Saturday, February 08, 2014


Free Chelsea Manning Now!

 
Free Chelsea Manning Now!

  • Home
  • Events
  • Video
  • Blog
  • Press release
  • Contact
  • February 11th 2014 is

    The Day We Fight Back

    Against Mass Surveillance

    84,888088
    websites so far.
    82
    days
    89
    hours
    8185
    minutes
    8
    3
    4
    seconds left.

    DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET,

    In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.
    In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of its leaders, Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.
    Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.

    WHAT WE'LL DO ON FEBRUARY 11th:

    If you're in the US: Thousands of websites will host banners urging people to call/email Congress. We'll ask legislators to oppose the FISA Improvements Act, support the USA Freedom Act, and enact protections for non-Americans.
    If you're not in the US: Visitors will be asked to urge appropriate targets to institute privacy protections.

    Take Part: This is your moment

    The SOPA and PIPA protests were successful because we all took part, as a community. As Aaron Swartz put it, everybody "made themselves the hero of their own story." We can set a date, but we need all of you, the users of the Internet, to make it a movement.

    1: SIGN UP TO ADD A BANNER TO YOUR SITE

    2: TELL THE WORLD YOU'RE TAKING PART

    Show your support by changing your profile photo:
    Click to share one of these photos on Facebook:
    Ben Franklin quote about privacy and security
    Lebowski is against surveillance too
    This person is in for The Day We Fight Back
    We're protecting you - keep browsing

    4: BE CREATIVE: DO WHATEVER YOU CAN

    This moment is whatever we, the broad community of people who care about the Internet, make of it. Post a comment with a link to every NSA-related story. Make and share a meme. Build a website. Organize an event.
    Then tell us about it so we can spread the word.
    President Obama, Pardon Pvt. Manning

    Because the public deserves the truth and whistle-blowers deserve protection.

    We are military veterans, journalists, educators, homemakers, lawyers, students, and citizens.

    We ask you to consider the facts and free US Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

    As an Intelligence Analyst stationed in Iraq, Pvt. Manning had access to some of America’s dirtiest secrets—crimes such as torture, illegal surveillance, and corruption—often committed in our name.

    Manning acted on conscience alone, with selfless courage and conviction, and gave these secrets to us, the public.

    “I believed that if the general public had access to the information contained within the[Iraq and Afghan War Logs] this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy,”

    Manning explained to the military court. “I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan were targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare.”

    Journalists used these documents to uncover many startling truths. We learned:

    Donald Rumsfeld and General Petraeus helped support torture in Iraq.

    Deliberate civilian killings by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan went unpunished.

    Thousands of civilian casualties were never acknowledged publicly.

    Most Guantanamo detainees were innocent.

    For service on behalf of an informed democracy, Manning was sentenced by military judge Colonel Denise Lind to a devastating 35 years in prison.

    Government secrecy has grown exponentially during the past decade, but more secrecy does not make us safer when it fosters unaccountability.

    Pvt. Manning was convicted of Espionage Act charges for providing WikiLeaks with this information, but  the prosecutors noted that they would have done the same had the information been given to The New York Times. Prosecutors did not show that enemies used this information against the US, or that the releases resulted in any casualties.
    Pvt. Manning has already been punished, even in violation of military law.
    She has been:
    Held in confinement since May 29, 2010.
    • Subjected to illegal punishment amounting to torture for nearly nine months at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia, in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Article 13—facts confirmed by both the United Nation’s lead investigator on torture and military judge Col. Lind.
    Denied a speedy trial in violation of UCMJ, Article 10, having been imprisoned for over three years before trial.
    • Denied anything resembling a fair trial when prosecutors were allowed to change the charge sheet to match evidence presented, and enter new evidence, after closing arguments.
    Pvt. Manning believed you, Mr. President, when you came into office promising the most transparent administration in history, and that you would protect whistle-blowers. We urge you to start upholding those promises, beginning with this American prisoner of conscience.
    We urge you to grant Pvt. Manning’s petition for a Presidential Pardon.
    FIRST& LAST NAME _____________________________________________________________
    STREET ADDRESS _____________________________________________________________

    CITY, STATE & ZIP _____________________________________________________________
    EMAIL& PHONE _____________________________________________________________
    Please return to: For more information: www.privatemanning.org
    Private Manning Support Network, c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610

     

    Note that this image is PVT Manning's preferred photo.


    Note that this image is PVT Manning’s preferred photo.

    Six Ways To Support Freedom For Chelsea Manning- President Obama Pardon Chelsea Manning Now!
     
     
     
     
     
     Note that this image is PVT Manning's preferred photo.
     
    Note that this image is PVT Manning’s preferred photo.
    The Struggle Continues …
    Six Ways To Support Heroic Wikileaks Whistle-Blower Chelsea  Manning
    *Sign the public petition to President Obama – Sign online http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/chelseamanning  “President Obama, Pardon Pvt. Manning,” and make copies to share with friends and family!
    You  can also call (Comments”202-456-1111), write The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, e-mail-(http://www.whitehouse.gov’contact/submitquestions-and comments) to demand that President Obama use his constitutional power under Article II, Section II to pardon Private Manning now.
    *Start a stand -out, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, in your town square to publicize the pardon and clemency campaigns.  Contact the Private Manning SupportNetwork for help with materials and organizing tips http://www.bradleymanning.org/
    *Contribute to the Private  Manning Defense Fund- now that the trial has finished funds are urgently needed for pardon campaign and for future military and civilian court appeals. The hard fact of the American legal system, military of civilian, is the more funds available the better the defense, especially in political prisoner cases like Private Manning’s. The government had unlimited financial and personnel resources to prosecute Private Manning at trial. And used them as it will on any future legal proceedings. So help out with whatever you can spare. For link go to http://www.bradleymanning.org/
    *Write letters of solidarity to Private Manning while she is serving her sentence. She wishes to be addressed as Chelsea and have feminine pronouns used when referring to her. Private Manning’s mailing address: Bradley E. Manning, 89289, 1300 N. Warehouse Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027-2304. You must use Bradley on the address envelope.
    Private Manning cannot receive stamps or money in any form. Photos must be on copy paper. Along with “contraband,” “inflammatory material” is not allowed. Six page maximum.
    *Call: (913) 758-3600-Write to:Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander U.S. Detention Barracks 1301 N Warehouse Rd
    Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027-Tell them: “Transgender rights are human rights! Respect Private Manning’s identity by acknowledging the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ whenever possible, including in mail addressed to her, and by allowing her access to appropriate medical treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT).” (for more details-http://markinbookreview.blogspot.com/2013/11/respecting-chelseas-identity-is-this.html#!/2013/11/respecting-chelseas-identity-is-this.html


    Send The Following Message (Or Write Your Own) To The President In Support Of A Pardon For Private Manning

    To: President Barack Obama
    White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    The draconian 35 years sentence handed down by a military judge, Colonel Lind, on August 21, 2013 to Private Manning (Chelsea formerly known as Bradley) has outraged many citizens including me.

    Under Article II, Section II of the U.S. Constitution the President of the United States had the authority to grant pardons to those who fall under federal jurisdiction.
    Some of the reasons for my request include: 

    *that Private Manning  was held for nearly a year in abusive solitary confinement at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, which the UN rapporteur in his findings has called “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”

    *that the media had been continually blocked from transcripts and documents related to the trial and that it has only been through the efforts of Private Manning’s supporters that any transcripts exist.

    *that under the UCMJ a soldier has the right to a speedy trial and that it was unconscionable and unconstitutional to wait 3 years before starting the court martial.

    *that absolutely no one was harmed by the release of documents that exposed war crimes, unnecessary secrecy and disturbing foreign policy.

    *that Private Manning is a hero who did the right thing when she revealed truth about wars that had been based on lies.

    I urge you to use your authority under the Constitution to right the wrongs done to Private Manning – Enough is enough!

    Signature ___________________________________________________________

    Print Name __________________________________________________________

    Address_____________________________________________________________

    City / Town/State/Zip Code_________________________________________

    Note that this image is PVT Manning's preferred photo.



    Note that this image is PVT Manning’s preferred photo.



    **************

    Free Chelsea Manning Now!
     
     
     
     
     

    ***The Life And Times Of Michael Philip Marlin, Private Investigator – They Shoot Blackmailers, Partner 

     
     
    As readers know Tyrone Fallon, the son of the late famous Southern California private operative, Michael Philip Marlin (Tyrone used his mother’s maiden name for obvious reasons), and private eye in his own right told my old friend Peter Paul Markin’s friend Joshua Lawrence Breslin some stories that his illustrious father told him. Here’s one such story although not about himself but about an operative for the largest detective agency on the West Coast, John “Stubs” Lane. (Stubs nick-named for a habit picked while sitting alone endlessly in cold cars driving cold coffee and picking out cigarette stubs from the ashtray after the deck ran out).

    From The Pen Of Frank Jackman-with kudos to Raymond Chandler

     

     

    A lot of times guys, hard guys with fast-trigger fingers, or an itch for the high life fall off the edge, fall into places where they never should have fallen. Take our slumming streets of Los Angeles private eye Stubs Lane’s client, let's call him Lance Landry, in this short story about blackmailers (although I would not bet money, bet six-two and even money, that pressed, hard-pressed blackmailers would not be above putting a pair of slugs in anybody who got in their way, if necessary). Lance, a hard guy, a former hard guy anyway from back East who went West for the sun, easy pickings, and golden pay- dirt, had an old flame thing, and maybe not so old flame, for Rita Farr. Yes, Rita Farr the exotic and erotic latest 1940s screen siren who made all the boys flutter and the girls shutter (that the boys are fluttering of course, and not doing so over them) was working on another picture to enrich Paine Productions. Paine Productions which had a great deal at stake in the reputation of one Rita Farr.

    That is where the maybe not so old flame with Lance came in. See the studio put the big nix sign on Rita and Lance being together. It seemed then (and maybe now too) that movie stars, high profile sex goddess movie stars and rough -edged gangsters were a lethal audience mix. So Lance was out. Except somebody, okay, a blackmailer, had the photos and letters that showed for all the world to see that Lance was still carrying the torch, had still seen Rita after the studio nix.

    Enter our man Stubs whom Lance had hired to keep an eye on Rita, keep the riffraff and grifters of the world away from her. Stubs, not always able to be choosy about whom he worked for, and in any case was friends, or at least on speaking terms with more than one outlaw as part of his chosen work, including Lance, took the job, took it seriously too.

     

    The problem was that no sooner had Stubs been employed than Rita was kidnapped by her driver, kidnapped at the behest of a party (or parties) unknown. As we all know that falling down on the job would make a tough gumshoe like Stubs see red, seek to right thing up quickly, in short, to deliver the ransom and create hell for the kidnappers. And so he did, taking guff from the studio boss, from Lance, from the party unknown, including a few fists flying and bullets whistling by along the way.

    But some rough justice wins out in the end. It seems that one of Lance's old partners in crime, as will happen in any enterprise, did not like being shut out of the golden pay- dirt and was seeking revenge for that slight. In the end he went down, the actual kidnapper went down, and even Lance went down in order to save Rita when things got dicey at exchange time. And Rita? Well Rita after taking a run for the satin sheets at Stubs in gratitude (so he said) who was not buying, possibly fearing an affair with Rita might come with a bullet not far behind, went off to marry the studio boss. Jesus.

    ***The Roots Is The Toots-The Music That Got The Generation Of ’68 Through The 1950s Red Scare Cold War Night-The Tune Weavers’ Happy, Happy Birthday Baby  

     

     

     

    THE TUNE WEAVERS


    "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby"

    Happy, happy birthday, baby

    Although you're with somebody new

    Thought I'd drop a line to say

    That I wish this happy day

    Would find me beside you

     

    Happy, happy birthday, baby

    No I can't call you my baby

    Seems like years ago we met

    On a day I can't forget

    'Cause that's when we fell in love

    Do you remember the names we had for each other

    I was your pretty, you were my baby

    How could we say goodbye

    Hope I didn't spoil your birthday

    I'm not acting like a lady

    So I'll close this note to you

    With good luck and wishes too

    Happy, happy birthday, baby

    **********

    Damn he never should have sent that note, that short, silly, puffed-up cry baby note trying to worm his way back into Lucy’s arms with memory thoughts about this kiss, or that embrace. And bringing up old seawall sugar shack beach nights holding hands against the splashed tides, against full moons, against tomorrow coming too soon; double date drive-in movies, speakers on low, deep-breathing car fog-ups on cold October nights, embarrassed, way embarrassed, when they surfaced for intermission's stale popcorn or reheated hot dogs; and, that last dance school dance holding tight, tight as hell, to each other as the DJ, pretending to be radio jockey Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsberg, played Could This Be Magic? on that creaky record player used at North Adamsville high school dances since his mother’s time, ancient Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday times.

    Damn, a scratchy, scribbly note, a note written on serious stationary and with a real fountain pen to show his sincerity, and not the usual half- lined sheet, pulled out a three-ring subject notebook, and passed to Lucy during their common study class. Notes the passing of which sometimes got them severe looks from the study monitor, Miss Green, and giggles and taunts, usually some lewd or luscious remarks fraught with sexual innuendo from their fellow students, boys and girls alike, about fogged-up cars and trash talk like that who also tried to intercept those precious notes without success. Yah, “the note heard round the world” that would expose him to all kinds of ridicule, endless be-bop jive patter, and snide questions about his manhood from guys, and probably girls too, around the school, hell, all around North Adamsville and maybe already had if Lucy decided to cut his heart out and tell one and all what a square he, Luke Jackson, was when all was said and done.

    He could hear it now, and could hear the words ringing in his ears. What a soft guy Luke Jackson really was, a guy known to be a love ‘em and leave ‘em guy before Lucy. A guy, a used to be sharp guy who shrugged off more things that you could shake a stick at and came back swinging but who was getting all misty-eyed and cry baby just because some dame, a good looking dame in all the right places, yes, a dame all the guys were ready to pursue once he was out of the picture, but still a dame, a young high school dame, when all was said and done, got under his skin, like they were married or something. Hell, he thought, thought now too late, to himself, that he would have been better off, much better off, leaving it at calling Lucy on the telephone every few hours and either hanging up before she answered or when she did answer freezing up. But that was costing money, serious add up money, since he had to use a public pay telephone up the street from his house because the telephone service had been turned off for non-payment as his family could not afford to pay the bill the past few months.

    Besides it was getting kind of creepy going in and out of the house at all hours, midnight by the telephone waiting like some lonely, awkward girl, walking up the street like a zombie, half mope, half dope, then hesitating before deciding to make the call, making it, or not, and then scurrying like a rat from the public glare of the booth. Christ, one time the cops looked at him funny, real funny, when he was calling at about midnight. And he had to admit that he might have called the police station a few times too after he looked at himself in the mirror upon returning home.

    That note, sent the day before and probably in Lucy’s plotting hands right now, was a minute, a quick minute, brain-storm that he had thought up when he was just plain miserable, just plain midnight telephone tired too, and anyone could make such a rash decision under love’s duress, teenage love’s duress. Right then though all he could think of was all the notes, the cutesy, lined-sheet paper school-boyish notes, that he had sent her when love was in full blossom, full blossom before Jamie Lee Johnson came on the scene, came on the scene with his big old ’59 Chevy Impala, his money in his pocket, and his line of patter and stole his “sweet pea” Lucy away from her “sugar plum” Luke. And that picture sent him back to thoughts of when he and Lucy first met, when their eyes first met.

    “Let’s see,” Luke said to himself it was probably at Chrissie McNamara’s sweet sixteen birthday party that he first laid eyes on her. Hell, who was he kidding, he knew that it was exactly at 8:32PM on the night of April 25, 1962 that he first laid eyes on her, big almost star-struck staring eyes. Or maybe it was a few seconds before because, to break the ice, he had gone up to her and asked her for the time, asked in his then bolder manner if she had time for him, asked her to dance, she said yes, and that was that. Oh, yah, there was more to it than that but both of them knew at that moment, knew somewhere deep down in their teenage hearts, they were going to be an “item,” for a while. And they were indeed sweet pea and sugar plum, for a while. Although Luke would get mad sometimes, fighting mad, fighting break-up mad, when Lucy teased, no, more than teased, him about his not having a car so that they could go “parking” by themselves and not always be on some clowny double-date down at the seashore on Saturday night (or any night in the summer). And Luke would reply that he was saving money for college, and besides sitting on the seawall (and sometimes in love’s heat down beneath its height), their usual habit, was okay, wasn’t it.

    That simmer, that somehow unarticulated simmer, went on for a while, a long while. But Luke had noticed a few months back, or rather Lucy had made her sugar plum notice, that now that they were high school seniors sitting on the seawall was nothing but nowhere kids’ stuff and why did he want to go to college anyway, and wasn’t going to work down at the shipyard where he could earn some real dough and get a car a better idea. The real clincher though, the one that telegraphed to him that the heavens were frowning on him, was the night she, no bones, stated that she had no plans for college and was going right to work after graduation, and maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t be able to wait for him. And that’s where things started to really break down between them.

    Enter one Jamie Lee Johnson, a friend of Lucy’s older brother Kenny, already graduated from North Adamsville two years before and working, working steady with advancement possibilities according to the talk, as a junior welder down at the shipyard making good dough. Making drive-in movies and even drive-n restaurant good time dough, and driving that souped-up, retro-fitted, dual-carbed, ’59 Chevy, jet black and hung to the gills with chrome to make a girl breathless. And before Luke knew it Lucy’s mother was answering the phone calls for Lucy from Luke saying that she wasn’t in, wasn’t expected in, and that she, Lucy’s mother, would tell Lucy that he had called. The runaround, the classic runaround since boy meets girl time began, except not always done over the telephone. And while Lucy never said word one about breaking it off between them, not even a “so long we had fun,” Luke, although not smart enough to not write that sappy note, knew she was gone, and gone for good. But see she had gotten under his skin, way under, and well, and that was that.

    Just as Luke was thinking about that last thought, that heart-tearing thought, he decided, wait a minute, maybe she didn’t get the note, maybe he had forgotten to put a stamp on it and as a result of those maybes he fished around his pocket to see if he had some coins, some telephone coins, and started out of the house prison to make that late night pilgrimage creep, that midnight waiting by the telephone creep. Walking up the street, walking up the now familiar night street-lighted against the deathless shadows Hancock Street he noticed a jet black ’59 Impala coming his way, coming his way with Jamie Lee and Lucy sitting so close together that they could not be pried apart with a crowbar. Luke thought about that scene for a minute, steeled himself with new-found resolve against the love hurts like in the old love 'em and leave ‘em days, threw the coins on the ground without anger but rather with relief, turned back to his house wondering, seriously wondering like the fate of the world depended on it, what pet names they Jimmy and Lucy had for each other.

     

     

    ***Poet’s Corner- Langston Hughes 




    From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

    February is Black History Month

     

     
    Freedom’s Plow

    Freedom’s Plow

    When a man starts out with nothing,
    When a man starts out with his hands
    Empty, but clean,
    When a man starts to build a world,
    He starts first with himself
    And the faith that is in his heart-
    The strength there,
    The will there to build.

    First in the heart is the dream-
    Then the mind starts seeking a way.
    His eyes look out on the world,
    On the great wooded world,
    On the rich soil of the world,
    On the rivers of the world.

    The eyes see there materials for building,
    See the difficulties, too, and the obstacles.
    The mind seeks a way to overcome these obstacles.
    The hand seeks tools to cut the wood,
    To till the soil, and harness the power of the waters.
    Then the hand seeks other hands to help,
    A community of hands to help-
    Thus the dream becomes not one man’s dream alone,
    But a community dream.
    Not my dream alone, but our dream.
    Not my world alone,
    But your world and my world,
    Belonging to all the hands who build.

    A long time ago, but not too long ago,
    Ships came from across the sea
    Bringing the Pilgrims and prayer-makers,
    Adventurers and booty seekers,
    Free men and indentured servants,
    Slave men and slave masters, all new-
    To a new world, America!

    With billowing sails the galleons came
    Bringing men and dreams, women and dreams.
    In little bands together,
    Heart reaching out to heart,
    Hand reaching out to hand,
    They began to build our land.
    Some were free hands
    Seeking a greater freedom,
    Some were indentured hands
    Hoping to find their freedom,
    Some were slave hands
    Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,
    But the word was there always:
    Freedom.

    Down into the earth went the plow
    In the free hands and the slave hands,
    In indentured hands and adventurous hands,
    Turning the rich soil went the plow in many hands
    That planted and harvested the food that fed
    And the cotton that clothed America.
    Clang against the trees went the ax into many hands
    That hewed and shaped the rooftops of America.
    Splash into the rivers and the seas went the boat-hulls
    That moved and transported America.
    Crack went the whips that drove the horses
    Across the plains of America.
    Free hands and slave hands,
    Indentured hands, adventurous hands,
    White hands and black hands
    Held the plow handles,
    Ax handles, hammer handles,
    Launched the boats and whipped the horses
    That fed and housed and moved America.
    Thus together through labor,
    All these hands made America.

    Labor! Out of labor came villages
    And the towns that grew cities.
    Labor! Out of labor came the rowboats
    And the sailboats and the steamboats,
    Came the wagons, and the coaches,
    Covered wagons, stage coaches,
    Out of labor came the factories,
    Came the foundries, came the railroads.
    Came the marts and markets, shops and stores,
    Came the mighty products moulded, manufactured,
    Sold in shops, piled in warehouses,
    Shipped the wide world over:
    Out of labor-white hands and black hands-
    Came the dream, the strength, the will,
    And the way to build America.
    Now it is Me here, and You there.
    Now it’s Manhattan, Chicago,
    Seattle, New Orleans,
    Boston and El Paso-
    Now it’s the U.S.A.

    A long time ago, but not too long ago, a man said:
    ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL--
    ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR
    WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS--
    AMONG THESE LIFE, LIBERTY
    AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
    His name was Jefferson. There were slaves then,
    But in their hearts the slaves believed him, too,
    And silently too for granted
    That what he said was also meant for them.
    It was a long time ago,
    But not so long ago at that, Lincoln said:
    NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH
    TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN
    WITHOUT THAT OTHER’S CONSENT.
    There were slaves then, too,
    But in their hearts the slaves knew
    What he said must be meant for every human being-
    Else it had no meaning for anyone.
    Then a man said:
    BETTER TO DIE FREE
    THAN TO LIVE SLAVES
    He was a colored man who had been a slave
    But had run away to freedom.
    And the slaves knew
    What Frederick Douglass said was true.

    With John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Negroes died.
    John Brown was hung.
    Before the Civil War, days were dark,
    And nobody knew for sure
    When freedom would triumph
    "Or if it would," thought some.
    But others new it had to triumph.
    In those dark days of slavery,
    Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,
    The slaves made up a song:
    Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
    That song meant just what it said: Hold On!
    Freedom will come!
    Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
    Out of war it came, bloody and terrible!
    But it came!
    Some there were, as always,
    Who doubted that the war would end right,
    That the slaves would be free,
    Or that the union would stand,
    But now we know how it all came out.
    Out of the darkest days for people and a nation,
    We know now how it came out.
    There was light when the battle clouds rolled away.
    There was a great wooded land,
    And men united as a nation.

    America is a dream.
    The poet says it was promises.
    The people say it is promises-that will come true.
    The people do not always say things out loud,
    Nor write them down on paper.
    The people often hold
    Great thoughts in their deepest hearts
    And sometimes only blunderingly express them,
    Haltingly and stumblingly say them,
    And faultily put them into practice.
    The people do not always understand each other.
    But there is, somewhere there,
    Always the trying to understand,
    And the trying to say,
    "You are a man. Together we are building our land."

    America!
    Land created in common,
    Dream nourished in common,
    Keep your hand on the plow! Hold on!
    If the house is not yet finished,
    Don’t be discouraged, builder!
    If the fight is not yet won,
    Don’t be weary, soldier!
    The plan and the pattern is here,
    Woven from the beginning
    Into the warp and woof of America:
    ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.
    NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH
    TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN
    WITHOUT HIS CONSENT.
    BETTER DIE FREE,
    THAN TO LIVE SLAVES.
    Who said those things? Americans!
    Who owns those words? America!
    Who is America? You, me!
    We are America!
    To the enemy who would conquer us from without,
    We say, NO!
    To the enemy who would divide
    And conquer us from within,
    We say, NO!
    FREEDOM!
    BROTHERHOOD!
    DEMOCRACY!
    To all the enemies of these great words:
    We say, NO!

    A long time ago,
    An enslaved people heading toward freedom
    Made up a song:
    Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
    The plow plowed a new furrow
    Across the field of history.
    Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped.
    From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow.
    That tree is for everybody,
    For all America, for all the world.
    May its branches spread and shelter grow
    Until all races and all peoples know its shade.
    KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW! HOLD ON!

    Langston Hughes

    … he, call him Chester Moore, to give him a name, although in the end he was nameless, or maybe too many names to name and so stick with Chester, Chester of the thousand dreams, Chester of the ten generations in the Mississippi night, the Mississippi goddam night, if that helps. Chester now several generations removed from Mister’s slavery, now a couple of generations removed from the plow, that damn plow and forget all that talk about freedom’s plow, forget all that “talented tenth” talk about hands joined together, white, black, indentured, adventurous, pushing that plow, that plow that kept his daddy and his daddy before him still under Mister’s thumb and Mister’s strange book of etiquette, his Mister James Crow (or call it Miss Jane Crow for his womenfolk were as obsessed and thrilled as old Mister with the forms of the, ah, etiquette and the great black fear-the great miscegenation –damn race-mixing ). Chester all citified now, all book-learned, a little anyway, a little more worldly than daddy and granddaddy who never, ever left the delta for one day, after having done his American, hah, duty to fight off old white bread Hitler in all the crevices of countrified Europe. Chester a little less enamored of Mister Thomas Jefferson and Mister George Washington than daddy or granddaddy (although still enthrall to Father Abraham, and that silky smooth mad monk John Brown) and ready, black hands and all, and only black hands if that is what it took to fire old Mister James Crow (or maybe ravage Miss Jane Crow, if that was what it took) to seize the moment (long before Bobby called his tune- seize the time) and to break out of that fetid Mississippi muck, that cold steel Alabama, and maybe shave that peach fuzz off old stinking gentile new south Georgia.
    So Chester gathered Booker, all greasy hands and dank uniform, from the auto shop, gathered Uncle Bill, grizzled by too much processed beef, from the barbecue stand, gathered Edward, head and back bent from ancient seedings, from his hard-scrabble low-down no account dirt share-crop, gathered Robert, full of book knowledge on the sly, from his janitorial duties over at the court house , hell, even gathered Reverend Sims, fat with Miss this or Miss that’s home cooking, from his Lord’s Worship Baptist Church sanctuary from the world, gathered Miss Betsy, an old time love before she took up with Johnny Grey while he was overseas, from her Madame Walker beauty salon (a very strategic move as it turned out since Miss Betsy knew everybody, everybody that Chester needed to turn that silly freedom plow talk into kick ass freedom talk ), gathered Miss Millie from her maidly duties at Mister John Connor’s house, and even gathered (although not without controversy, not by a long shot, mostly from Reverend Sims) Miss Emily Jones, habituĂ© (see he learned something in Uncle Sam’s Army) of Jimmy Jack’s juke joint, hell, just call her good time girl, okay. All others, reverends, bootleggers, juke joint owners, northern liberals, white and black, shoe-shine boys, newspaper shouters, streetwalkers (yes, those streetwalkers), bus-riders (front or back), walkers of indeterminate reason (along Highway 61 dusty roads ready to make an arrangement with the devil if need be), Johnny-come-lately boys (brave too, despite the late hour, brave after the first jail night, the first blooded street fight) , children, high school be-boppers, you name it fill in the rear, because daddy and granddaddy Mister Whitey’s judgment day is here, here and now.