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when you think of Des Moines what comes to mind trees family friends when you think of the morning to mine insurance it’s a beautiful place of all the places I’ve been I think it’s a pretty good place to marry and raise a family all I think we’re very wonderful place to raise a family bill eNOS and just a good education system for everyone when you think of Des Moines what comes to your mind just making it living and making it was good living peaceful yet that I up to knees for young people just living it really well I think it’s a beautiful places to lay up myself I almost like a motto it’s a place to grow and our colleges are the best colleges design the work the United States I’ll always come back you it is difficult to know where to begin the story of blacks in Des Moines perhaps the beginning blacks were first brought to this country in 1620 by Dutch traders and sold to the colonists as slaves although there were nearly 600,000 slaves at the time of the American Revolution 4,000 black soldiers were in the continental army men like Crispus Attucks peter salem and salempur proved to be brave and loyal Americans although there was talk of the gradual emancipation of the slave when the constitution was drafted slavery was acknowledged in several sections of the document in 1804 Lewis and Clark set out to find the source of the Missouri River Clark took his black servant York with him York became the first black to set foot in Iowa and eventually won his freedom as a result of his invaluable services as an interpreter and food-gatherer for the expedition by the way the Indians loved his black skin around 1835 Colonel Stephen Kearney and 150 dragoons came to the first Fort Des Moines near the point where the raccoon and Des Moines rivers meet he was said to have brought a slave woman as a family servant with him we believe in freedom can I rest well in about 18 43 the first flex recorded to have lived in Polk County were two women slaves owned by a Fort Des Moines interpreter Joseph smart but butter when smart no longer needed the women he took himself and sold them his slaves no I know according to the Missouri Compromise Iowa was a free territory but there was an unwritten army law that allowed officers to own slaves an unfortunate beginning for blacks in Des Moines no not good at all although the actions of Joseph smart are reprehensible there were a small group of whites in Des Moines who were interested in the welfare of blacks in the 1850s blacks passed through des moines on the Underground Railroad and in 1858 John Brown escorted a group through the town and stopped at the home of Isaac Brant in 1862 a group of Missouri runaway slaves arrived in Des Moines and stayed one of those 13 slaves was Jeff Logan Logan worked at a number of odd jobs and eventually began his first of 21 years of service for Wesley redhead he also worked at the Statehouse under special orders from the War Department the first regiment Iowa African infantry was organized on july 27th 1863 although there were probably less than 1500 blacks living in iowa at that time when the fit enable rendezvous dan keokuk there were six companies of blacks prepared to fight for freedom in the Civil War after the Civil War more blacks came to Des Moines among them Robert hide at

that time 1876 the black neighborhood was around ninth and walnut and hide erected a small store in this area he was the inventor of H&H soap which is marketed nationally today although hide sold his cleaning business to his partner TW Henry around 1907 he continued to dabble in real estate develop other formulas for soaps and cleaners and invented an electric turning wheel and something called the diamond wallpaper machine mr. Hyde also had a sort of Employment Bureau which was located at 321 forth and called the Hyde intelligence and labor office I’d believes strongly in a good education and all of his children went to college with daughter ADA hide Johnson becoming one of the first two black women to graduate from the University of Iowa in 1912 on june eighth 1894 the iowa bystander published its first issue JL Thompson was editor although it was thought to be the first and only black paper in the state we found his photocopy of the weekly avalanche which was published in eighteen ninety three in any event according to the bystanders October fifth 1894 issue there were thought to be about 1500 blacks in Polk patty they were said to have owned some of the finest farms and some of the best property in Des Moines among them were professional men businessmen mechanics laborers and miners and speaking of miners we would be remiss not to mention the coal mining towns of Buxton and much acanac in the fall of 1879 the miners of machaca knock or much II voted to strike for higher wages the consolidation coal company met their demands until the outstanding contracts were fulfilled then the company tried to return the miners to their old pay rate the miners struck the company sent an agent of Virginia to recruit black labor about 70 blacks arrived in mudgee in march of eighteen eighty there are varying reports but there is a possibility that 30 of the original hundred Virginia hopefuls met with violent deaths upon arriving after a time however word went back to Virginia that there were opportunities to be had in Iowa and more blacks left their plantation jobs and headed for the state Boogaloo beyond Nevel lookie on Little Lily yonder we’re done done gone my father was born in much a kind of Iowa he moved moved to Linda Buxton his parents had moved here in the probably late 70s or early 80s from i think it was shortest ville virginia in 1901 the consolidation coal company moved nearly all of its operations to a new site called Buxton my paternal grandparents came from Kentucky settled in the Buxton area because of the job opportunities and the coal mined there there’s quite a black community because the opportunities for blacks were in the mines my maternal grandparents came from Virginia where my grandfather had been a brakeman on the train there he came and settled in and this area ultimately settled in the Dallas County area and preached up there also worked in the mines had 11 children though nearly 4,000 miners were transferred to Buxton it continued to grow and more blacks were brought in this time from Alabama according to the Buxton Eagle of the 5,000 residents 4,500 were black these figures are challenged however by the 1905 census records which show buxton’s population to have had 2700 blacks and 1991 whites but in 1914 that a man for Iowa’s coal declined and many were unemployed in time residents began migrating to other coal camps out of state or to Waterloo Cedar Rapids and Des Moines one such migrant was a famous trawl attorney George woodson who was instrumental in organizing both the Iowa Negro Bar Association in 1901 and later the National Negro Bar Association in 1925 woodson’s law partner was s Joe Brown the first black liberal arts graduate of the University of Iowa it is largely through Browns efforts that the n-double-a-cp came to Des Moines in 1915 Brown and his wife sue organized an open meeting at Corinthian Baptist Church where the n-double-a-cp s National Board

Chairman Joel spingarn was the guest speaker I will governor george w clark address the audience then introduced spingarn at meetings in over 100 persons had joined s Joe Brown became the first president the membership was comprised of both blacks and prominent whites including the governor and a number of high-ranking city officials within a year the Des Moines branch ranked 9th in size compared to other branches nationwide but there was no time to rest on laurels in 1916 the n-double-a-cp legal committee faced its first court test a local theater had scheduled DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation which was loosely based on a novel called the Klansmen the national office was angered by the slanderous treatment of blacks and ordered their branches to prevent its showing the Des Moines case was based on a 1907 ordinance that had been written by s Joe Brown barring any further productions of the play the Klansmen which had a brief run in Des Moines although there was tremendous biracial support for this effort a municipal court allowed the movie to be shown on the grounds that it did not violate the 1907 ordinance s joe browns presidency ended in 1917 when he became a candidate for the officers training camp for black troops at Fort Des Moines it was the first and only military training school of its kind in the nation more than 500 of the estimated fifteen hundred men who were accepted were college graduates after the four month training program successful candidates were commissioned and sent to camps where black soldiers were being trained the moines attorney lieutenant JB Morris was into camp dodge the first draft gilded 127 black troops most of the men were from keokuk buxton and Des Moines there were also soldiers from Minnesota Illinois South Dakota Alabama Tennessee and Mississippi although there were white soldiers at camp dodge things were still segregated in fact three black soldiers were hanged for allegedly attacking a white woman what was des moines like in 1918 here’s what longtime resident George Nichols has to say well I thought it was a big city because I was a farm boy yeah and I thought the Union Station was about the grandest thing I’ve ever seen of course you know that as railroads Thursday came y’all know Wabash where’d you come from Louisiana Missouri version is on the Mississippi River about 25 miles south of Mark Twain’s over home in Hannibal how are opportunities for blacks when you got here pretty good you have to remember that in those days there was such thing as common labor that don’t exist anymore so that left there a great deal of work for the black people those days they had giantess elevator operators when the washers man who worked with shovels and picks and wheel bars that’s something you don’t exist today there’s no such thing as common laborer I love you send me Oh because he bringing it down me Oh I said now hip bone in some night knock castle rock in did the 20s roar in Des

Moines because of the war more jobs were available for blacks in due to southern migration 1920 became a peek here in the number of blacks in Iowa although blacks were scattered throughout Des Moines the majority lived on the west side of the city housing ranged from hovels to well built homes for the first time blacks were able to move from menial labor to semi skilled and skilled labor jobs it’s also important to note that the number of black soldiers in Des Moines created a demand for black business and enterprising persons opened restaurants pool rooms barbershops you name it black Des Moines had it it was also a busy period for the n-double-a-cp in 1920 pearl dejarnette an assistant attendance officer for the public schools proposed that all of Des Moines 800 black students be placed in 18 room school the n-double-a-cp staged a mass rally at st Paul AME Church and several resolutions were proposed in the end the school board and the city superintendent wrote to the n-double-a-cp explaining that their policy did not include segregation shuvo other cases during those years involve the desegregation of beaches and parks theaters and housing the Dottie Blackburn theater case actually resulted in the conviction of a white for racial discrimination and Dorothy Coyle was able to keep her house in an exclusive all-white neighborhood by this time lieutenant JB Morris had returned from France and resumed his law practice he served as deputy polk county treasurer and as president of the n-double-a-cp he also purchased the bystander in 1922 my grandfather bought the Iowa bystander right in the early 1920s published it from roughly 21 or 22 up until about nineteen seventy-two for period of approximately 50 years and during that time although there were several black publications that came and left at various times none of them had the the hang on capacity that the bystanders hadn’t been primarily for that 50 years the only real source of news interesting to black folks than anyone around here ever got my center office when he when my grandfather first took over and it was also the Morris Morris lot back then I was just the Moore’s law office because he was the only one there in the 1920s was at one time located above what was a Ku Klux Klan meeting place and as I understand it as my grandfather had explained it at various times the Klan tried to run them out tried to scare them out perhaps at times tried to buy them out to get them to stop publishing the newspaper but that sort of intimidation and the threats that they were making we’re not sufficient to close the newspaper down and they continued publication without abatement really until he my grandfather sold the rights to the newspaper to another party in 1972 Marguerite co thorne recalls her family roots and life in Des Moines in the 20s well coming to Des Moines it was a matter of a job for my father he had been working in albia with the Manning Edwin Manning family who had owned the south suburban rail road but it was sold dad of course was not able to continue with his work as a linesman because the union is not accepting black people s in the Union as in linesman so that he was looking for employment and my grandmother had moved to Des Moines so dad was looking for work he did find a job here in Des Moines as a janitor in an apartment so when I was about seven years of age we moved to Des Moines Iowa and what were some of those experiences and growing up in Des Moines well really is personally I had very nice experience when I say nice it wasn’t a frustrating one we lived in a white neighborhood because the apartment was in a white neighborhood I happen to be the only black child at we would school for the social activities and your close friendships I found those at our church relationship which was st. Paul AME Church lived in high school high school I went to Roosevelt High School my first year in high school was spent at the Old West tie which was a fifteenth Street and center and Roosevelt opened in the fall of them I almost have to compaq 2025 i guess it was and I was the only black student in roosevelt high school when it opened the second year there was one other girl Julia Proctor who was formerly Julia mango and she and I were the only two blacks at Roosevelt High School at that time we both graduated from Roosevelt I in place six and she in

27 what or how Howell blacks treated in Des Moines at that time in your formative years well there was very much prejudice in the entire town you couldn’t eat and any of the eating places downtown the jobs were very scarce the only child the blacks could hold were a domestic job service jobs janitorial kinds of things oh there were one or two exceptions but this for the main part with the kinds of jobs which could be held all I might add one other thing too in terms of the schools in high school there was a very strong desire by the school system do not want blacks to swim in the swimming pools at all so any excuse that you could get to get out of swimming they were very happy to have you do it for example I played in the orchestra when I was at high school so I didn’t have dibala Chris with me you see in terms of the ribbing but there was that desire they did not want blacks in the swimming know they thought some of the blackness would go off into the water well I guess they thought it might rub off or fade or something they were not well informed the church was perhaps the center of social life with burns Methodist Episcopal being the oldest having been organized in 1866 however there were a number of educational and social clubs for women among them the national and state Federation of Women’s Clubs and the National Association of colored women’s clubs there were 14 secret societies including Masonic lodges Odd Fellows Knights Templars knights of pythias United Brothers of friendship and the Elks first done something very good the border 68 inches you during the First World War in the 20s blacks had made some economic progress but with the early stages of the depression creeping into existence the black labor force was the first to be affected the black worker became a competitor and prejudice spread like a cancer in 1930 Iowa out of the total black population of 14,000 426 a little more than half 7930 one were gainfully employed I would have had to have gone south he had I wanted to teach school and that was not my field I had plans to go on to law school but fortunately or unfortunately whichever way you wish to look at it there was a black woman Effie Watkins and that’s eff i ii watkins who was the probation officer in the polk county juvenile court she died in may of nineteen thirty i graduated in june and applied for the job along with several others and fortunately i was hired and started to work in September of that year as the juvenile court worker and of course in those days of all social worker she carried separate caseloads they had a white males to handle white male cases they had a white females to handle white female cases I being black had the total black caseload of boys girls dependent and neglected children and all caseloads were segregated on the basis of race and after trying to find work and whatnot in the Missouri back in the 30s was kind of difficult so he decided to come back to the one to relocate his family here and so he did what kind of work did you basically my dad was a mechanic engineer type he was working for a company called

Spencer and Kellogg’s that preceded Cargill and in an industrial accident he lost an arm and so he had to get out of that profession and then he began to work for the city were for the parks department how easy was it for black to get a job doing work of your city well in those days believe me it was not easy they most of them worked in the parks department on the streets department cleaning streets and one my father was a little more fortunate in that he was able to get a job with the parks department and worked in the cemetery what brought you to des moines my major professor at two sisters nashville tennessee was alumnus of drake he encouraged me to come here to say hello and i did what would things like them and when was that where bed and fall of nineteen thirty-nine very bad i could not stay on the campus could not eating away on the campus and could not socialize wealthy white students and i was on there black awesomeness in school to that down did you find the black community did you find the social life for you i called it on muscles life in the black community yes and the beckoners were very helpful to bring me in you know I started going to crazy baptist church and Robin Robison he plays arms wrong and treated me as though I was a son know how are blacks received at that time what do you mean um in Des Moines I’m asking I suppose was there a lot of racism another person if you stayed in your place you could make it all right and I was from the south so I was spun to stay in my place till I got to law school you know when you think of the morning what comes to mind a better place to live a place with not too much excitement oh I think of a growing city a city that’s growing by leaps and bounds and I don’t know when it’s going to stop well I don’t care too much about it but I have to live here nice city is boring boy well I think of a city that’s on the row with a lot of development and great opportunities for everyone if they’re used to their advantage I tried not to think Jamal I think the morn is growing real fast I think minorities need to get better organized so they can play their role in that development I used to live in South Dakota and I moved back to Des Moines because it was better for my children and they liked it here and i always come back to Des Moines always do and if you’ll have to meet you Rolling Stones that’s big we both battle between good morning honey yellow Loomis a good morning hottie but we said goodbye last night I’ve turned them tourists until it seems you have known but along with the down by nineteen forty forty four percent of the Black House dwellers in Iowa own their homes politically speaking three fourths of Iowa’s blacks were Republicans charles p howard jg brown an AAA alexander had all served as chairman of the Negro division of the republican party later attorney Howard was to serve as the keynote speaker for Henry Wallace at the 1948 Progressive Party convention he is called Alexander the Great by the University of Iowa where he became the first black to graduate from the school’s College of Engineering and to play on its football team he was a mighty builder of bridges and viaducts and although he had what Ebony magazine called the nation’s most successful

interracial business Archie alfonso alexander did not forget his people while building bridges and freeways in our nation’s capitol in this era Alexander outfoxed racist union policies for separate drinking fountains and restrooms by using paper drinking cups and by labeling the two restrooms skilled and unskilled it is estimated that he and his partner built over 300 projects and in 1954 President Dwight David Eisenhower chose Alexander as the governor of Virgin Islands he was sworn in on april 9th 1954 one of our first ladies of des moines found herself in the bright lights of the big city in 1940 but only because she had received training and encouragement from her parents and the local branch of the Y here’s kathryn williams i learned to dance here as a child here in des moines i would go to the y w4 dancing lessons my mother’s saw that I had those and I was in recitals and as I came up through high school I I began to dance with a young man and we would do dates for dancing and earned a little money that way I can remember my mother letting me turn the rugs back in the living room and we practice on the hardwood floors I went to New York in probably around 1940 because I worked went to New York again selected to go to work in the Apollo Theater there in left the Apollo after a year to tour with the bill Robinson in the hot Mikado I worked the World’s Fair he had to show their the hot Mikado and then I went on the road with that show came back to the Moines as a matter of fact with that show and plated ki and T which was a thrill for me too and it was still for my folks they were able to see me do a professional dancing with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 and once again with war came change but never forget this quote the more things change the more they stay the same just as a special recreational center had been set up for black troops in Des Moines during the First World War des moines blacks mobilized to offer a USO for this new Wars soldiers but this time there was something different 40 black women all college graduates had been selected to train at Fort Des Moines along with 400 white women they would eventually become officer trainers of enlisted women the wax had arrived World War two brought about an emergency of people to work and President FD Roosevelt FDR had his executive order regarding equal employment this opened up any number of jobs in terms of employment we had the solar aircraft we came into the morning where blacks were able to get jobs particularly as welders we had the munitions planned out near anchoring that opened up jobs the one of the other changes that has taken place and this kind of came along at that time was being able to eat any place that you wanted to this was started primarily by the wax who were in Des Moines in during those early early years and they went into one of the restaurants downtown and I won’t name it and they were told they couldn’t be served and they threatened to tear the place down if they were not served this was part of the opening in 1946 Harriet curly was hired as the first black school teacher in the Des Moines school system not everyone was pleased it was also the year in which Harriet Bruce who know who was then Herod curly got a job in Des Moines as she was the daughter of a school custodian and was felt that the opportunity should be given to her but they wanted to hire just one person to see how it would work it seemed that there was quite a bit of concern about her being successful that turned out that she was quite successful even though there was some opposition at first and really set the stage for the increased hiring of minorities at that time and in 1947 Edna Griffin hit town you arrived you found that blacks weren’t being served at kat’s drugstore what did you do we decided that we will

go into Katz’s and if refused service then we will go to court and I was prepared to be a witness there was one other person who was willing also to be a witness but the windfall which came to us was the waitress who was prepared to testify that she had been ordered enough to serve us we almost got served that day and we were going to be very upset if we hadn’t it but evidently she did get a signal not to serve us and it wasn’t too long after that a few months she lost her job you know any white person it’s so stupid that they don’t know they aren’t supposed to serve black people they can’t cut it on such a job he’s spending here looking for that woman and found her and she showed up in court to testify in our behalf and the result was we won and I think we won primarily because of her testimony I’ll be real honest because I would have been considered an agitator out looking for trouble out looking to you know to make money to help our finances by suing places that didn’t serve you want to think about that addicted I didn’t make enough and all the period that we were involved with the cats case to pay my babysitter’s but that’s not what it was there for now in winning the cat’s drugstore haze did that then did other businesses follow kind or were more suits necessary well cats was appealed to the Supreme Court the Iowa Supreme Court we were our battle was to get it enforced in Des Moines the public accommodations act because he appealed it to the Supreme Court Iowa Supreme Court that brought the enforcement the entire state which was very good of course what a difference a day made 24 little hours you I’m all right okay you win I’m in love with you well alright okay you win maybe what can I do I’ll do anything you think it’s tough got to be that way tell your mama j your phone I’m gonna send you back to Arkansas oh yeah in the 10 years between 1950 and 1960 the black population in Iowa grew and still blacks were less than 1 percent of the total population Des Moines of course had the largest black population in the state on june seventeenth 1951 the Argonne armory band performed at the official opening of the Wilkey house its history is one of transformation and change it began in 1917 as the war Recreation Board of Des Moines in 1920 the name was changed to community service of Des Moines in 1933 to the Negro community center in 1945 the garden of Cole’s foundation awarded funds to the center to erect a new building the foundation asked that a plaque honoring Wendell Willkie be placed somewhere in the building but the board decided to dedicate the facility to Wilkie’s memory because of his belief in one world many well-known figures have visited the community center over the years among them Eleanor Roosevelt and that great pillar of strength and conviction Mary McLeod Bethune the founder of bethune-cookman College in all of those years mrs. Lillian Edmonds was the force and power behind what mrs marguerite co thorne calls the Black Country Club of Des Moines blacks generally in those days would congregate at the Wilkey have or to Krakow branch why that was located down on key osakawa it was for blacks good swimming pool basically black I can’t remember white

kids ever coming there in any great number maybe one or two but no blacks would go to Berlin for example which was the other major pool at that time that was strictly a white swimming pool blacks did not go sitter Street was perhaps the heart of black business there were drugstores barbershops beauty shops ap trotters wonderful restaurant and the billikin and sepia clubs many events were held at those clubs and a good time was generally had by all what there was in this community in the way of black business was heavily concentrated in center street there’s also a dance hall there where many of us as children or young people the teenagers win every night every friday night i should say for the the weekly dance which brought East East Side South Side and West Side flexed together there is a big social outlet there it has been said that many blacks own their homes and for the most part these homes were in fairly well defined areas what happened when blacks wanted to move outside those boundaries we are still segregated frankly and we still need to expand our horizon in this area and until our housing pattern is improved we are going to have problems we’re going to continue to have problems in 1956 I was working with jb Morris and Laurence Oliver and I believe that nuh Griffin was also on this committee interracial Commission and it was very much integrated and and at that time I was very excited and exercised over our housing pattern and I sort of did have a little knock head session with some of the real estate people and we did have quite a session in the newspapers about it but I think it started the housing situation to move in Des Moines I went to talk to Realtors I had all kinds of plans are called I’ll meet you such a such place I want me see that particular house they didn’t get a chance to find out where I was living right then because that would have probably told them I was black so we would meet and I tell you I have some hilarious theories about those meetings the agent didn’t know whether this was planned by the owner and the owner didn’t know whether the agent was trying to do man so they were having some problems I didn’t help him one way or another I came to see the house and if you’ve ever gone to see property of any kind and the person selling is pointing out all the problems weaknesses and things that are wrong you haven’t lived till that day comes that’s what I went through and I can be on me so I kept them busy we looked in every crack in every corner in the attic second floor and bedrooms down on the first floor the kitchens we went down into the basement and we went through that routine and in the meantime the owner did not know where the agent is standing and the agent didn’t know where the owner was standing because it just so happened that the wife and I belong to the same you unit of what is it League of Women Voters we knew each other so that kind of added a neat little touch to it till the drama shall we say and I don’t know what happened after we go on but we properly bit each other goodbye did you get the house I didn’t want it and then three words began to be bandied about words that for many blacks were cruel and ugly urban renewal and freeway they took the puppeteer and gave me I wish those that were affected had gone to a competent lawyer these come out

much much better they removed us from the area give us less money than what we do people move the area and didn’t own the homes anymore the freeway when the right through the heart of the inner city or the black community and it did it had a devastating effect they had to move into a home that was not as decent you know quote-unquote as the home they were in or it meant they had to go into debt and this was certainly very difficult for an older person who had their home paid for and thought they were settled for life there was little regard given to the people who were forced to move because of the freeway and because of urban renewal the advent of the freeway sharpy divided the black community was very traumatic to my grandmother and my family because immediately after finding out when the news came about it my grandmother died shortly thereafter because she knew that our home was going to be taken in an upset quite a little bit I cannot fully attribute that to the coming of the freeway but it resulted the result was a devastating to her family in the nation blacks began to shed the yoke of tyranny the Supreme Court had ruled favorably in the school desegregation case and one small woman boarded a bus one day in Montgomery Alabama and refused to stand up for white passengers when the driver ordered her to do so a young minister from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church got other local leaders together and quickly organized a boycott of the city buses his name Martin Luther King jr boy I ever three my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color the mouse skin but by the content of their character I have a dream get your mind how did the civil rights movement effect Des Moines I think it’s fair to say that

the Black Panthers were beginning to influence young people in this part of the country I of course was not a part of that since I was considered a fuddy-duddy at that time I rented to an individual called Charles Knox at the time and Charles was telling a bunch of us and we were in fact we were on a corner on 11th in University telling us that we needed to know our history that the reason why these things were happening because we did not know our history so at that time we went back to school and from the Blackstone Union the first black student union heinous in the state the one made the transition from there to the Black Panther Party and we got there and we begin taking life more seriously and we were you know we were committed to a struggle a civil rights movement I think was like all over the country in the 60s there was a lot of unrest we had our rights we had some firebrands back in those days that that really were out front we had the more traditional more conservative black within a community and double acp and the groups like that that were a little more conservative in their approach but the n-double-a-cp as I look back in retrospect was certainly one of the major contributors to change meaningful change in this community it was a slow it was not a revolutionary process I think it was more of an evolutionary process it was so slow that one could hardly discern that there had been any change change why must we always fight for change the independence of this country was secured on the battleground the Emancipation Proclamation was written in the blood of this country citizenry blacks got better jobs because of rebellions in watts Harlem and good park there was a man who tried to show the way through peaceful demonstrations but the assassin spiteful bullet leap down and snatched him from us another casualty more rebellions better jobs another war body counts double-digit inflation national debt what is our national debt as blacks do we owe or are we paid in full are we going forward or drifting back through time where are you Martin who bears your legacy is it one or all must we die Barry dr. King every year instead of taking his program how much of it we have we been able to move forward since the last time we came together instead of having all the choirs gathered and singing hymns and praising dr. King and forgetting about the young people who lost their lives but it hurts that we’re not doing more for our young people you know we’ve got young people going to jail and young people lost in the streets young people not linking to the school and so on and those are the things we should be I feel addressing ourselves to did you know that Kyo was a stream called birds run did you know as things go that our struggles just begun do you care if concrete covers up your past do you dare to question the futures coming fast the gauntlet was hurled right from the start you’re either a part of Des Moines you can’t stand apart cuz just like birds run you’ll be undone and that would break my heart si tu Oh Oh d we your

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