nobody among us who will stand up and defy the Constitution of this nation. We only assemble here because of our desire to see right exist.

My friends, I want it to be known that we’re going to work with grim and firm determination to gain justice on the buses in this city. And we are not wrong, we are not wrong in what we are doing. If we are wrong, then the Supreme Court of this Nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a Utopian dreamer and never came down to earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I want to say that with all of our actions we must stick together. Unity is the great need of the hour. And if we are united, we can get many of the things that we not only desire but which we justly deserve. And don’t let anybody frighten you. We are not afraid of what we are doing, because we are doing it within the law.

There is never a time in our American democracy that we must ever think we’re wrong when we protest. We reserve that right. We, the disinherited of this land, we who have been oppressed so long are tired of going through the long night of captivity. And we are reaching out for the daybreak of freedom and justice and equality. In all of our doings, in all of our deliberations whatever we do, we must keep God in the forefront. Let us be Christian in all of our action. And I want to tell you this evening that it is not enough for us to talk about love. Love is one of the pinnacle parts of the Christian faith. There is another side called justice. And justice is really love in application. Justice is love correcting that which would work against love. Standing beside love is always justice. And we are only using the tools of justice. Not only are we using the tools of persuasion but we’ve got to use the tools of coercion. Not only is this thing a process of education but it is also a process of legislation.

And as we stand and sit here this evening, and as we prepare ourselves for what lies ahead, let us go out with a grim and bold determination that we are going to stick together. We are going to work together. Right here in Montgomery when the history books are written in the future, somebody will have to say “There lived a race of people, black people, fleecy locks and black complexion, of people who had the moral courage to stand up for their rights.” And thereby they injected a new meaning into the veins of history and of civilization. And we’re gonna do that. God grant that we will do it before it’s too late.

More info at http://www.thecorsetcenter.com/.

Your 2010 hangover is now officially over. Make 2011 your happy new year.

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Without even knowing that 2010 was the Year of the Tiger, I’m guessing that you will nod in agreement when I propose that we all need a warmer, fuzzier 2011.  That must be why it’s so pleasing to announce that next year will, in fact, be better—at least according to the Chinese zodiac. The Tiger of all hangover years—AKA, the year rife with cholera, oil spillage, and loudmouth tea partiers—will make way for the sweet, fluffy (preferably dwarf-angora-lop-eared ) Year of the Rabbit on February 3, 2011!

Original Photography by Boston Advertising & Commercial Photographer Steve Marsel

Photograph ©2011 Steve Marsel

So what should we all meditate on this year to make it a good one? Rest. Peace. Tranquility. The year proports to be languid and leisurely with a carefree and slightly indulgent air. Time to play nice and spoil each other. Do I smell gourmet cupcakes? Just don’t take it too far–procrastination will also loom. Railroad your diet, and that emergency bootcamp class will surely harsh the mellow.

Good taste, art, and culture will receive a bit more emphasis in 2011, as will personal development and slow, steady growth. Perhaps the most charming quality of the lucky rabbit year is that love, romance, and family life are well-starred. You will suddenly realize what it all means to you–how very lucky you are to have what you have and be surrounded by such amazing people, too.

While strife will still surround us—it can’t magically vanish, after all—the Rabbit favors peaceful solutions to life’s problems and much needed diplomacy. Last year may have left you feeling that all is lost, but chillax, hope is very much alive.

So enjoy yourself, entertain your friends, and take it easy! While you’re at it, have a coconut water – you probably need the electrolytes.

Lisa Miller

Guest blogger Lisa Miller was born in the Year of the Rat or the Jack Russell Terrier—she can’t remember. She is living and writing in enjoyable relative obscurity at the end of a driveway and the edge of a river. In true Rat fashion, as long as she doesn’t have to work in an office, Lisa will write anything you want at any time for money–anything.

Additional thanks go to the very talented Stylist Donna Laviolette Model – Amanda Wilson, and Retouching by James Eves Photography by Steve Marsel

Visit Steve Marsel’s other sites: Steve Marsel Studio, the assignment site and flagship site of the Steve Marsel brand, Steve Marsel Stock, the rights managed digital stock library of Steve Marsel Studio, Steve Marsel Galleries, the private gallery site of the Steve Marsel Studio. Visit one of Boston Photographer Steve Marsel’s other blogs as well: Steve Marsel Studio Blog , the creative blog of the Steve Marsel Studio. Steve Marsel Galleries Blog, Steve Marsel’s blog that discusses the stories behind the photographs, and Steve Marsel Stock Blog, the blog of Steve Marsel’s rights managed digital stock photography library that discusses the stories behind the images on the stock site.