Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle
Time to shut down another bridge?
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Sitting in the Detroit One Coney Island on Woodward, mind snacking over black coffee and tuna (passing on the Coneys), I marvel at the intersecting life patterns of Rev. Al Sharpton, community activist Agnes Hitchcock and myself. In years bygone, I had conflict with both.
In 1992, I was working with former (and present) California Gov. Jerry Brown, the only real opposition Bill Clinton had for the Democratic nomination for president. We were campaigning in Harlem and Sharpton, accompanied by a small band, demanded a “press conference” with Jerry. I said, “No.” It didn’t happen. Sharpton rebuked me for not showing proper respect. Differences were resolved years later.
Agnes? I encountered Agnes while working with two different Detroit councilwomen with 313 attitudes. One that passed wanted to turn her water sprinklers on Agnes for demonstrating outside her house. I advised against it and gave the demonstrators Oreo cookies. They didn’t like that. The other councilwoman objected in a most aggressive fashion when Agnes suggested during a council session that the councilwoman had a “weave job.” Security and I literally carried the councilwoman back to her office kickin’ and cussin’.
Ain’t no party like a Detroit party.
Yeah, I know — “Where is Agnes, did she leave Detroit?” Agnes did leave Detroit this past weekend, motoring to Selma, Ala. to participate in the commemoration of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” March across the notorious Edmund Pettus bridge, where Bama Azz state troopers beat the hell out of Black folk that simply wanted the right to vote like any other American. Agnes was joined by the Reverend Al and Vice President Joe Biden, among other notables including Martin King III and Detroit’s own Abena Hogan.
Agnes’ walk across the Pettus Bridge is significant because Agnes walked after battling disabling rheumatoid arthritis, enduring hip replacement surgeries and conquering activist malaise.
Agnes is back.
Yep. Agnes is back and in a phone conversation said she is “fed up with the anti-democracy emergency manager for Detroit moves of Michigan Governor Snyder.” We both chuckled and agreed that it is time to call out Snyder’s jack-leg preachers, Tom-media and political apologists in Detroit.
What does this mean? After all, Agnes is just one woman that achieved a bit of national attention when she hurled a grape during a Detroit Board of Education meeting. And what politician didn’t cringe at the thought of receiving a “Sambo” award from Call ‘Em Out? But Agnes’ real legacy has been her courage. Agnes has never been afraid to speak truth to power, while engaging in civil disobedience much like those she and Abena traveled to Selma to honor for taking that horrific Pettus Bridge Beat Down that did result in passage of the now endangered Voting Rights Act after the world shamed America to act on behalf of her Black citizens.
Civil Disobedience Works.
Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network, has achieved new status being a regular White House invitee that enjoys “Twitter/Facebook Follower Envy” as a result of both hosting an MSNBC show and being in the forefront of civil and human rights issues.
Sharpton is now calling for the feds to intervene and stop Snyder’s Detroit Black vote nullification effort via an emergency manager for Detroit.
The Voting Rights Act was only enacted after direct action civil disobedience. If 10,000 can sit for an NAACP dinner, how many will stand for justice? The stage is set. Detroit has an international bridge that may become this era’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Sam Riddle is an Honorably Discharged Viet-Nam Era veteran who dropped out of high school and enlisted in the U.S. military, later earning his GED. Sam’s degrees include a B.A. (Michigan State University) and a Juris Doctor (University of Michigan Law School). Sam is active in prisoner rights issues after being caught up in political corruption and serving 30 months in federal prison. Sam currently serves as Political Director for the Michigan National Action Network founded by Reverend Al Sharpton and is a Life Member of the NAACP. He can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/sam.riddle or https://twitter.com/samriddle
Detroit Raw is a collection of mind snacks written by an ex-con that once wallowed in the cesspool of Detroit corruption who refuses to sit down and be quiet because he believes he can help make Detroit a better place.