Say Brother; 816; Mel King - Time and Distance
Know. King has been praised as an energizer.
Teacher. Facilitator friend but sometimes call just plain foolish for his belief in the common man and the ability to control his basic needs. For those who have seen time and copy his ideas he might best be described as a creative maverick who does not hear today's distractors but tomorrow's needs. King's involvement is attributed to his belief in the ability of people and their development to the concept of institution building.
Institution building is simplistic in the structure. The three basic stages of development are. The service stage in identifying a non-service. Organizing stage developing the plan to address the need identified. And the institutions stage with a newly created permanent structure will continue to carry out the plan on an ongoing basis. By examining this working philosophy we can trace the struggles and success of Boston's black community within its social and economic development stages. If a man does not keep pace with his companions. Perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau.
1849. Operation. Was current a model here in the desert and I think we need to look at this one in the context of all the stages people who are involved in that from the beginning came out of efforts and the movement began to look of things that need to happen in northern communities as well as what was called. Counterpart in the south and began to look at the issue of schools and schools.
They began to see that tutoring was a need to do with some of the issues that young people have and as they were into this ironically by implication they were saying that there was something wrong with the church. The problem was with the children so that they needed extra help and not that there was something wrong with the schools even though people had some feelings about the schools but the efforts were focused on serving those youngsters. And it was people like Alan Jackson was involved in working in organizing programs. And as we begin to understand that there were things that had nothing to do with the children had something to do with the makeup of the school. Began to deal with parents and getting them organized working at what was happening and of course one of the obvious issues was the fact that youngsters were in overcrowded classes and they were in classes and in basements and next to a boiler is where. They began looking at this and this is where that awareness part of the organizing comes. We have to see young people who were working in other parts of the city were going to schools where there were 15 and 20 youngsters in a class as opposed to the youngsters being 45 and sometimes 50 in a class. And I said Of course we're as deserving our young sisters deserving of that good environment as the youngsters in other parts of the city and they began to move and the efforts that they expended mobilizing and organizing that effort to be a real benchmark in some of the activities that took place in the Boston community during the 60s. Then you move.
From that organizing aspect of it to the development of your institutions and I think you could see very clearly a number of educational institutions that we have put together in the community whether you're talking about a bridge or you're talking about the new school for children which then get into the spirit of the school and the Highland Park free school to the Federation for community schools. And the fact that we used to them is still in existence. It is. Something that comes out of that process.
Actually I can't I can't take any credit for Exodus. Exodus was formed by parents and two parents to really created Exodus were Alan Jackson one of them you know well-known educational leaders and Benny Johnson with the help of one of your co-workers and colleagues in your business around shop. And exodus was the concept of Exodus was to move kids from overcrowded schools in the Boston area to utilize seats in schools with still staying within the confines of Boston public schools. As a result of watching Exodus handle this problem and doing something which the Boston School Committee said couldn't be done because they couldn't find the empty seats. Suburban people approach citizens in Boston about moving children from Boston to the suburbs on the same basis to places where there were seats. And so there was a small committee set up. So we started with our parks and some others. And now King and other people got involved. And legislation had to be set up in order to allow the students to go to suburban schools and. And the school was formed and Mechelle was then established.
I think the thing to point out about now is that I don't think there's been any community project in any community endeavor that has taken place that he hasn't been involved in. Now to be sure he's had his favorite things. There are some things that he would rather be involved in and he would put put more emphasis on and put more of his effort in. But I don't think anybody starts anything goes into anything without getting his help. That is the important thing about what he says is that he believes in teaching. As you go along and I think that he's learned that because we have a tendency to think that because we know something everybody else know all because we know it. When I say we those of us who started it would then follow us. And I think that now king has demonstrated by his kind of leadership that you have to teach people what you're what you're learning. And so that they come along so that we all come along together maybe in disagreement sometimes but with understanding all the time. And this is also something that I ascribe to this kind of gentleness of spirit that he doesn't want to stop I other the people that he wants and understand what he's doing even if you don't agree with him. My temperament was a more. Quick. Pushy kind of temperament wanting to get things done. Now there's a more liberal kind of thinker. He takes his time he thinks things out. You ask him a question he doesn't answer you immediately he's apt to think it out. And meantime here we were facing this hostile school committee and we would have to make these quick decisions. We were the team that had been selected by the community groups to represent them. So we would have to go on this court and now sit down and come up with an answer. And so I was the leader of the team and I would say well now what should we do about this. Quick quick quick quick quick. And no matter how quickly I would try to push up pride now to an answer. He couldn't be pushed. He would still be quite the limit unless he had an answer immediately. But you could not push him for any body say one that would be an important decision. I remember at that time was so was not. The kids should go out on taste of freedom stay out of schools.
And. There was a group of freedom in Massachusetts freedom group under direction at that time of Gymboree.
And they wanted to have the school stay out of protest as to what was happening in the Boston school system. It was decided based upon what the team how the team's negotiations went with the Boston School Committee. We would then decide whether the kids should stay out of school. Now there was a great deal of unpopularity centered around whether or not these children should stay out of school. There was a lot of pressure on the team and I feel pressure from very high places. There were people calling us from every place and we were summoned to meetings all kinds of places. And so there was a lot of pressure on this team. I think what I'm trying to say that Paul parks myself Mel King so many different people with very different temperaments but now we're concentrating on now. And I'm saying that of the three of us I think he was the one who was the most deliberate. Who. Would be the one who would really take his time. He was this kind of stabilizer. I think of the group. And Mel had a philosophy.
At that time which he called an emulation theory and he felt that the little kids would do what the kids did. And he began to get more into involving young kids in athletics but also getting into the schools and. Basically working with youth to encourage them to stay in school and take some opportunities available. And sort of instituted a reward system. So in those early years of our situation it was really working with. Young people in the area was now the director at that time. He was the director of the Veterans Center.
He was not the director of United South and settlements.
Do you recall the time that the community came together and supported now.
Just describe that how it came about.
Yeah I guess it can be described as the person who is in my estimation usually a few years ahead of itself. And that was at the time when there was a federally funded program in the agency in. Wisconsin and what was the whole issue of community control and involvement. And. There was a disagreement among the in the executive director.
And I guess they never got negotiated as a result. Miller was fired. And I'm guessing about a few hours. I'm kind of working at this I should say the whole neighborhood. But certainly there's people. You know who's nice and they'll touch got together. In very short order and protest did. A demonstration and.
Now was reinstated in the agency went in a different position. In a sense he was allowed to do some thing and to. Develop the community organization that began to expose issues of control. And I guess that was kind of both of course the. Community association for unified South and.
Society regards education to be the key in bettering one's self and purpose in his community. And always having to face the open opposition to learning people of color have always revered education. It was the 60s in Boston. The paternalistic system and how system was deep provider of social services. There was no thought of a black man heading an agency serving the African-American population. However male King who said not only on one's ability but one's right to participate on the governing board. As a youth program director of the United South and settlement house King broaden the youth programs from Sony recreational to areas of employment and economic development. It was clear that the reservation and the ability to govern our own communities extended beyond social service and education. It also extended into economic development. And Efficient Economy programs for certain areas has extortionately been. Cause for civil disobedience. December 19th 1969 the annual banquet of the Boston chapter of the United Fund was interrupted by a group that also charitably concerned people. Upon entering they proceeded to collect food scraps and dumped them in a large bag then deposited on the head table. This dramatic demonstration was to express the community's angered feelings of his relationship with this so-called charitable organization.
I think that we should be men first and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate respect for the law so much as for. Civil disobedience 1849.
December 19th the first rule of a very significant demonstration that was done. On behalf. Of. Back. And supremacy in the community united is federal money. And. I was wondering since that time. That action in so many black people could just say that had never met him because some of those times some of things that you were concerned about then was not true.
He was involved in the development of the United black people that came out of a kind of community consciousness and ride a bike. I think the most significant issue that backwood was question of the level of funding that was being asked for and to do community at that time based on the mission was that there wasn't any objective criteria. And on the one hand and second the decisions about affirming the black community were not made by the people in the black community we were being made by people outside and only a few people got back on their on their birthdays.
So we had kind of a discussion on my show your executive director of the Boston Black United Fund. And this is an organization that is to help communities have a basic institutional foundation within the community.
How did that come about and when it began with the concept that till now king began in late 1967 early 68 at the new Urban League the program was called The Black survival fund. And the concept had to do with employees of the league. All contributing a certain amount of their weekly salaries to a fund that would be held in escrow that could be used by the league when their funds. Went out. Or the staff could vote to. Allocate those funds to other agencies who had emergency needs for funds or the staff could even use those monies for personal loans that came up from time to time those staff people at the weekend and in other agencies in the community quickly saw the wisdom of the particular approach because of the beginning of the decline of funding that was happening in the late 60s and early 70s. And the whole idea of. Our playing ourselves. In the support of our own organizations and institutions began to take effect is that.
At that particular time it was a difficult concept to sell to me call any other or any other opposition that he had at the time that he was setting up some of the educational programs with the Urban League. And some people having opposition to him of this sort of an all too school system for the teenagers.
No I don't because I wasn't involved with the Urban League at that time but I do remember when you know I was very involved with his election campaign. And I remember that people again was it was just at that time the people really beginning to look at him as an obstructionist as somebody who had odd ideas as somebody who wouldn't you know who got him with strange people these were the kind of things and this kind of comment you did not only hear from non black people you know also from black people who are frightened of new things who couldn't trust to move into so so-called non-traditional kinds of thoughts and so on was not easy going for me. And you know nobody ever agreed with him. Constantly I'm not saying that agreement was absolutely essential. What I'm saying is that he's always had and in my opinion a non traditional approach to long existing problems and that. Many times caused the opposition.
I see there activity initially back in the early late 60s saying hey watch look at Highland Park because that's a whole area because that's the area that really needs some work in it. And getting dressed kinds of support along the way is Operation Stop is struggling and dealing with organization as the coalition is trying to look at land development again being half full and then at the at the other end in the legislature being able to be the catalyst of a land development bill that makes money available for organizations in the community that are trying to take advantage of the coalition so that they take advantage of the decision to not build the highway and to make the land available for community development use.
Legislation designed clearly traces the trail from the articulation of a view to the demand of many. Urban legislation began to gain momentum almost two decades ago. However legislation designed for community economic development might mean comparable to private enterprises quite recent. Legislation addressing the resources to support the basic needs is shelter and food are found to be unique for an urban legislator throughout the frontiers not east or west north and south. When I'm in the front seat back.
South. Greenville Mississippi now bayou is the oldest all black town in the nation. Its economic needs with fact when you could tell us of his Milkins endeavor here.
Let's talk about the farm Bob. And I. Really believe that people should own something. And there should be a part. Of.
Everything. That we all should cooperate together and those who have made it should help those who have not made it.
And then we went into Mississippi Mississippi has a lot of potential.
A lot of land a lot of people a lot of poverty and most everybody going their own separate way and they weren't really getting anywhere because we find that Mississippi had the greatest potential. Yet. They had the greatest poverty. Rate in the country. So if these people were collectively get together. And share their products the idea to farm and to and to go into a collective system. And then at the same time also to try to own land. And to share what they have. But I think the thing that if we could point it out if I could really show you that the greatest thing that I thought that he did was to to enlist enroll people from other parts of the country. In order to come and share the guy and to help people do programming for themselves. And that was the basic food shelter and clothing and all these areas. They all did touch base. And the program did get people from different parts of the country to come and participate. As a matter of fact the pickle factory outside of my bio is a result of him thinking and planning to you know bring it to a central point. And have other companies and other people to come down to help see and to show that if you can't one person can do a Factory collectively they can do it. And I think that has been a. Very very successful in the state. And the basic product that the person has is his land. And when we go back and look and see that we see lots of people who follow me they are producing and also out of that. We noticed that the elections have come if you go through Mississippi I was very much surprised the last time I was there I think we have more black elected officials in Mississippi than you have any other part of the country. So you see when you're come with the basic grassroots economics it means that you really bring people into the mainstream. And then they start something in all the areas because once a person gets to the point that he's selling his brother he has the money he thinks in terms of banking things in terms of what he thinks in terms of programming. And but I look at the roots of the thing that Mel has put into it I think of the country itself will do the same kind of thing and look at reappraised some of the things that he's done. We can solve our whole poverty program. And I am convinced that Bill has just not a small program.
But a universal program. What is a Chinese economic development council it's new to me. Could you help me. The Chinese economic development council is a community development corporation. It was recently formed about a year and a half ago which consolidates the resources of the community and tries to promote the economic interests of the community members. And we try and assist people in developing businesses seeking loans and generally bettering their lives through increasing the employment and economic opportunities.
Those individuals are they are the first state development bank in Massachusetts geared for community organizations. And what it does essentially is to give the state the capacity to sell bonds to raise capital and then community organizations can can secure to cover the costs of development some of the initial costs of laying a foundation for community development what they call for creating the infrastructure dealing with the realignment of streets the putting together parcels that the money that really makes the project go. And that's always the hardest money for community organizations to get because social they don't get it are social service grants. Banks don't want you know don't want to deal with community organizations and that kind of level. So this is a development bank that will enable community organizations to become institutions. You know it's in a sense are just taking the principle of institution building and putting. The support for that to happen. It's a find that the financial underpinnings that groups throughout the state need if they're going to be able to move from protest to development institutions.
Where do they begin. What should they do.
How will they be continue the family as one form of expression of self institutions are the final step in that process of self-expression. And community survival and development depends on this interplay of self. Family and institutions. Chuck Turner expands on this concept developed by milking.
The service stage is one in which I think people see themselves somewhat negatively if not negatively in positions of limited or no power.
In the organizing institution stages. I think that people begin to see themselves more positively and with increasing power.
The examples that we have.
In the city of Boston took you all can be dealt with on the issues of housing and schools on economic development or jobs. And there is a major part of the process that has to take place because you don't get from the service piece to organizing an institution building without it. And that is the part of which are the people who are being served with some awareness of the level of service the way it is going to make the assessment that they're not being served appropriately and that they are deserving. And I think this is key because I don't believe you get the kind of changes in behavior until people say that they deserve it. And I think the most dramatic aspect of that from a nation wide standpoint was when Rosa Parks decided in Montgomery Alabama that she was deserving of a seat on the front of the bus or wherever she wanted to and she was not going to just continue to get on that bus and be served by no answer in the way that she had been and you know that that sparked a pretty much a whole movement of people who began to recognize that their civil rights rights. And I think that's the important piece in the notion of deserving.
But we've had similar kinds of things happen here in the city for example the whole question the whole question of people having a right to think what they should is about their community and them taking action to put their thoughts into into reality is something that that I very clearly traced to meddle as a foundation point that he has always been stressing whether he's talking about cause in the South End or or the operation stop or the Joint Center of the Joint Center that was trained a number of people in community development activities that there was there was always a basic assumption that the community is only as strong as the people in it and that people had a right and a responsibility to think for themselves and to take action for themselves and I think people often used to too in a sense put some baggage on them and say well why wasn't he more of a directive leader. Why didn't he tell people what to do. Why didn't he seize the initiative in a sense. Take the banner and lead this whole thing and put it all together. I think his his basic assumption was that that his role was the facilitator to help clean up problems to help people think through potential solutions to those problems. But that real work was to was to try to get other people to seize the initiative and take the responsibility for themselves institutions have to sort out what's good about the way you live what's not so good about it push up the good push down the back and support it.
You can't expect institutions developed by anybody else to do that for you. You must have your own institution is employing people to dignify you. Let's look at Plymouth Plantation. Tourists in Cuba before Castro was a tourist. And yet. Cuba before Castro was destructive to Cuba. And Plymouth is elevated to the Anglo-Saxon. Why. Because he has his own institutions announcing his culture and he's able to say look at how I look at what I've done and his children say hey congratulations. I want to be like you. You say if in fact we're going to publish a newspaper I'm glad the globe treats me properly and what the Herald presents me proud that the Herald and The Globe have to be first about presenting the face of the majority. And if I want my face presented I must develop a newspaper of that magnitude if I want to teach music that is not European classical music as the first order of the day albeit we teach it. But it is not going to be the only thing that's worthwhile and mine's at the bottom. If I want mine to be what's with what I have to develop an institution that teaches it. If I want to say the extended family is a fine thing it sets a beautiful and even more beautiful family. Then I have to develop social agencies which teach that we have to develop institutions and certainly our and our products have to say this is the way you look at it the song has the same weight in the water. The song Tweetie the costumes which we may have to say sure are bright colors. In fact they're gorgeous and they're beautiful that sculptures with negroid features are really lovely. That is the value of our own institutions and I'm sometimes saddened by the fact that we cannot make enough people see that we can never make another man's institutions fit in with us. If the Museum of Fine Arts there are 15 exhibits in the year and one small one is given to us we have to be satisfied or develop a museum in which once or twice a year the other side of the coin is presented and ours is the full face of the coin. I hope that tells you my feeling about institutions now. I will also bring us an economic power because they spread jobs. If we own this community we stay in the buildings and how they live then we would have to be afraid of the crime because we would be among seething from our cultural position. This is what's correct. Our problem with demonstrate this is to leave money. This is the way you put the money back. We wouldn't have to say in order to be safe move to a white bedroom suburb because whoever owns this community sees it differently sees it as expendable and allows his cultural image to flourish. Can it be though black adage of God Bless the child who has his arm bless the child. God. God.
God. God God.
We have spoken of what institution should do for our community but we have not addressed how we might be continue. Mounting attempts to answer this question in this development of the community Fellows Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This program's primary purpose is to train community involve individuals in the philosophy politics and methods of organizational analysis and institutional design. Second purpose is to support the community planning as a professional endeavor and therefore deserving of those traditional supports given other professions. Is it working.
Basically the way male you know these things by by leaving what I preach and practicing my briefs. And. Basically what I say is this philosophy and his belief on these ideals is that we are all one community. And that I see I saw him in the role of a catalyst for us. We see very very powerful. Leadership role that that was a thing that he was able to really bring a lot of the activists in both communities together. Like specifically I know that he was very very important in this whole thing with the Hispanic youth. When you see his child he remembers the male you know even if he's a grown up now you remember when he was a child and that was playing with basketball and so forth. What he relayed to the youth.
He is being involved in housing issues in any supportive role. Sometimes he has been an actor sometimes the more disappointing but basically I think the key concept is that he sees one community. And he sees himself.
As a person that it's it's He's fighting and he's advocating for equality for justice for all of us. And in that sense I think he has projected that was meant for me. It's black of course. But besides being black male is it's one of my people I relate to him as a person that is fighting the same fights that we are fighting. And I think that's key. He's not predicting I the black either. He said person he's black. And he understand. Some of the subtle differences that exist between the two groups which is not a background language and so forth. And he has being a voice in the black community to do to open doors for me. He opened a lot of doors. I was welcome in a lot of sectors in the black community and I'm sure me and all other black friends that I had was very much got to see him bringing that. And by doing that I'm in the same way of thinking I did the same. So no no he's fine with me. But he he he is on his own.
He is whatever the action is. If it works together that way it works works that way.
But that what was seen in my own in my own experience I think it's true in Nelson and I see in other people and that is that that when you become focused on a particular set of problems and concerns that you find that your energy and attention I think just leads you into continually to address that problem in its various aspects and that you know I've moved into Highland Park and was working in Highland Park in Fort Hill area back in the 60s and me that's one of the reasons why I was particularly interested and became involved myself was Carter since that was the sense that the project goes right by a block or two from from from my house and work with the coalition and with Operation Stop for a number of years. And again just kept looking for opportunities to do work and be of service and an opportunity came up here and I actually went into clearing opportunity came up. I didn't particularly I didn't particularly want to come. I didn't because I was you know in a sense tired of community organizations and what the government does to you and I've been at circle and was very dissatisfied with with the hatchet job I felt good the feds did on on the on the courthouse and on the courthouse on circle but that I think the reason I came here and the time back it is comes out on the principle I think that no just lives. I don't even know if he talks about particular but that seems to be of service. You know it's it's her idea that rooted in the black community. I know and in most other communities but it's just that sense that that your responsibility is always to deal with the with whatever problems are confronting you with whatever skills you have. And that's something that I think has always been been just doing. I don't think he talks about be just manifest that whole sense that when people need or when organizations need or want a community needs that their responsibility is is to is to serve and that's you thing that you know he won't bite back down you know to a certain degree.
There are certain things that are just convention for conventional society may consider to do some things that someone should do that are right or wrong. Or whatever was you know he just he's not afraid to break rules. You know when he thinks that you know there's really something wrong with with those rules you know even though conventional the conventional way of doing things would not. You know be the act is just the way he wouldn't. He doesn't seem to you know back down here. You know keep I guess. Pushing. If he if he feels that it's it's the right way or that something that he will keep fighting against it. You know he was like I don't know play you know pre-Games server you know he'll say what he feels he should say you know and there won't be any games about it. You.
Go straight to the point you describe the feeling of boss and at the time of his choice his decision to run for school committee without the feeling of blossom was one of real hostility.
Louise day Hicks was riding high. I had been was the flag of victory. It was a time of discouragement for many of us who had worked very hard because you see we had gone into this whole school fight. Very innocently. Not realising that there was so much hostility in Boston. I don't think anybody remember this and we understood that it was the normal kind of hostility that you faced everywhere. But. At this time we went into this election just thinking that we need somebody black on that bus the school committee and now was our person and we needed him. He wanted to do. We wanted him. I don't think we were aware of the mark of hostility that was present now and how people would gang up. On it on a candidate like me.
How about in the community that the community people feel there is a possibility of this really happening.
I don't think so. Yes I you know everywhere I went I always considered myself somewhat of a realist. I think that people had a victory because we're working so hard and we had signs that we posted all over the community saying we're coming out. And that was the signal that meant that we were coming out to vote people were going to come out to vote.
This was posted all over the community. And so it was.
A shock to us that evening that we did indeed come out. At that time. I remember what 12 had the highest number percentage of voters of any anyone in the whole city. And this can be borne out if you want to check those statistics. And we had lost. And we had the lowest place on Blue Hill Avenue where we went to hear the vote. I couldn't believe it when we find out that Mel had lost. And we all stood up there and cried and I looked at Mel and he was crying and it seemed to me that that was the end. That was it. That was just this good man this this bright guy who had put everything into. His his whole his whole family himself. You know he gave so much to it. And we had worked so hard. And we had loss.
How do you. How do you. Can you recall at that time how many of the actors that is the main thing that he pulled that he pulled from with and just that moment to keep going about the task was that yes that was that was it.
And I think that he felt bad badly for us those of us who were so disappointed the disappointment over wound us that night because we really thought we had it made. And I'll never forget that night because I just left the place in tears. And I look back and he was standing there with the tears rolling down his face and I think he wasn't crying for himself as much as it was for all of those people crowded in that room who had worked so hard all that day. He is a compassionate person and. I will never forget that. That's one of the things about Mel that stands out in my mind.
I would think about 22 years I think I've met Now originally around the age of 11 and we developed a friendship. He was my advisor. On. And his role model has been very important. To my personal development and it's an interesting coincidence although not so coincidentally that a concept that he began I'm now working on developing and that's been true and many of my personal jobs and efforts have been connected to ideas and organizations.
So Mel can tell me something about the soup kitchen. For a soup kitchen project was it what it is.
It's we're trying to develop a little you know restaurant. Over here or Columbus and the whole idea of the thing is to. Was you know to get some cash flow OK. But along with that all the cash flow is also you know. Provide a place where you know folks can come in and get something decent to eat something healthy you know for for a reasonable price. And I think in terms of the way it will be run is as I envision. I don't think it'll be run like a conventional type of business. Are Back to the convention I think it will be more. It looks to me like the whole effort will be more of a cooperative type type of effort in terms of running and managing and you know making policies. Around what goes down with the soup kitchen in terms of the recipe. And in terms of who works there and you know and that whole piece I think it would be more of a cooperative type type of effort than a you know regular you know business you know where you sit down and you have a manager. And assistant manager and then. People and then a head cook you know it seems like there's going to be more than just one cook. You know or one head cook and there's going to be room for a lot of different types of different types of meals or ideas that people have for certain meals for certain cakes. You know bread or pastry or whatever that someone wants to make you know an idea for a recipe that someone wants to come up with you know for cooking I guess or. Fish or. Things of that nature. This idea come about. I think it I think it basically came about. From just what happens here. Every Sunday usually every Sunday folk get together down here. And my father and whoever comes and bring something some sort of food you know. They'll be fish and grits. My mother makes a point of Parmesan every week. You know people bring their own stuff here and everybody sits down and it's an open house. You know actually it is like the door is open to everyone you know you don't have to you know really call up and be you know invited or anything like that. You're not. It's not very formal very very loose informal. You know folk down here and you know this really nice atmosphere and music's playing is going people around the table and everybody's walking around. You know it's like everything isn't surf you can get it themselves. You know you know you have the opportunity to bring your own thing if you if you feel. That you that you like to share it with folk. And. Just from that you know. Just from. What the enjoyment people got out of cooking and sharing their meals and you know just talking and eating and everything like that. On Sunday I think that's basically where the idea developed that whole thing. FLATOW I think. You know my father gets a lot of compliments on some of the stuff he makes me thinks he's you know he can cook now King's very special.
Can. Now King is always in his mind's eye was racing ahead of him. He's thinking of something light years ahead and sometimes there's so many of those things he has to drop some of them and then he doesn't stick to them well. But the one that sticks to the carriage great right now now was absolutely a younger man than most almost pure person I can think of. I remember once when he first ran for school can you say is coming out of the South in and out of that social conscience. That was his early on and he was seeing the devastation of the children that he'd run for school and he could have a voice and how the children's minds were prepared. And I gave a baked beans. Politics is my hobby and I gave up and sold out my house. We used the voters between Rand on the voter's list and just call the next vote on the list you want to buy a one dollar baby. One day we made the number of dollars. That was pretty nice at the dollar. I suspect that was our profit our profit was $800. I had this $800 clutched in my tiny little fist. And I said now we have your campaign we said you know we're a team at that time he was winning a coalition and I had eight hundred dollars and put it in with the whole team.
So when the $800 was spent it was expanded for all of the other candidates. People forget that and I can beat people in white community. Talk about now as having a racist attitude. The candidates they forget. He was the black candidate. Well needless to say he lost an election. In fact he lost even though he won the election he got almost 50000 votes or he got 50000 votes. He still was but sixty thousand votes in voters thought that no kings were sitting on the school committee. I think he saw something like he saw that you had to he went to MIT in that program to be able that the mental development of an older is due to the state legislature to help to back the process. That's one side of it now. Now another thing I like about in particular nonverbal I call him and I call and he returns my call and he says no I came here and there's nothing else. And he listens and then he says what he will do and he does it and you're able to call on him for the strain that you like. I remember some years back when I had a school in Charlotte Street you know being a woman I bought a great many business men think that they can do with you as they will and the landlord took the sewing machines in the second floor and down to the first floor and I called Mel up and I said do not do the same thing. He came along with three other big guys to machines up and move them back to the second floor. I walked out the door and no one said and that's the kind of help you're able to think about from now. Another thing John Bryant you know was involved in some of the later campaigns and now of the school committee and by this time I was exhausted with running for school committee we were pretty discouraged with the whole process. But then it was possible even though was discouragement to turn around and give magnificent support to John O'Brien to get him elected to school committee once for about it on election night when all the people were gathered here at the school to await the election returns. Mel didn't even wait. When he came in he said John is in third. I said we'll just go saying that he may squeak in fifth. He said I'll tell you something. I went to all the polling stations and collected the numbers and I have compiled them myself. When the returns were in John was in there but Mel had told us a good hour before the television told us.
There are probably a hundred other things that I would like to say. By Away.
Thank you for. All the ways in which you have reached my life. I'm just going to close by. Saying thank you. All very very much. This is a surprise. The. Way I felt when. I was approached. That was. Just before.
Hand if nothing happened. White people coming together didn't make any difference it was. Before. But. I was told it does make a difference. I. Think you.
Know. You talk about it all. I want to hear what. I want to write a poem. That's my goal. It's all about creating the image of the sum of all. About change. Small. I want to write a song. That's my role.
The thing about the media and all that to say. When you read. It. But wrote little. I want to tell a story. That's my challenge. To tell about a creator who molded out of nothing. About. Me that. I want to make music. That's my choice. The trumpet out the method. Of the song of the glory. Both the splendor and the power. I want to say a prayer. That's my pleasure. A joyful noise. From the breath of life. In St.. They all give me love that was written by M.K..
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- Say Brother
- Episode Number
- Mel King - Time and Distance
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
Production Unit: Local Programming
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 135638 (WGBH Barcode)
Format: 3/4 inch videotape
Generation: Copy: viewing
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- Chicago: “Say Brother; 816; Mel King - Time and Distance,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-182jmgnn.
- MLA: “Say Brother; 816; Mel King - Time and Distance.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-182jmgnn>.
- APA: Say Brother; 816; Mel King - Time and Distance. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-182jmgnn