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And we are the national educational radio network presents special of the week on the occasion of the third anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. The Reverend Malcolm Boyd a former episcopal chaplain at Wayne State University of Detroit in Ann Arbor for the past year writing a new prayer a book human like me Jesus read from that book. And remember Dr. King a lot is happening blacks are together and whites have lost their identity. The white images shed the black images together and I find blacks again with the kind of whites that's a word to that kind of. There was an unkind period that was very important historically but it's sort of ended. Blacks have the strength within them now and they can I've always said that whites would not be healed until black missionaries walked up the path when the whites came out and knelt and kissed
the Black Hand. But we don't want any more missionaries anyway. And maybe the present blacks can be missionaries and are being missionaries out of their new strength. We learned what was wrong with integration I think. A friend of mine made a film called Five and a half and it said a lot to me about where we are it taught me something in the film if you've seen it as a young as a youth five and a half who is black and he looks in a mirror and he says I don't like me I don't like my thick lips and I don't like my kinky hair and I don't like my black face. Well of course here again would be an evidence of a society somehow instilling in a very beautiful black child that he is ugly. But more to the point how can the child be healed. SIEGEL The film I realize the child can be healed best if I'm not standing there is a white man.
Is the image of strength and masculinity and knowledge and virtue and Christ I must absent myself a black man needs to be standing there as the image of these things are most likely perpetuate for ever. All of this out of the needs of my paternalism. So in other words we come then to the fact that a mutually accepted separatism for the sake of a mutually accepted cause which is liberation has replaced what we call integration which was a quite controlled device to bring in selected black people and make them colored white was pretty evil. I'll never forget the National Conference on religion and race in Chicago I was sitting with a black priest and a white woman in the bar. He got up to go to the bathroom and she said fairly Cura you know this. She said Isn't he nice. He's just the same as us he's really just the colored white man. He would come back for his cigarette lighter. Fine.
Let's let it all hang out. That's what it was all about. Get I black vice president get our black priest get our black everything and control that. It was an incredible moment in Atlanta I remember when I I was invited to a black nationalist coffee house and I thought I was being asked for coffee and I was confronted to a very angry difficult two hours. My throat was burning and I hurt. When I left three very interesting things happened that were very informative. One a middle class black clergyman left with me and he said thank you for sharing my crucifixion with me.
Secondly the people in the back after another hour of discussion said why didn't you let us hear him and why couldn't we have talked and they got into a very important discussion I think. Finally though I mean other than that I had been hurt but it was like my finger pricked and a little blood coming out. Nothing compared to what it had been to be black in any number of situations in a white world. But it could give me the slightest glimmer I may be the black woman for ever cleaning white people's homes or something going to University of Michigan or something for ever seeing it there's no social You gotta get up and go and work in the white people's homes you don't get any help them surance. There's no retirement benefit. And of course black consciousness white consciousness but so
important. Those of us who are white. I get so angry. It isn't just blacks who are deprived. I was never taught American history and I'm an you know college graduate graduate school white American history Ralph Ellison told IWP Lewis at Yale who teaches American literature he said you never taught American literature you teach white American literature. And you know we did a seminar two blacks asked me to join them and I we did it very interesting. Blacks and Whites. Black Consciousness white consciousness. We went to a black ghetto theater the cast had to vote whether to beat us up. Permit us to come into the theater but not see the rehearsal of an ED Bullen's play that whites should not see or whether they would talk to us.
They've only met for hours and they said we will meet with them and we talked and then you said what do we do after the black ghetto is theater for black consciousness white consciousness work I mean we got a five million dollar Episcopal Church that walks at 5:00. And we got the key from the minister's wife a very vulnerable creature like a pilot's wife. Anyway we really were Joan's portraits in the park but we played jazz on the organ. A black man with tuberculosis played the saxophone hacking and at the altar with his shadow weaving in front of the white marble Jesus. Somebody put Angel cigarettes in the angel's mouths around the altar. I moved them because I could see this priest having a stroke in the morning of the early mass but. What came out of it black consciousness white consciousness that means what makes us tick. Yeah ik
that's what's real not our images the images we have of each other. I have to say as a white that I even go out to my grave there will be all sorts of black images that are in same bike will never be able to drag out of myself and I can understand a black having always to see another honky. These were the prayers the black students senator asked me to Purdue which blew my mind. I went they sponsored me one night with them alone the next night for the university community and they did not come. Which is pretty much the way it is. Very good very good session. And after a very good session these were my prayers. How do you see your role a black student asks me Jesus. I don't have a role I reply I'm tired of all roles I simply want to be myself I
don't want to wear a mask I only want a face. There is a ripple of laughter in the Black Student Center Lord. I realize that it might be easier for me than for anybody else inside that room not to have a role to play. It is easier for me to claim anonymity in my whiteness. I have become the invisible man in the population explosion. But how does my young black questioner see his role. Jesus. The only racists are blacks. Sit inside the room filled with blacks except for myself I recollect these words spoken by a white man two weeks earlier Lord. The white man had seen headlines and TV reports about black separatism Black Rage Black self-determination and black nationalism. No one had explained to him why blacks were acting according to an unfamiliar script. Wasn't integration the desired goal. I wish that he could hear the
words of a black speaker inside the center who said in the integration movement whites control the traffic and selected the vehicles they were half stepping in double time. In other words Jesus white seem to select a few blacks and turn them into a coed white men and women it didn't work. But I realize again Lord the wonderful irony of how deeply blacks and whites are brought together. By mutually accepted separation and certain areas of life for the sake of liberation. This is sophisticated instead of simplistic. It demands a lot of honesty on the part of blacks and whites alike. I become white lord by the dangers of isolation. Blacks need to understand the subtle changes taking place in that spectrum called White opinion as whites need to realize that they are not confronted by a black monolith but individual black people representing a complex of views. Doesn't racism exists Jesus so long as we look at any other human being and see a racial mask instead of a human face.
Black isn't chic anymore is it Jesus. I mean whites no longer define it as glamorous now or in the college men and women in this black student center. I don't the whole pleased by the drop from fashion Lord they want to take care of serious business. Unlike their parents they've entered into a black awareness without an internal struggle. They're interested in getting an education and a solid piece of the action for black people. Whites are welcome to the center if they wish to come. Ben Barrett's mother up tightness is seen by the black students as important in teaching whites what it's been like to be black inside a white world with white institutions. The Senate has a remodeled house on the edge of the campus. There's a library of books about the black experience and office for Afro-American Studies a social room in a basement hall for lectures or dancing. Looking at me look at the black students faces a quizzical but not unfriendly. I'm received with open courtesy and frank
talk. One particularly militant student says that he hopes I will not misconstrue his lack of one pretense as a sign of belligerence. What is happening in the Black Student Center gives me hope for all of us. Jesus. White man's heaven is a black man's hell. I heard this song many many times when it was sung by young black nationalist Lord in rural Mississippi and Alabama with these black students seated in their center sing it too. Yes I suppose so lowered. At least they would think it for the experience of human life has been very handy in my white power hasn't it Jesus. I imagine they dream of getting away even just once from white judgment's ways of doing things and ingrained attitudes toward black people. This must be why I know what an occasional black professor is such a welcome change from a white one and a black administrator a black judge
a black journalist a black TV personality a black priest and a black mayor a white man's heaven. It would be hell in its isolation. Wouldn't it Jesus. Will genocide against blacks be possible. Jesus. I watched black fury on the one hand and white non understanding of it coupled with fear and anger heard on the other white ignorance about black experience in America now seems almost deliberate Lord. Now do whites know the actual conditions around a corner in the city or across the town in which blacks live day by day. I'm not talking about the small middle class but about the masses. Whites and Blacks do not know each other in a relaxed honest open way as they often meet in times like situations and then the time runs out. The alarm clock goes off. A black student at the center mentions the question of genocide. It has a way of being asked. Perhaps the very recent death of
six million Jews automatically demands its consideration. So it's genocide here seems impossible to me Jesus. But then I remind myself that I'm white. I forget the white genocide against Native Americans that happened here. There was the deep burst of feeling against Japanese Americans in World War 2 that happened here as a white How can I hope to make this question and an real one. If I were black would I consider genocide in America and the possibility of Jesus. Why do many people see violence in black and white Lloyd. I mean one of white students shouted to a black student during a demonstration on a campus. Come on we're going to burn the place down. No said the Black Student I want an education. I want one for my brother and sister too. Don't white
needs Whites need to understand white consciousness Jesus as blacks need to understand black consciousness in this way both might come to comprehend human consciousness. What is black consciousness Lord. It seems to comprise many things an understanding of what slavery did to men and women. So music blackening the mind. Afro hair. African history. Soul food. Pride and identity. Hip. A lifestyle that differs from the White Survival under oppression and cool. What is white consciousness lowered. It seems to comprise many things an understanding of what a feeling of superiority instead of equality did to men and women. European tradition the legacy of Puritanism ethnic background guilt ownership of property
creating God in the likeness of a white man. The illusion of a master race and success with its nightmare companion failure. Tell us about human consciousness. Jesus. I don't want to live in a South Africa a white student told me the other day he referred Jesus to the separatism between black and white students on his campus. According to him the blacks get along at separate tables in the dining hall do not always acknowledge a friendly greeting outside a classroom. Limit relationships with whites to an absolute minimum of contact and spend most of their time inside the black center. The white student explained that he didn't feel he should be made to pay for the sins of failures in race relations of his grandparents or parents Lori. His comments reminded me of something a black student said I'll refuse for now I want to be a textbook for whites. If they want to know about blacks they should learn it from
books of their professors. On my own time I need to study go be with friends to relax. I'm not going to teach a white kid with my life full time be with the black student Lord and be with the white student and help each to understand the other's feelings. I feel so old when it comes to blacks and whites Jesus. I mean I can remember only a few years ago when blacks and whites could not eat together in a public dining room or stay at the same hotel looking now at the black students surrounding me. I realize this is a part of their folklore passed history and does not concern their present experience. I recollect a visit I paid to a university in the south Lloyd several years ago. Whites and negroes as blacks were called were scattered to the dining hall at a luncheon in my honor that is to say people were not seated in rigid colored blocks. This seemed healthy and promising but I was wrong Jesus.
Most of the whites and blacks present had never laid eyes on each other before. Blacks were singularly unwelcome here. The atmosphere could have been cut with a very sharp knife. Nobody seemed to breathe normally when this reality finally got through to me I tried to break the tension. I told a few of the extremely funny warm and earthy stories that had grown out of the civil rights struggle. These seemingly represent about the only really spontaneous humor still in existence. No one laughed Jesus zeroing in I told facts about second class citizenship and the truth about the black experience in white America. I thought it was time these people heard about such things especially as they were seated in an integrated group that apparently would not soon if ever be duplicated again breathing had stopped. Inside that room Lloyd both the blacks and whites had been conditioned for how long not to trust each other at all. They'd been taught not to look at each other as human beings but only as Negroes
and whites. Later I was told that most whites seated in that room had been taught by their churches newspapers schools and families that civil rights activists and others involved in the racial struggle for justice were indisputably members of the Communist Party. Many have died for the sake of human liberation. LORD Will it be won. Black is not alien to me Jesus. The first time I was alone as a white in a room filled with black men and women. I was disturbed Jesus. I tried to breathe evenly. What was expected of me. I laughed smiled frowned. Told jokes and sought emotional refuge. Now I can discern black friendship black anger black hurt black love black deceit black rage and black
tenderness. These are human Lord and a part of me. Black is not alien to me Jesus. I want to conclude. My Mr. King has been dead only a short time. History will judge all of us including him. Yet these are what I presently feel constitute his greatest significance to us. First I think in the question of violence and nonviolence. You know I think what he's really dealing with here is the question of winning. I
hear him saying Do not become a Nazi to defeat Nazi ism. I hear him saying that a revolutionary people has to have a quality of life. And this also needs to be heard by certain upper class white kids who can have a revolution between steak dinners and because tuna buys you marshy. Well you know I was there May Day when we had that thing you know the white butt of the Black Panthers save the day. It was these out of town white students who were the Black Panthers came around with. You know when you talk through megaphones and they said you know that the alleged beating did not happen of cops and black students and they said you said you came here to help the Panther trial and Bobby Seale. Then do not seek a confrontation for the sake of confrontation but be honest enough to do what you
said therefore couldn't go on. I think it came is talking about the humanistic revolution that is not so much concerned with the transfer of power as the quality of life. He's not talking about a glamorous romantic revolution that eats itself up and destroys itself and simply transfers power to another monster. He never talked about it and how we could be so naive as to talk about it I don't know. And then he said this in the midst of institutional violence which you saw as much as any of us sees it. Secondly the black students and the black students said Oh said I leaders are dead now we must be our own leaders. And Michael Caine is seen by them as a sign not a surrogate hero saintliness is seen as residing in the people. This is so important get away from the celebrity cult. And the great danger in the peace movement and
the black movement is art. I don't know what's our problem. I celebrity feeling toward people I think that we've got to get away from surrogate heroes and we've got to understand here was a man ourselves. The minute we sell out to the Time magazines of this world I think we've had it. In the movement We've always sold out I'm going no where nothing happened till it was in the New York Times what white egg news right on that one a few eat slobs we were and are. It didn't happen. Somebody wasn't shot in McComb Mississippi unless it was in the New York Times ridiculous. And now can we get it in Time Magazine Can we get it on Cronkite for Christ's sake don't get it on Time magazine and Cronkite while you were cheap propaganda. Back. How dare you say you're Catholic or Baptist or anybody if you're just a cheap hack. Happening here with his business don't seek Newsweek
seek to avoid Newsweek. What the hell do you want justification by Newsweek if you have any justification by Christ. There are two things that are dangerous violence and propaganda. And we're involved very deeply in the propaganda when grinding out our problems for the all of the time. Even for a meeting like this. Got to get the NRA News got to get in the Michigan Daily. What's the matter with us and we don't respond unless it's the end. We can't be justified by Time magazine co-opting us and grinding up of a man's philosophy into two paragraphs and then somebody in sophisticated in Ann Arbor sitting down saying now I understand what the man said Times said it's so well believe me I pray to you this is important. Third. Martin King was not chic.
He was out of favor. He died not at his peak of prestige and popularity but he had been rebuked even by many prominent black spokesmen for his anti-war stand. I remember at Washington at the poverty conference the Johnson called and King didn't even leave his room nobody cared he was. I don't think you remember do you remember. And remember the beauty at the very end involved with with the garbage man. How was that for the New York Times. I respect the New York Times is the best we've got I'm not saying it's God and I won't worship it. But I won't worship anything except God. Martin Luther King had transcended fashion he wasn't fashionable. Could Become a Man of
Sorrows a man on the great marathon run. Don't ever forget it that you realize what we do with it when it is dead happened. We say we have a new martyr put a statue up and like candles in front of it freeze him and do what we want him to be and right. And for us I think Martin King had moved into genuine absolute controversy. Everyone had an opinion and has an opinion right. Many wanted and want to exploit Martin King's image for their own ends and thereby manipulate masses of people. But he could say Free at last free at last thank God almighty I'm free at last. In amongst the sense not of authoritarian and Christie's leadership but costly service. He had joined many people in the long march toward liberation.
It might later be seen by history as a turning point in the American experience. He called it a vision of liberation the fulfillment of his dream. From what he termed the top of a mountain if you recall just before his death. A high place. That's it. I think of Moses and a high place in terms of their thinking. He gained a perspective he could look at the heat of the battle from a vantage point he had moved outside history. He departed now everyone would indeed have to accept that confrontation by Martin Luther King. We could no longer be a matter of other people's interpretations of his person or his work now and henceforth it had to be what does Martin Luther King say to me. What does Martin Luther King mean to me and why. Upon his departure he became locked inside multiple and complex symbols
images myths. Yet we must confront a man of mystery and paradox. A man of the ages. He must be heard. He must be given room to breathe the place to be seated. Even in death in a very real sense for his work can only be continued in us. His resurrection from the dead accomplished only in our lives. He lays a claim upon us as much in death as in life for his brother is legion and his brother is ours. For I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me naked and you did not clothe me sick and in prison and you did not visit me. We must confront a human being in Martin Luther King Malcolm
Boyd reading from his new Prayer Book human like me jesus and remembering Martin Luther King in an arbor on the occasion of the third anniversary of the assassination. Malcolm Boyd was the former episcopal chaplain of Wayne State University in Detroit roving missionary for young and old alike and author of the prayer book. Or you're running with meet Jesus and you are a special of the week thanks WUOM the University of Michigan for the recording of this program. This is an easy are the national educational radio network.
Special of the week
Issue 22-71 Rev. Malcolm Boyd
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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