Cheri Honkala- Broke & Blogging

From Cheri Honkala: Green Party Vice Presidential Nominee – Poor Peoples Advocate

cheri honkala philly

Why have I decided to create a blog?

After many sleepless nights and tears in the shower, I have come to understand that one of the most important things that I can contribute to the elimination of poverty and homelessness is to put a light on these inhumane conditions. There are too many people receiving profits from the every day lives of the impoverished people in this country who continue to remain invisible. So one of the best things that I can do is to speak loud, daily and often.

In this blog, I hope to convey how much we need you in this movement. My goal is to show the reality of the inhumane horrors families have to endure daily through my words, videos, and pictures. You will not hear about these things on CNN or even through many so-called “progressive” organizations’ blogs and social media campaigns.

I have to be careful because I want to stay alive and out of prison yet I will continue to push the envelope to talk about not only poverty, but the politics of hunger and homelessness in America.

The reason I am charging money for this blog is to raise funds for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.  This will allow us to raise some independent money separate of our oppressors that continue to fund the non-profit industrial complex (charities controlled by corporations). To my poor friends out there, of course I will give you complete access if you send me an email at

“There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with the freedom and a power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Jamaica Parliament Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana

The Jurist

[JURIST] The Jamaican House of Parliament [official website] passed an act Tuesday decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. Under the new law, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is considered a petty offense [AP report] punishable by a ticket.

Beyond consumption, the legislation allows individuals to cultivate up to five plants on any premises. Minister of National Security Peter Bunting [official website] issued a statement following the act’s passage, reinforcing the governments intent to continue combating transnational drug trafficking and illegal cultivation of marijuana.

The new law also lays the ground work for the establishment of a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry in the country. Additional regulations regarding the licensing agencies and the establishment of the medical marijuana sector are expected in the coming months.

Jamaica is the most recent country to join a growing global trend of loosening anti-marijuana laws [JURIST backgrounder]. Earlier this week Alaska’s voter initiative legalizing marijuana [JURIST report] use took effect, making it the third state, along with Colorado and Washington, to legalize recreational marijuana. In November voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC, voted [JURIST report] to legalize recreational marijuana. Also in November the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website] expressed concern that the legalization of marijuana by some US states is not compatible with existing international drug conventions.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST’s real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.


A Defendant’s Release on Bail with Conditions -Lawyers.Com

When somebody is arrested and put in jail, getting out of jail is undoubtedly their main objective. Initially, a judge or magistrate determines if the accused can be released on personal recognizance, an unsecured appearance bond or if additional conditions are required. These conditions or restrictions are usually non-monetary.

If release on personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond won’t guarantee an accused’s appearance or will endanger the safety of a person or the community, then the court can impose more conditions. One of the most important factors in determining if release is appropriate is the nature of the offense charged. In most states, bail may be denied in capital offenses, like murder.

Release on Personal Recognizance

Release on personal recognizance is when the judge decides that an accused is reliable and has strong community ties, which allows him to be released without posting any money. Basically, personal recognizance is a written promise by the accused to appear in court when required.

Release on Unsecured Appearance Bond

An unsecured appearance bond allows an accused, who’s in jail, to post a cash bond in a specified amount in return for being released. The amount of the bond, which is set by the court, varies with the seriousness of the charge.

When an accused posts bond, the court has the right to ask where the money comes from. Determining the source of the money is particularly important in cases where a portion of criminal proceeds may be used to secure the release. A judge can refuse to accept bond if an accused won’t explain the source of money for the bond.

Release on Conditions

If a judge decides that conditions for release are necessary, the court must impose the least restrictive condition or set of conditions. The court can consider several conditions for release, including requiring the accused to:

  • Maintain or actively seek employment
  • Maintain or begin an educational program
  • Follow travel restrictions – surrender a passport or electronic tether
  • Avoid all contact with the victim and witnesses
  • Regularly check in with police
  • Follow curfew
  • Not possess any weapons
  • Not use drugs or alcohol
  • Not commit any other crimes

Pretrial release on conditions isn’t always appropriate. If no combination of conditions can guarantee appearance at trial and the safety of the community, the accused remains jailed.

Failing to Comply with the Terms of Release

If an accused fails to comply with the terms of release, the court can impose financial penalties. For example, if an accused fails to appear, they may have to forfeit real or personal property previously pledged. Also, the court can freeze the assets of an accused as a penalty for not appearing.

Bail allows an accused to be free before trial to help prepare the case. At the same time, the conditions of bail must make sure that the accused shows up as required and that the community is kept safe.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Can the victim or anyone else appear in court to challenge the bail or conditions?
  • Can the bail amount or conditions be appealed?
  • Can anyone pay bail? Can it be paid by credit card?

Judicial Disqualification Resource Center – Grounds for Recusal

Motions to recuse or disqualify judges and other adjudicators have been made for all sorts of reasons. Most commonly such motions are predicated upon a claim that the judge is biased in favor of one party, or against another, or that a reasonable objective observer would think he might be. But such motions are also made on many other grounds, including the challenged judge’s:

  • Interest in the subject matter, or relationship with someone who is interested in it
  • Background or experience, such as the judge’s prior work as a lawyer
  • Personal knowledge about the parties or the facts of the case
  • Ex parte communications with lawyers or non-lawyers
  • Rulings, comments or conduct

In some jurisdictions the ability of a judge to recuse himself is constrained by the so-called “duty to sit doctrine”. According to this doctrine, unless a judge is required by law to disqualify himself he cannot simply choose to recuse himself, but must remain on the case.

In most American jurisdictions a judge may only be disqualified “for cause.” In other words, a person who would like a new judge to preside over her case is required to show either that a basis for disqualification exists that is expressly enumerated in A disqualification statute; or that, for some other reason, a reasonable person would question the judge’s ability to be impartial in the case. But many (mostly western and mid-western) jurisdictions have laws on the books which authorize parties to seek disqualification on a “peremptory” basis, without making any showing of cause. This is referred to as “peremptory disqualification,” or making a “peremptory challenge” . In such jurisdictions, as long as the challenge is timely filed, and the prescribed procedure is complied with, the judge has no discretion to determine whether he should recuse himself; rather, he is disqualified automatically.


  1. Leslie Abramson, of the Louis Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville wrote an early (1993) article on the grounds for judicial disqualification (in federal practice). See Abramson, L., Specifying Grounds for Judicial Disqualification in Federal Courts, Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 1046 (1993). Professor Abramson continues to work and teach in the field. See, e.g. “Deciding Recusal Motions: Who Judges the Judges?
  1. For a detailed discussion of the duty to sit doctrine see J. Stemple, “Chief William’s Ghost: “The Problematic Persistence of the Duty to Sit,” Buffalo Law Review, 57 Buffalo L. Rev. 813 (May 2009).
  1. For a listing of Judicial Policy Advisory Opinions, many of which deal with the subject of when a federal judge is subject to recusal or disqualification click here
  1. For a book that contains a comprehensive overview of the various grounds on which motions to disqualify judges have been made, and which is updated annually, see Flamm, R., Judicial Disqualification: Recusal and Disqualification of Judges (Second Edition, 2007) Those chapters of that book which discuss the case law with regards to the grounds for disqualification are listed here:

Chapter 3     Bias

Chapter 4     Extrajudicial Source Rule

Chapter 5     An Appearance of Bias

Chapter 6     Interest

Chapter 7     Family Relationships

Chapter 8     Social Relationships

Chapter 9     Gifts and Political Support

Chapter 10     Background/Experience

Chapter 11     Prior Work as a Lawyer

Chapter 12     Judicial Knowledge

Chapter 13     “ (Criminal Proceedings)

Chapter 14     Ex Parte Communications

Chapter 15     Judicial Conduct

Chapter 16     Rulings/Comments

To locate libraries which have the most recent edition of Judicial Disqualification in their collection click here

OCLC: Judicial disqualification : recusal and disqualification of judges

Author: Richard E Flamm
Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. : Banks & Jordan Law Pub., ©2007.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 2nd ed  View all editions and formats
Database: WorldCat

Senate Organization Chart for the 114th Congress

The Virtual Reference Desk provides resources about Senate Leadership, committees, and officers.



If a federal official commits a crime or otherwise acts improperly, the House of Representatives may impeach—formally charge—that official. If the official subsequently is convicted in a Senate impeachment trial, he is removed from office.

Origins and Development

Constitutional Authority   Article I, section 2, clause 5   Article I, section 3, clause 6 & 7
Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice CRS Report (pdf)

Grounds for Impeachment

Article II, section 4
Impeachment Grounds: A Selection of Collected Materials CRS Report (pdf)
Impeachment Grounds: Part 2: Selected Constitutional Convention Materials CRS Report (pdf)

Process and Rules

An Overview of the Impeachment Process CRS Report (pdf)
To Arrest an Impeached Senator Feb 5,1789
Senate Adopts First Impeachment Rules Feb 5, 1789
Senate Impeachment Trial Powers Upheld Jan 13, 1993
The Impeachment Process: An Interview with Senate Parliamentarian Floyd M. Riddick (pdf)

Impeachment Trials in the Senate

Cabinet Members

War Secretary’s Impeachment Trial May, 1876

Judicial Impeachments

Senate tries Supreme Court Justice Nov 30, 1804
Congressional Oversight of Judges and Justices CRS Report (pdf)

Presidential Impeachment

        Andrew Johnson

The Senate Votes on Presidential Impeachment May 16, 1868
”Scene from the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. . .”
        William Jefferson Clinton

Senate Publications Related to the Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton (GPO Web site)

Alex Garland’s Black Lives Matter 2015: Activists March Through Seattle’s Central District in Protest for Police Accountability

More than 150 activists marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to the King County Juvenile Detention Center on 12th Ave. in Seattle during a demonstration for police accountability.

Activists took to the streets, stopping at several intersections along the way for moments of silence and speak-outs. Support was shown as the protest marched down Rainier Ave. as people put their fists up or raised hands in a sign of solidarity.

From the Facebook event page…

“We, as young people, have chosen to come forth and call out the many inequalities within the current Criminal Justice System. This system has blatantly devalued, dehumanized, and dismissed people of color. The Black and African-American Communities in the United States have especially been targeted. We are outraged with this systemic failure.

To not act is an injustice within itself. As citizens we need to step up and no longer allow law enforcement to abuse our powers. The current state of the Criminal Justice System has increased persecution of Black and African-American people.

We will no longer tolerate the mistreatment, lack of support, and denied opportunities for this community. We are addressing these issues through peaceful protests, unifying actions, and productive dialogues.

We invite law enforcement, elected officials, and community members to join the movement towards police accountability.

In order to ensure the mission of this protest is accurately portrayed we have come up with some guidelines. They are as follows:

• Do NOT touch the police officers
• Do NOT deface/destroy city or private property
• Do NOT move city or private property

If you do not follow these guidelines you will be asked to stop. If your actions continue you will be asked to leave.”

Peace & Love,
Women of Color for Systemic Change

“Black Lives Matter.” – Protest for Police Accountability

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Members of UN Women’s Guild Talk About King’s Impact on Their Lives

The History of Racism – Episode 1 (part 1/6 )

Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday- Lynching in the 1930s

This is why we march.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi: The Liberating Power of Non-violence

Gadadhara Pandit Dasa Headshot

Posted: 01/21/2014 3:40 pm EST Updated: 03/23/2014 5:59 am EDT

It’s no big secret that Martin Luther King Jr. took great inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi in pushing forward his Civil Rights Movement. Although the two never met personally, Dr. King was introduced to Gandhi’s teachings while at Crozer Theological Seminary. His first application of the non-violent campaign came in 1955 during the Montgomery bus boycott. Here he had a firsthand opportunity to witness the power of a peaceful protest.

His conviction to pursue this course of action strengthened during his 1959 visit to India. He is quoted as saying “It was a marvelous thing to see the amazing results of a non-violent campaign. The aftermath of hatred and bitterness that usually follows a violent campaign was found nowhere in India…” Later during a radio interview, he stated that more than ever before, a non-violent campaign would be the most powerful weapon for oppressed people.

Although there may have been political and strategic reasons that Gandhi pursued a non-violent campaign, I believe the ultimate motivation came from his inherent Hindu faith. The Sanskrit term for non-violence is “ahimsa.” In his autobiography, Gandhi states:

“A true votary of ahimsa therefore remains true to his faith if the spring of all his actions is compassion, if he shuns to the best of his ability the destruction of the tiniest creature, tries to save it…He will be constantly growing in self-restraint and compassion…”

In this passage Gandhi suggests saving even the tiniest creature. Gandhi demonstrated this not only on a grand scale in how he dealt with the British but also on a smaller and more personal level, by being a vegetarian. One teacher of the Bhagavad Gita, Swami Prabhupada, expands on the meaning of “ahimsa” by saying that “Nonviolence is generally taken to mean not killing or destroying the body, but actually nonviolence means not to put others into distress.”

The teaching of “ahimsa” is an essential focal point of Hinduism. Without the gradual development of this trait, it is impossible to achieve self-realization and union with God. It encourages us to try to see all creatures, human and animal, with an equal vision and not discriminate based on bodily differences and designations. During his India visit, Martin Luther King was very moved to learn how Gandhi dealt with those who were labeled as “untouchables” and denied entrance into temples. Gandhi would personally escort the “untouchable” class into the temples. He went so far as to rename them as “Harijans” or the “children of God.”

Like many Hindus, Gandhi also depended on the Bhagavad Gita for inspiration and direction. He is quoted as saying “Whenever doubts haunt me and disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita and find a verse to comfort me. I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.”

Both Martin Luther King and Gandhi were people who gained tremendous inspiration from their faith traditions and were able to perform tremendous feats of courage through the implementation of non-violence. Today, as a culturally diverse society, we can imbibe their spirit and carry forward their legacy by increasing our application of the non-violent principle. We can accomplish this by becoming more compassionate in our thoughts, speech, as well as our actions in dealing with the people around us – family, friends, colleagues, and strangers.

Timeline of Civil Rights





Thurgood Marshall 1987 Bicentennial Celebration Speech


This speech Thurgood Marshall gave in 1987 was part of the constitutional bicentennial celebration. Politicians and Judges around the country were praising the “founding Fathers” for their genius at writing a document that established the guiding legal principles of the republic for generations. But Marshall was one of the few voices pointing out that the original constitution required numerous amendments and came to a crisis that required a Civil War to solve. In a time of flag waving and patriotic rhetoric, Marshall’s comments surprised many and created Front-page headlines:

Remarks of Thurgood Marshall
At The Annual Seminar
of the
In Maui, Hawaii May 6, 1987

1987 marks the 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution. A Commission has been established to coordinate the celebration. The official meetings, essay contests, and festivities have begun.

The planned commemoration will span three years, and I am told 1987 is “dedicated to the memory of the Founders and the document they drafted in Philadelphia.” Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, First Full Year's Report, at 7 (September 1986). we are to “recall the achievements of our Founders and the knowledge and experience that inspired them, the nature of the government they established, its origins, its character, and its ends, and the rights and privileges of citizenship, as well as its attendant responsibilities.” Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, First Report, at 6 (September 17, 1985).

Like many anniversary celebrations, the plan for 1987 takes particular events and holds them up as the source of all the very best that has followed. Patriotic feelings will surely swell, prompting proud proclamations of the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice shared by the Framers and reflected in a written document now yellowed with age. This is unfortunatenot the patriotism itself, but the tendency for the celebration to oversimplify, and overlook the many other events that have been instrumental to our achievements as a nation. The focus of this celebration invites a complacent belief that the vision of those who debated and compromised in Philadelphia yielded the “more perfect Union” it is said we now enjoy.

I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.

For a sense of the evolving nature of the Constitution we need look no further than the first three words of the document’s preamble: ‘We the People.” When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America’s citizens. “We the People” included, in the words of the Framers, “the whole Number of free Persons.” United States Constitution, Art. 1, 52 (Sept. 17, 1787). On a matter so basic as the right to vote, for example, Negro slaves were excluded, although they were counted for representational purposes  at threefifths each. Women did not gain the right to vote for over a hundred and thirty years. The 19th Amendment (ratified in 1920).

These omissions were intentional. The record of the Framers’ debates on the slave question is especially clear: The Southern States acceded to the demands of the New England States for giving Congress broad power to regulate commerce, in exchange for the right to continue the slave trade. The economic interests of the regions coalesced: New Englanders engaged in the “carrying trade” would profit from transporting slaves from Africa as well as goods produced in America by slave labor. The perpetuation of slavery ensured the primary source of wealth in the Southern States.

Despite this clear understanding of the role slavery would play in the new republic, use of the words “slaves” and “slavery” was carefully avoided in the original document. Political representation in the lower House of Congress was to be based on the population of “free Persons” in each State, plus threefifths of all “other Persons.” United States Constitution, Art. 1, 52 (Sept. 17, 1787). Moral principles against slavery, for those who had them, were compromised, with no explanation of the conflicting principles for which the American Revolutionary War had ostensibly been fought: the selfevident truths “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of independence (July 4, 1776).

It was not the first such compromise. Even these ringing phrases from the Declaration of Independence are filled with irony, for an early draft of what became that Declaration assailed the King of England for suppressing legislative attempts to end the slave trade and for encouraging slave rebellions.  See Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas 147 (1942). The final draft adopted in 1776 did not contain this criticism. And so again at the Constitutional Convention eloquent objections to the institution of slavery went unheeded, and its opponents eventually consented to a document which laid a foundation for the tragic events that were to follow.

Pennsylvania’s Governor Morris provides an example. He opposed slavery and the counting of slaves in determining the basis for representation in Congress. At the Convention he objected that

“The inhabitant of Georgia [or] South Carolina who goes to the coast of Africa, and in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity tears away his fellow creatures from their dearest connections and damns them to the most cruel bondages, shall have more votes in a Government instituted for protection of the rights of mankind, than the Citizen of Pennsylvania or New Jersey who views with a laudable horror, so nefarious a Practice.” Farrand, ad., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 11, 222 (New Haven, Conn., 1911).

And yet Governor Morris eventually accepted the threefifths accommodation. In fact, he wrote the final draft of the Constitution, the very document the bicentennial will commemorate.

As a result of compromise, the right of the southern States to continue importing slaves was extended, officially, at least until 1808. We know that it actually lasted a good deal longer, as the Framers possessed no monopoly on the ability to trade moral principles for selfinterest. But they nevertheless set an unfortunate example. Slaves could be imported, if the commercial interests of the North were protected. To make the compromise even more palatable, customs duties would be imposed at up to ten dollars per slave as a means of raising public revenues. United States Constitution, Art. 1, 59 (Sept. 17, 1787).

No doubt it will be said, when the unpleasant truth of the history of slavery in America is mentioned during this bicentennial year, that the Constitution was a product of its times, and embodied a compromise which, under other circumstances, would not have been made. But the effects of the Framers’ compromise have remained for generations. They arose from the contradiction between guaranteeing liberty and justice to all, and denying both to Negroes.

The original intent of the phrase, “We the People,” was far too clear for any ameliorating construction. Writing for the Supreme Court in 1857, Chief Justice Taney penned the following passage in the Dred Scott case, 19 How. (60 U.S.) 393, 405, 407408 (1857). on the issue whether, in the eyes of the Framers, slaves were “constituent members of the sovereignty,” and were to be included among “We the People”:

“We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included…. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race…; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit…. [A]ccordingly, a Negro of the African race was regarded … as an article of property, and held, and bought and sold as such…. [N]o one seems to have doubted the correctness of the prevailing opinion of the time.”

And so, nearly seven decades after the Constitutional Convention, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the prevailing opinion of the Framers regarding the rights of Negroes in America. It took a bloody civil war before the l3th Amendment could be adopted to abolish slavery, though not the consequences slavery would have for future Americans.

While the Union survived the civil war, the Constitution did not. In its place arose a new, more promising basis for justice and equality, the 14th Amendment, ensuring protection of the life, liberty, and property of all persons against deprivations without due process, and guaranteeing equal protection of the laws. And yet almost another century would pass before any significant recognition was obtained of the rights of black Americans to share equally even in such basic opportunities as education, housing, and employment, and to have their votes counted, and counted equally. In the meantime, blacks joined America’s military to fight its wars and invested untold hours working in its factories and on its farms, contributing to the development of this country’s magnificent wealth and waiting to share in its prosperity.

What is striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America’s history in determining the condition of Negroes. They were enslaved by law, emancipated by law, disenfranchised and segregated by law; and, finally, they have begun to win equality by law. Along the way, new constitutional principles have emerged to meet the challenges of a changing society. The progress has been dramatic, and it will continue.

The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes. They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendent of an African slave. We the People” no longer enslave, but the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of “liberty,” “justice,” and “equality,” and who strived to better them.

And so we must be careful, when focusing on the events which took place in Philadelphia two centuries ago, that we not overlook the momentous events which followed, and thereby lose our proper sense of perspective. Otherwise, the odds are that for many Americans the bicentennial celebration will be little more than a blind pilgrimage to the shrine of the original document now stored in a vault in the National Archives. If we seek, instead, a sensitive understanding of the Constitution’s inherent defects, and its promising evolution through 200 years of history, the celebration of the “Miracle at Philadelphia” Bowen, Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787 (Boston 1966). will, in my view, be a far more meaningful and humbling experience. We will see that the true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but its life, a life nurtured through two turbulent centuries of our own making, and a life embodying much good fortune that was not.

Thus, in this bicentennial year, we may not all participate in the festivities with flagwaving fervor. Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.

Thurgood Marshall



Thurgood & LBJThurgood Marshall was America’s leading radical. He led a civil rights revolution in the 20th century that forever changed the landscape of American society. But he is the leastwell known of the three leading black figures of this century. Martin Luther King Jr., with his preachings of love and non-violent resistance, and Malcolm X, the fiery street preacher who advocated a bloody overthrow of the system, are both more closely associate in the popular mind and myth with the civil rights struggle. But it was Thurgood Marshall, working through the courts to eradicate the legacy of slavery and destroying the racist segregation system of Jim Crow, who had an even more profound and lasting effect on race relations than either of King or X.Tm15icoIt was Marshall who ended legal segregation in the United States. He won Supreme Court victories breaking the color line in housing, transportation and voting, all of which overturned the ‘Separate-but-Equal’ apartheid of American life in the first half of the century. It was Marshall who won the most important legal case of the century, Brown v. Board of Education, ending the legal separation of black and white children in public schools. The success of the Brown case sparked the 1960s civil rights movement, led to the increased number of black high school and college graduates and the incredible rise of the black middle-class in both numbers and political power in the second half of the century.

And it was Marshall, as the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court justice, who promoted affirmative action — preferences, set-asides and other race conscious policies — as the remedy for the damage remaining from the nation’s history of slavery and racial bias. Justice Marshall gave a clear signal that while legal discrimination had ended, there was more to be done to advance educational opportunity for people who had been locked out and to bridge the wide canyon of economic inequity between blacks and whites.

He worked on behalf of black Americans, but built a structure of individual rights that became the cornerstone of protections for all Americans.  He succeeded in creating new protections under law for women, children, prisoners, and the homeless. Their greater claim to full citizenship in the republic over the last century can be directly traced to Marshall. Even the American press had Marshall to thank for an expansion of its liberties during the century.

Marshall’s lifework, then, literally defined the movement of race relations through the century. He rejected King’s peaceful protest as rhetorical fluff that accomplished no permanent change in society. And he rejected Malcolm X’s talk of violent revolution and a separate black nation as racist craziness in a multi-racial society.

The key to Marshall’s work was his conviction that integration — and only integration — would allow equal rights under the law to take hold. Once individual rights were accepted, in Marshall’s mind, then blacks and whites could rise or fall based on their own ability.

Marshall’s deep faith in the power of racial integration came out of a middle class black perspective in turn of the century Baltimore. He was the child of an activist black community that had established its own schools and fought for equal rights from the time of the Civil War. His own family, of an interracial background, had been at the forefront of demands by Baltimore blacks for equal treatment. Out of that unique family and city was born Thurgood Marshall, the architect of American race relations in the twentieth century.

After Marshall died in 1993 there was still no authoritative, thorough account of his life and the impact his work had on the nation. The combination of his reclusiveness and his standing in popular culture as an elderly, establishment figure blinded much of the nation to the importance of Marshall’s work. Young people were especially uninformed about the critical role Marshall had played in making history.

A new biography – Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary – is intended to fill some of that vacuum. In these pages the great storyteller tells his stories. And the history, of both his family and the civil rights movement, are in one place so that future generations can understand the dynamics that created and sustained Marshall’s conception of successful race relations. Given that Marshall laid the foundation for today’s racial landscape, his grand design of how race relations best work makes his life’s story essential for anyone delving into the powder-keg of America’s greatest problem. He was truly an American Revolutionary.

Thurgood Marshall Interview about MLK


Marshall won several major Supreme Court cases outlawing segregation in housing, transportation, and in 1954 won Brown v Board of Education, desegregating public schools.  However, frustrated by the foot-dragging and the remaining forms of Jim Crow, non-violent protests became a popular tactics for black activists.  Marches, speeches, and boycotts increased in the 1950s, and led to a revival of the civil rights movement.  It was one such protest, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, that propelled to fame a young minister, Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Though both were leading figures in the civil rights movement, Marshall and King often had a difficult relationship because of Marshall’s belief that segregation would be overturned in the courts, not the streets.  Increasing that friction, FBI Director Hoover spied on both of them, fearing Communists would gain entrée into the American mainstream through the burgeoning social movement.  

Q: Did (Hoover) fear that King was a communist?
A: He just had an absolute blur on communism. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what happened to him, I don’t know what happened but something happened.

No, it was personal. He bugged everything King had. Everything. And the guy that did it was a friend of a private detective in New York who’s a good friend of mine, Buck Owens.  He called up and said, Buck, do you know Martin Luther King? And he said, no. He said do you know anybody that goes? He said yes. He said well you please tell him, don’t use my name but I’m in the group that’s bugging everything he’s got. Even when he goes to the toilet. I mean we’ve bugged everything and I think it’s a dirty damn trick and he ought to know about it.

So Buck called me and I called Brother King. He was in Atlanta then. And I told him about it and he said, oh forget it, nothing to it. Just didn’t interest him. That’s what he said. He didn’t care, no. 

Q: How do you interpret that?
A: I don’t and I’ve never been able to. That he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Well they ain’t nobody who can say that. Right. Right. And
when I called him up and told him that his house was bugged and all, he said so what? Doesn’t bother me. That’s what he said.

Q: Did you guys know about all this sex stuff that they talk about these days?
A: I knew that the stories were out. And I knew who was putting them out.

Q: Mr. Hoover?
A: No, it was a private police business. They used to settle strikes and everything. [Pinkertons] I’m not saying whether, I don’t know, I don’t know whether he was right or Hoover was right. I don’t know which one was right.

Q: What did you think about the fact that he didn’t care about being bugged?
A: Well, the answer was simple. I don’t know if a man can humanly do all the things. Five and six times a night with five and six different women. We add it all up, I mean he just couldn’t be all them places at the same time. I don’t believe in it personally. But I don’t know, when I was solicitor general, a lot of things came by, arguments between the attorney general and the director of the FBI and I, by internal rules, had to get copies of all of it. And we had to have a special safe and I know that of all the things that I listened to and read, I never found Mr. Hoover to have lied once. Not once. I don’t know, I’m not saying he always told the truth –

Q: You never found him to have lied?
A: That’s right. I mean he was never proved to be a liar. He always came up with the right stuff, usually it would be a taped thing. You can tell by the tape. I don’t know. But that’s between him and, I think the only way to do it would be him and King and put ‘em in the same room. And it’s too late to do that.

ArmorLine Despite Marshall’s sympathy for King, his dislike of the street protests, led to his critical view of King’s tactics and those of his protégé, Jesse Jackson:

Who made Jesse Jackson? The press. Who made Martin Luther King? The press, they do it. Because it writes good, it writes well. And you know Martin Luther King didn’t have a publicity person. No sir. The press did it all. The press did it all.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Facts
January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia
April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee
Coretta Scott King


Leader of African American Civil Rights Leader
Nobel Peace Prize (1964)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977)
Congressional Gold Medal (2004)

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Dr. Martin Luther King (National Archives)
Dr. Martin Luther King (National Archives)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summary: Martin Luther King, Jr. became the predominant leader in the Civil Rights Movement to end racial segregation and discrimination in America during the 1950s and 1960s and a leading spokesperson for nonviolent methods of achieving social change. His eloquence as a speaker and his personal charisma, combined with a deeply rooted determination to establish equality among all races despite personal risk won him a world-wide following. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1964 and was selected by Time magazine as its Man of the Year. His “I Have a Dream” speech, which is now considered to be among the great speeches of American history, is frequently quoted. His success in galvanizing the drive for civil rights, however, made him the target of conservative segregationists who believed firmly in the superiority of the white race and feared social change. He was arrested over 20 times and his home was bombed. Ultimately, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of a motel where he was staying in Memphis. A monument to Dr. King was unveiled in the national capital in 2012.

Early Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born Michael Luther King, Jr., in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929. His father, in a 1957 interview, said that both he and his son were supposed to be named for the leader of the Protestant Reformation but misunderstandings led to Michael being the name on birth records. The boy became the third member of his family to serve as pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father. His training and experience as a minister undoubtedly contributed to his renowned oratorical style and cadence.

He also followed the educational path taken by his father and grandfather: he got his education in Georgia’s segregated public schools (from which he graduated at age 15), and he received a B.A. degree from Atlanta’s Morehouse College (a traditionally black college. He then went on to study theology at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, an integrated school where he was elected president of his senior class although it was comprised primarily of white students. In 1955, he received an advanced degree from Boston College in Massachusetts; he had completed the residence for his doctorate two years earlier. (In 1991, a Boston University investigatory committee determined he had plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation; plagiarism was also discovered in his word at Crozer. However, the committee did not recommend his degree be revoked. Evidence of plagiarism had been discovered by Boston University archivists in the 1980s.)

While in Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, who would be his lifetime partner in both marriage and his campaign for civil rights. In 1954, the couple moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where King had been hired as the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

He was already active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, America’s leading African-American organization. At the time of his move to Montgomery he was a member of its executive committee, and in December 1955 he led a 382-day boycott of Montgomery’s segregated public bus system. Negroes, the term then used for the African race, were relegated to the back of the bus and had to give up their seats if a white person wanted them. Since many blacks lived in poverty or near-poverty, few could afford automobiles, and public busses were essential to them for traveling to and from work and elsewhere. During the boycott, King became a target for segregationists. Personal abuse, arrest, and the bombing of his home made clear the risks he would be taking if he continued to work with the movement for civil rights.

In 1957, that movement spawned a new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to focus on achieving civil rights. King was elected president. By dropping reference to Negroes or colored people in its title and instead using the term “Christian Leadership” the organization was declaring its goals were not just those of one race but should be those of all Christian people. King strongly influenced the ideals of the organization.

During the next 11 years, he would speak over 2,500 times at public events, traveling over six million miles. He also wrote articles and five books to spread the message farther. In 1963, he was a leader in the massive civil rights protests at Birmingham, Alabama, that drew the attention of all America—indeed, of the entire world—to the discrimination African Americans faced and their demands for change. Arrested during the protests, he penned “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” which became a manifesto for the civil rights revolution and placed King among America’s renowned essayists such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Influence of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

His tactics for achieving social change were drawn from those of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (known as Mahatma, “great soul”), who had used nonviolent civil disobedience to bring about change in his native India (as he had done with some success previously to win concessions for Indian immigrants living in South Africa’s apartheid system). Gandhi’s methods included boycotts of British goods and institutions. (Like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi was repeatedly arrested and ultimately was assassinated by a fanatic.)

Although King stressed nonviolence, even when confronted by violence, those who opposed change did not observe such niceties. Protestors were beaten, sprayed with high-pressure water hoses, tear-gassed, and attacked by police dogs; bombings at black churches and other locations took a number of lives; some, both black and white, who agitated for civil rights such as the right to vote were murdered, but the movement pressed on.

King was the most prominent leader in the drive to register black voters in Atlanta and the march on Washington, D.C., that drew a quarter-million participants. His message had moved beyond African Americans and was drawing supporters from all segments of society, many of them appalled by the violence they saw being conducted against peaceful protestors night after night on television news.

Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

During the rally in the nation’s capital on August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered his most famous speech, known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, from the steps of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. Portions of that speech are often quoted, including, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’ … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The speech called not only for Negro rights, but for the rights of all people and, moreover, for friendship and unity among all Americans, with phrases such as, “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Beyond the repeated phrase, “I have a dream,” perhaps the best-known and most-often quoted portion of the speech comes from its concluding paragraph, which states:

“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

It has been alleged that King plagiarized his famous speech from one given by Archibald Carey, a black pastor, in a 1952 speech to the Republican National Convention, just as it was found he had plagiarized others’ works in his collegiate papers. While there are similarities in the endings of the two speeches, those similarities are insufficient to be considered outright plagiarism and are based largely on the fact that both men quoted the opening verse of “America the Beautiful” as a lead-in to their closing remarks.

To read a transcript of the entire “I have a dream” speech, see our I Have A Dream Speech Text page

Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize

His oratory and impassioned drive, not just for equality under the law, but for true understanding and acceptance of all races and creeds by all races and creeds, led Time magazine to select Martin Luther King, Jr., as its Man of the Year for 1963. The following year, the Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm, Sweden, awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize. At 35, he was the youngest man ever to have received it. The prize included an award of over $54,000, which he said he would donate to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

As the Vietnam War escalated, King spoke out against America’s involvement in the conflict. His anti-war position was an outgrowth of his belief in nonviolence, but to those who opposed King it intensified their belief he was pro-communist and anti-American.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated

In the spring of 1968, King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, where the majority of the city’s black sanitation workers had been striking since February 12 for increased job safety measures, better wages and benefits, and union recognition. The mayor, Henry Loeb, staunchly opposed all these measures. King was solicited to come to Memphis to lead a planned march and work stoppage on March 28.

That protest march turned violent when sign-carrying students at the end of the parade began breaking windows of businesses, which led to looting. One looter was killed and about 60 people were injured. The city of Memphis lodged a formal complaint in the U.S. District Court against King and several other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He and those leaders negotiated with the factions among the workers and their supporters who had initiated the march.

Assured that they would observe the creed of nonviolent civil disobedience, King agreed to return to Memphis for the re-scheduled march on April 5. The district court had issued a restraining order, however. Representatives of the SCLC met with the judge on April 4 and worked out a broad agreement that would permit the protest march to be held on April 8. Details were to be worked out on April 5.

On the evening of April 4, one of the SCLC representatives, Andrew Young (who would later serve as President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to the United Nations and would be elected mayor of Atlanta), came to King’s room at the Lorraine Motel and informed him of what had been worked out with the judge. They prepared to go out to dinner, along with their colleagues. When King stepped onto the balcony in front of his room, he was shot and killed. He was just 39 years old.

In direct contrast to the nonviolence he had preached, riots broke out following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death. In Chicago alone, nearly a dozen people died, 350 were arrested for looting, and 162 buildings were destroyed by arson.

James Earl Ray

The FBI quickly identified James Earl Ray as their primary suspect in the killing; his fingerprints had been found on the rifle and scope believed to have been used in the assassination, as well as on a pair of binoculars. The fatal shot had been fired from the bathroom window of a nearby rooming house.

Ray, a high-school dropout who had escaped from a Missouri prison in 1967, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London, England, on June 8. In March 1969, he pled guilty and received a 99-year prison sentence. He escaped in 1977 but was recaptured after three days.

Almost immediately after his conviction, Ray tried to recant his confession, saying he had rented the room at the boardinghouse and bought the gun, but he had turned the weapon over to a man he called “Raoul.” In 1992, Ray published a book, Who killed Martin Luther King, Jr? The True Story by the Alleged Assassin, giving his version of events, which suggested there had been a conspiracy and a government coverup. The case was not reopened, although a special congressional committee reported in 1978 that there was a “likelihood” Ray had not acted alone.

In March 1997, he met with one of King’s sons, Dexter, and told him, “I had nothing to do with shooting your father.” King’s widow and heirs began expressing their belief that Ray was innocent and the assassination was part of a conspiracy.

Ray never provided sufficient details to support his contention of a conspiracy and coverup, but many besides the Kings doubt he acted alone. Among the conspiracy theories is one that claims FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who intensely disliked and distrusted King and had kept him under surveillance since 1962, was involved in the assassination—but like other theories about who killed Martin Luther King, Jr., this is mere conjecture.

Ray was never released from prison. He died of liver failure on April 22, 1998, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy

By the time of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, the civil rights movement was evolving; in some ways, it seemed to be leaving him behind. New black-power activists did not accept his philosophy of nonviolence as a way to achieve their goals. The FBI was breaking the power of the Ku Klux Klan, which had stood squarely in the way of racial equality. After successfully campaigning for Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of Cleveland, King was not invited to the victory celebration. The next civil rights challenges, such as fighting poverty, were more abstract compared with the clarity of issues like discrimination in hiring and the use of public amenities. These new concerns would likely have proven more difficult for him to achieve the same levels of success as he had in his previous campaigns for equality and justice. On the last Saturday of his life, he mused about quitting his full-time role in the movement, though he seemed to talk himself out of that, according to one of his fellow activists, Jesse Jackson.

Yet, the lasting legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., as a vibrant catalyst for social change cannot be denied. Among the prominent legacies of his ability to organize and energize the movement for equality are the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. His birthday has become a national holiday, when government offices and many private businesses close to honor his memory. A portion of the Lorraine Motel, including two persevered rooms and the balcony on which he was assassinated, are part of the National Civil Rights Museum. King’s birthplace is now part of the National Park System.

His eloquent words live on, inspiring others who see injustices and seek to change them. He had a dream, and though it is still a long way from being fully realized, the America of his racially segregated youth and that of today’s integrated society in which a black man was elected President of the United States are as far apart and different from each other as the planet Mars is from Neptune. It is impossible to imagine such sweeping change would occur as quickly as it did without a leader like Martin Luther King, Jr., driving it forward.

Articles Featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. From History Net Magazines

Martin Luther King Jr. The Man, The March, the Dream

Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is the most famous portion of the August 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. But King’s speech was less heralded during the balance of his own lifetime than it has become since his death by assassination on April 4, 1968. Exploring how and why the fame of ‘I Have a Dream’ is almost entirely posthumous allows us now, 40 years later, to understand better just how different King’s oration looked from inside the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s than it does to many Americans today.

The idea of a 1963 March on Washington was not originally Martin Luther King’s; instead it was A. Philip Randolph, a longtime trade union activist and the senior statesman among African-American civil rights leaders, who first suggested such an event early that year. Indeed, Randolph had planned a similar mass descent upon Washington two decades earlier, in 1941, before canceling the demonstration after President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to stronger federal anti-discrimination policies.

What Randolph envisioned in early 1963 was a two-day gathering aimed at drawing attention to ‘the economic subordination of the American Negro.’ As sketched out by Randolph’s close aide Bayard Rustin, ‘a broad and fundamental program of economic justice’ and in particular ‘the creation of more jobs for all Americans’ would be the March’s substantive goal. ‘Integration in the fields of education, housing, transportation and public accommodations’ — at that time the Civil Rights Movement’s most visible aims — ‘will be of limited extent and duration so long as fundamental economic inequality along racial lines persists,’ Rustin asserted.

Randolph and Rustin imagined as many as 100,000 protesters besieging Congress on one day in May and then a public mass rally the following day. As weeks went by in early 1963, their target date shifted to mid-June, then October, but neither of the two largest civil rights groups — the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), headed by the sometimes cautious Roy Wilkins, and the National Urban League (NUL), led by Whitney Young — offered support or encouragement when informed of Randolph’s plan.

Martin Luther King Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) were too busy and preoccupied during the early months of 1963 with planning a major upcoming protest campaign in Birmingham, Ala., to react in any fashion to Randolph’s incipient idea. SCLC’s Birmingham demonstrations got underway in earnest in April 1963, but more than four weeks went by before those protests climaxed with internationally distributed scenes of Birmingham policemen and firemen letting loose with snarling German shepherds and high-powered fire hoses against African-American marchers and onlookers. SCLC’s Birmingham campaign was aimed at winning desegregated facilities and new job opportunities in the city’s downtown department stores, but Birmingham’s vituperatively racist public safety commissioner, Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor, was committed to doing everything he could to obstruct any possible negotiated accord between the downtown business community and the African-American protesters. Up until May of 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s administration had sought to keep civil rights issues on the back burner, notwithstanding violent flare-ups when Southern segregationists had attacked ‘Freedom Riders’ seeking to desegregate interstate buses in May 1961 and federal officials implementing court-ordered integration of the University of Mississippi in October 1962.

The Birmingham protests, however, drew the Kennedy administration into daily, face-to-face attempts to arrange a truce in a local crisis that had rapidly spiraled into a major national news story and then an international embarrassment to the United States. A negotiated accord ending Birmingham’s mass protest marches eventually was reached, but furious segregationists sought to derail the settlement with terror bombings and other acts of retaliation.

Birmingham, and the worldwide news coverage its violence received, catapulted the Southern civil rights struggle to greater national prominence than it had ever before attained. Martin Luther King, speaking to his close friend and adviser Stanley Levison on June 1 over a wiretapped phone line, told Levison, ‘We are on the threshold of a significant breakthrough and the greatest weapon is the mass demonstration.’ (J. Edgar Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, believing Levison to be a secret Communist who might be manipulating King, had obtained Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s approval for the wiretapping a year earlier. The transcripts of those wiretaps were released to me, pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, in the mid-1980s.) Because of Birmingham, King told Levison, ‘We are at the point where we can mobilize all of this righteous indignation into a powerful mass movement’ that could pressure the Kennedy administration to finally take decisive action on behalf of black civil rights.

More specifically, King told Levison that they should publicly announce a ‘march on Washington,’ for ‘the threat itself may so frighten the President that he would have to do something.’ Given the standoffish attitude that the Kennedy brothers had manifested toward King and the movement from January 1961 up through May 1963, neither King nor his colleagues had any expectation whatsoever that the Kennedys would change their stance absent widespread objections.

King’s hope was that the president could unilaterally issue an executive order nullifying segregation, and a week after his wiretapped conversation about a march King went public, saying that such an event could feature’sit-in’ protests at the U.S. Capitol. ‘Dr. King Denounces President on Rights’ was The New York Times headline on the resulting news story.

But neither King nor the press knew that privately, for more than two weeks, the president, his attorney general brother and their closest civil rights advisers had been secretly putting together an outline for a dramatically far-reaching civil rights bill that the administration would place before Congress. On the evening of June 11, John F. Kennedy went on nationwide television to announce that proposal and to tell the American people that the civil rights struggle confronted them ‘primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.’

Kennedy’s remarkable address deeply impressed King. ‘He was really great,’ King told Levison in yet another wiretapped phone call. Most immediately, King added, Kennedy’s speech meant that their March on Washington now ought to target Congress, not the president. King publicly amplified that thought a week later in Birmingham: ‘As soon as they start to filibuster, I think we should march on Washington with a quarter of a million people.’

But two important entities were unpersuaded of the political wisdom of any such march. One was the two mainline civil rights groups that previously had rebuffed Randolph, the NAACP and the NUL. The other was the Kennedy administration, which quickly invited King, Randolph, Young and other civil rights leaders to a private meeting with the president on June 22. ‘We want success in Congress, not just a big show at the Capitol,’ John Kennedy told them. ‘It seemed to me a great mistake to announce a march on Washington before the bill was even in committee. The only effect is to create an atmosphere of intimidation — and this may give some members of Congress an out.’

A. Philip Randolph tried to rebut the president’s worries, but Kennedy was adamant, saying, ‘To get the votes we need, we have, first, to oppose demonstrations which will lead to violence, and, second, give Congress a fair chance to work its will.’ The president did not explicitly ask for cancellation of the March, but his message was clear. King told reporters that ‘we feel a demonstration would help the President’s civil rights legislation’ rather than hurt it, but NAACP leader Roy Wilkins was noncommittal, and in private he told his colleagues that only ‘quiet, patient lobbying tactics’ should be employed.

Two days later, at a decisive planning meeting, Wilkins expressed worries about any assemblage that might feature a ‘tinge of Harlem,’ but the NAACP grudgingly agreed to endorse a one-day Washington event on Wednesday, August 28. Yet other civil rights supporters remained extremely worried about the March; African-American Congressman Charles C. Diggs Jr., of Detroit, warned King that in Washington there was increasing concern about ‘disciplinary problems’ at such a demonstration, and that the announcement of the August 28 date had made ‘a lot of people nervous.’

In early July, the March organizers announced that no sit-ins or civil disobedience would be part of the August 28 gathering, and worries about what would occur began to recede. On July 17, President Kennedy, choosing to embrace the inevitable, publicly endorsed the March, and administration officials quietly began assisting March planners in innumerable ways. King, echoing Randolph’s original theme, told journalists the March would ‘arouse the conscience of the nation over the economic plight of the Negro,’ but the Urban League’s Whitney Young voiced the new consensus that had resulted from Kennedy’s metamorphosis: The March would be ‘an all-inclusive demonstration of our belief in the President’s program.’

As August 28 drew close, planners agreed on an afternoon rally at the Lincoln Memorial where speeches by March leaders would be interspersed among musical performances by noted entertainers. King would speak last, and four days before the March he told Al Duckett, a black journalist who was ghostwriting a forthcoming King book on the Birmingham campaign (eventually titled Why We Can’t Wait), that his August 28 oration needed to be’sort of a Gettysburg Address.’

But given how hectically frantic King’s daily schedule usually was, only in the early morning hours of August 28 itself did King finish his final revisions on an advance text of a speech. When typed out and mimeographed for advance distribution to the press, it came to less than three legal-size, double-spaced pages. Yet for King to produce any sort of an advance text for a speech was almost unprecedented, since whether at civil rights rallies or in Sunday morning church sermons, Martin Luther King Jr. almost always spoke extemporaneously, often with no outline or notes whatsoever in front of him. As Drew Hansen writes in his new book The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Speech That Inspired a Nation, ‘King did not so much write most of his speeches as assemble them, by rearranging and adapting material he had used many times before,’ material that King the preacher knew by heart.

After master of ceremonies A. Philip Randolph introduced King as ‘the moral leader of our nation,’ King addressed the huge late afternoon crowd of more than 250,000. He began by commending his listeners for joining ‘what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.’ Then King began to make his way through his advance text almost verbatim, making reference to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and to the promises of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, promises that remained unfulfilled for black Americans, King noted. Speaking metaphorically, King compared those promises to a ‘bad check’ that the United States should now make good on. Using one of his favorite rhetorical devices, an anaphora featuring the recurring phrase ‘Now is the time,’ King called for America to live up to those promises. He made no direct reference to Congress or to Kennedy’s pending civil rights bill, but he did identify discriminatory evils that federal legislation could eliminate. After quoting the prophet Amos on justice and righteousness, King was close to the end of his prepared text. He later recalled that moment:

I started out reading the speech, and I read it down to a point, and just all of a sudden, I decided — the audience response was wonderful that day, you know — and all of a sudden this thing came to me that I have used — I’d used it many times before, that thing about ‘I have a dream’ — and I just felt that I wanted to use it here. I don’t know why, I hadn’t thought about it before the speech.

King had indeed used it before — in Albany, Ga., and in Rocky Mount, N.C., in the fall of 1962, and in both Birmingham and in Detroit a few months earlier — but on none of those occasions had it had anywhere near the impact that it did on August 28. ‘I have a dream,’ King began, again introducing an echoing phrase. He quoted from the Declaration of Independence, alluded to the segregationist doctrines of Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, and then reiterated his ‘dream’ that one day even Alabama would achieve interracial harmony. He ended his ‘I have a dream’ repetition by quoting from the Bible’s Book of Isaiah, and then, in his concluding lines, returned to the closing that appeared in his advance text. Adding several lines from a traditional American patriotic song, King expanded on its call to ‘let freedom ring’ from every mountainside by appending some notable Southern mountains to its list of American peaks. He ended with a line he often used as a closing: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’

As Drew Hansen notes in The Dream, ‘had King not decided to leave his written text, it is doubtful that his speech at the march would be remembered at all,’ for up until the beginning of his ‘dream’ anaphora, King’s oration had been impressive but not memorable. But once that spontaneous inspiration took hold, King shifted forcefully into his voice as a preacher, rather than just a public speaker, and for the first time a national American audience was exposed to King’s real sermonic power. It was a gift that King had polished in black Southern churches for more than a decade, a gift that movement colleagues had encountered from the onset of the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott forward, but only on August 28 did such a huge crowd, plus a live national television audience, hear the extemporaneous genius that made King such a remarkable preacher.

‘I Have a Dream’ was the signature touchstone of the August 28 March, but the hugely influential success of the March lay in its impressive turnout and in its utterly friendly and easygoing tone, far more so than in King’s address. Ten months later Kennedy’s bill, championed in Congress by the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, was signed into law as the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, and one year after that the other bookend legislative achievement of the Southern civil rights struggle, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, also became law.

But in the years after 1965, the glow of the 1963 March, and of the entire 1963–65 civil rights apex, rapidly receded. King himself quickly sensed the deteriorating political scene, and even in mid-1965 he woefully complained about how ‘often in these past two years I have had to watch my dream transformed into a nightmare.’ That nightmare formulation recurred often in King’s speeches and sermons during 1966 and 1967, and as Drew Hansen rightly observes, ‘between 1963 and 1968, few people spent substantial time talking or thinking about what King had said at the march.’ Indeed, by the time of his assassination on April 4, 1968, King’s speech ‘had nearly vanished from public view.’

Yet the tragedy of King’s assassination quickly returned his 1963 speech to the popular eye. ‘Within a few weeks of King’s death,’ Hansen explains, ‘the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech had regained all the public visibility it had lost since 1963.’ Indeed, it ‘gradually came to dominate public memory of King’s legacy,’ thereby raising the significant danger that its upbeat and optimistic tone would distract most if not all attention from the more radically challenging and harshly critical parts of King’s legacy that were most obvious during his 1967-68 public attacks on American economic inequality and American foreign policy.

But 40 years after the March on Washington, there is no gainsaying that Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ has entered American public culture as ‘the oratorical equivalent of the Declaration of Independence,’ as Hansen puts it. If its fame threatens to swamp the balance of King’s legacy, and if its stature directs historical memory only toward the brightest and not the bleakest days of the 1960s black freedom movement, it nonetheless remains the most notable oratorical achievement of the 20th century — a’sort of a Gettysburg Address’ indeed.

This article was written by David J. Garrow and originally published in August 2003 issue of American History Magazine. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to American History magazine today!

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20 Interesting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Facts

This is a guest post by

martin-luther-king-jr-facts1) His name was originally Michael, not Martin.  His father was also Michael King, hence why Martin Luther King Jr. was originally named Michael King Jr.  However, after a trip to Germany in 1931, Michael King Sr. changed his own name in homage to historic German theologian Martin Luther.  Michael King Jr. was two years old at the time and King Sr. made the decision to change his son’s name to Martin Luther as well.

2) At the age of 12, he seems to have tried to commit suicide.  It was May of 1941 when his grandmother passed away after a heart attack.  At the time of this event, King Jr. was off disobeying his parents by going to watch a parade when they told him not too.  When he came home and learned his grandmother had died, he went upstairs and jumped from the second story window of his house.

3) King wasn’t the only one to die at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968.  After he was killed, one of the hotel workers, Lorraine Bailey (who was also the wife of the motel owner and who it was named after), upon seeing King get shot, had a heart attack and later died from this.  This was partially why there was such a delay in getting an ambulance as Lorraine was also the switchboard operator and so when Reverend Samuel Kyles attempted to call an ambulance using the phone in the motel room, nobody was at the switchboard to make that happen.  In Rev. Kyle’s own words,

I ran into the room and picked up the phone to call an operator or to call an ambulance. But, the operator had left the switchboard. There was nobody on the switchboard. I was saying, “Answer the phone, answer the phone, answer the phone.” And there was nobody on the switchboard. So the phone was not answered. (I learned later that the operator had gone out into the courtyard to watch Dr. King. When she saw what happened, she had a heart attack. She was the motel owner’s wife, and she died subsequently.) The police were coming with their guns drawn, and I hollered to the police, “Call an ambulance on your police radio. Dr. King has been shot.” They said, “Where did the shot come from?” … While waiting for the ambulance to come, I took a spread from one of the beds and covered him from his neck down. … I cannot tell you the feelings I had seeing my friend there on that balcony bleeding to death. Finally the ambulance came and took him away.

4) Also on the day King was killed, he was out on the balcony for a smoke.  While you’ll be hard pressed to find a picture of him smoking, he smoked regularly, though had a habit of hiding this partially due to the stigma, particularly within the church at the time, but also because he didn’t want his kids to take up smoking, and so didn’t like pictures of himself doing it, nor did he like to smoke when they were around.  According to Rev. Kyles, after King was shot but before he was taken away by the ambulance, Kyles removed the package of cigarettes from King’s pocket and got rid of the cigarette butt, partially to attempt to hide the fact that King was smoking at the time he was shot.

5) Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly assassinated a decade earlier than his ultimate death.  While on a book tour, signing copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom, on September 20, 1958, King was approached by Izola Ware Curry who asked him if he was Martin Luther King Jr., which he of course replied affirmatively.  When he said he was, she said “I’ve been looking for you for five years.”  She then pulled out a letter opener and stabbed him in the chest.

It took three full hours to remove the blade.  The reason?  The sharp point end of the blade was pressing against his aorta and the doctors had to be extremely careful while removing it because of this.  The doctor, Dr. Maynard, told him after, “If you had sneezed during all those hours of waiting, your aorta would have been punctured and you would have drowned in your own blood.”

6) King Jr. skipped two grades in high school, 9th and 11th, and entered college (Moorehouse College) at the tender age of 15 in 1944.  By 19, he received a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

7) He almost didn’t become a minister.  After graduating from college, he still had serious doubts about Christianity and the Bible and told his father (who was a Baptist minister, as his grandfather had also been) that he didn’t want to be a minister and instead was considering becoming a doctor or a lawyer.  He later decided that the Bible had “many profound truths which one cannot escape” and chose to become a minister, entering seminary at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.  He graduated with his PhD at the age of 25.

8) Although King today is often remembered as being an amazing public speaker, he got a C in public speaking during his first year at seminary.  This likely isn’t because he was actually bad at public speaking at this point.  His father noted that even before going to seminary King Jr. was one of the best public speakers he’d seen.  Whatever caused his professor to give him a C, by his final year King had straight A’s, was the valedictorian of his class, and the student body president.

9)  His honeymoon was spent at a funeral parlor… not because someone died, simply because a friend owned the parlor and offered to let him use it for his honeymoon.

10) King convinced “Uhura” on Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols (who incidentally later went on to work for NASA), to continue on with the role after the first season. Nichols stated he told her not to leave the show because she was not only playing a black person as a main character on TV, but she was also playing a character that didn’t conform to the stereotypical black person of the day, usually portrayed.  Rather, Uhura was portrayed as an intelligent member of the crew and an equal to those around her.

This seems to have had the intended effect.  Whoopi Goldberg once stated when she first saw the character of Uhura on TV, she said “Momma! There’s a black lady on TV, and she ain’t no maid!”  It was partially because of this that Goldberg became a huge Star Trek fan and later pushed so hard to get a character on Star Trek the Next Generation, despite the disbelief of the producers that she’d actually want to be on the show.

Astronaut Ronald McNair, the second black person in space (who also died in the Challenger explosion), was inspired to become an astronaut because of the character of Uhura.    McNair’s brother stated,

Now, Star Trek showed the future where there were black folk and white folk working together. I just looked at it as science fiction, ’cause that wasn’t going to happen, really.’ But Ronald saw it as science possibility. He came up during a time when there was Neil Armstrong and all of those guys; so how was a colored boy from South Carolina – wearing glasses, never flew a plane – how was he gonna become an astronaut? But Ron was one who didn’t accept societal norms as being his norm, you know? That was for other people. And he got to be aboard his own Starship Enterprise.”

11) King is to date the youngest male to win a Nobel Peace Prize, winning it in 1964 at the age of 35 (at the time he was the youngest overall for the Peace Prize).  The youngest ever to win the Peace prize today is Tawakkol Karman of Yemen who was just 32 when she won the prize in 2011.

12) King donated all of the $54,123 (about $400,000 today) he received for his Nobel Peace Prize to the Civil Rights movement.  During his acceptance speech, he stated “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

13) King won a Grammy and was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal and a Medal of Freedom.  The Medal of Freedom and the Gold Medal make sense, but how on Earth did he win a Grammy, you say?  He won it in 1971 for Best Spoken Word Album for “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam”.

14) His house was once bombed.  This was during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted a total of 385 days (more interesting facts on this boycott here)

15) His mother, Alberta Williams King, was also murdered.  She was killed while attending church in Atlanta in 1974 by a 23 year old man, Marcus Wayne Chenault, who believed “all Christians are my enemies”.  He shot and killed her while she was playing organ at the church.

16) King Jr.’s autopsy revealed that stress had taken a major toll on his body.  Despite being just 39 at the time of his death, one of the doctors noted that he had “the heart of a 60 year old”.

17) It wasn’t until the year 2000 that all 50 states officially observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  The last states to join up where Arizona in 1992, New Hampshire in 1999, and Utah in 2000.  The holiday itself was originally signed into federal law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, with the first MLK holiday on January 20, 1986.

18) His “I Have a Dream” speech painted an even bigger target before on his back, not just with certain people in the general public, but with the FBI.  This was a memo circulated throughout the FBI offices after the speech:

In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech yesterday he stands heads and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses of Negros. We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.

The FBI later discovered King was supposedly having numerous affairs and sent him various anonymous letters stating such things as “You are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that” and threatening to blackmail him.  In another anonymous letter supposedly from the FBI, they stated,

The American public, the church organizations that have been helping—Protestants, Catholics and Jews will know you for what you are—an evil beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done. King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significant). You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.

Many of the FBI’s surveillance records, written and audio records, concerning King are currently held in the National Archives, but are sealed from public access until 2027.

19) There are only two other people in American history that have a national holiday in their honor, George Washington and Christopher Columbus.  As such, Martin Luther King Jr. is the only native born United States citizen to have a national holiday in his honor. (*note:  While Washington was born in Virginia, obviously the United States did not yet exist. For reference, the first President to be born in the country of the United States was Martin Van Buren.  He was also the first President not of Irish or British ancestry- his ancestors were Dutch.)

20) Today over 700 streets in the Unites States are named after Martin Luther King Jr., with one such street in almost every major city.  This is not even counting the amazing number of buildings, schools, and the like named after him.

I’ll end this post with the following quote from the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on non-violent resistance:

Non-violent resistance is not for cowards. It is not a quiet, passive acceptance of evil. One is passive and non-violent physically, but very active spiritually, always seeking ways to persuade the opponent of advantages to the way of love, cooperation, and peace.

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Introduction to Radiation Health Effects and Radiation Status at Fukushima


Introduction to Radiation Health Effects and Radiation Status at Fukushima

Originally posted on MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub:

What is radiation? Where does it come from and what is it used for?

Radiation is energy that propagates through matter or space. Radiation energy can be electromagnetic or particulate. Radiation is usually classified into non-ionizing (visible light, TV, radio wave) and ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation has the ability to knock electrons off of atoms, changing its chemical properties. This process is referred to ionization (hence the name, ionizing radiation). Ionizing radiation is the main concern for health effects since it can change chemicals’ properties in the human body.

Radiation comes from many sources including cosmic rays from the universe, the earth, as well as man-made sources such as those from nuclear fuel and medical procedures. Radiation has been used in many industries including diagnostic imaging, cancer treatment (such as radiation therapy), nuclear reactors with neutron fission, radioactive dating of objects (carbon dating), as well as material analysis.

Ionizing radiation…

View original 1,192 more words

420 Leaks: Washington State I-502 MMJ Law Scandal

From Washington State activist John Novak January 9, 2015:

This article includes a large number of links to public records, news articles and other information. If this email does not contain all the hyperlinks, please go to the following links..Please be patient as the site is experiencing heavy volume of visitors and is being adjusted accordingly.

Online at:
On Facebook at:

(We will follow up this email soon with our proposed solutions.)

Subject: I-502: OPMA, MMJ, Public Records and the “Partnership”

By John Worthington (background research also by Arthur West, John Novak)
(All exhibit links to are from public record files in PDF format)
One of the main goals of Initiative I-502, as originally written and passed, was allegedly to create a policy change from enforcing marijuana crimes, to properly enforcing property crimes by ‘legalizing” marijuana for persons over 21.
Once the “legalization” initiative passed, the marijuana prohibition stakeholders, AKA the “partnership” went to work to reverse the policy goals outlined in I-502. (Exhibit 1 )
The “partnership” immediately orchestrated numerous secret meetings for I-502 implementation, to further remarket the marijuana prohibition bureaucracy and directed the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) take steps to get rid of medical marijuana.
Despite the best efforts to hide these meetings, enough information began to leak out to the marijuana activists, that they were able piece together how the “partnership,” influenced the WSLCB. The documents they obtained show how the “partnership” set out to increase local law enforcement funding and de-incentivize medical marijuana.
These public records obtained by various individuals and advocacy groups also show the subversion began with the secret Association of Washington Cities (AWC – a non-profit made up of corporations and government agencies) and law enforcement meetings with the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
The messages and goals for this new Meta organization was clear, get rid of medical marijuana, and divert I-502 revenue to the cities and counties.
According to the notes from these secret Liquor Control Board meetings with local, state and federal agencies set up by the AWC, medical marijuana was no longer needed because the State now had a “legal” marijuana system.
The notes also described in detail how the “partnership” wanted medical marijuana to be repealed and also wanted local law enforcement budget increases. The LCB then took this agenda to the editorial boards of newspapers around the state. (Exhibit 2 See also
The WSLCB arranged to have the legislature “give them cover”, by creating legislation that would allow them a “place at the table,” for medical marijuana discussions. This strategy is outlined in an email from WSLCB board member Chris Marr to the agency director, Rick Garza. (Exhibit 3 )
The email from Marr also introduced the other players in the Meta leadership. These players, knowing or unknowing, were Senator Ann Rivers and I-502 entrepreneur Ezra Eickmeyer. (Exhibit 4 )
Eickmeyer, through Senator Rivers, proceeded to draft SB 5887, which proposed to create a medical marijuana work group, however, the bill did not pass.
Senator Rivers and Eickmeyer then acted to get a medical marijuana work group passed “Amendment #224” in the state’s budget bill, SB 5034, to which Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles objected to because “too many conclusions would be drawn behind closed doors. Senator Kohl-Welles put out an email on June 2, 2014 addressing concerns about the process.

“It has also has resulted in a high level of concern on the part of many patient and other advocacy groups — including even outright opposition being expressed in rallies and demonstrations. I am concerned that we would be handing over too much of our responsibility to a regulatory agency. I also worry that too many conclusions would be drawn behind closed doors, and that the process for creating these rules would circumvent public input.

In many ways, the LCB has a vested interest in diverting business from the medical collectives now operating and into the retail stores when they open early next year. It is easy to argue the LCB also has a vested interest in wanting to add to its regulatory scope, and bring the medical cannabis industry into its system. This may turn out to be the end result down the road, or it may be determined that another state agency should have that responsibility.

For these and other reasons, I think it best to have the LCB focus on its task at hand, that given to them by the voters in approving I-502 — an initiative that specifically mentions it will have no effect on medical cannabis laws.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the “partnership” worked behind the scenes to create law enforcement funding legislation for the “partnership.” The Washington State Patrol’s Investigative Assistance Division (IAD), was tasked to help “shape” I-502 policy. (Exhibit 6 )
The IAD is staffed by officers considered to be loaned state employees to the federal government subject to the Westfall and Federal Tort Claims Act.
Essentially, the federal government also had a hand in I-502 secret rulemaking process through the cross designated members of the WSP and in direct meetings with the DEA and U.S. Attorney’s office.
Soon after the passage of initiative I-502, the broad and powerful “partnership” had managed to convert the policy goals of redirecting law enforcement funding to property crimes to adding local law enforcement funding and getting rid of medical marijuana.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board had arranged its “place at the table”, and the “partnership”, managed to set forth a mechanism to glean law enforcement funding increases and interfere with medical marijuana laws when I-502 appeared to advertise just the opposite. (Exhibit 7 )
For its part the work group, began its job of eliminating or de-incentivizing medical marijuana under the guise of merging it with recreational marijuana. (Exhibit 8 )
The medical marijuana work group had the same open public meetings problem as the I-502 implementation process. They also did not want the public to hear who it was they were working with in private and publically show how they arrived at its decisions.
The Governor’s office, with help from the local U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan did their part by making sure the public knew that the medical marijuana situation was “untenable”. (Exhibit 9 )
The urgency for a “robust” regulatory system for marijuana was further ratcheted up with the use of a document referred to as the “Cole Memorandum”, which was actually requested by the LCB, and not a mandate generated by the U.S. Attorney’s office at the request of the Governor’s office. (Exhibit 10 )
The following legislative session in 2014, SB 5887 and a new bill from Senator Jeanne Kohl Welles SB 6178, offered two approaches on how to integrate and de-incentivize medical marijuana. Representative Eileen Cody also proposed HB 2149 that same legislative session.
All of the bills contained language which highlighted the recommendations of the medical marijuana working group. The battle of killing medical marijuana in the 2014 legislative session began in earnest.
The legislators had several major hurdles to clear in order to kill medical marijuana. The most formidable of which was the fiscal impacts of the “robust” regulatory system which now included more law enforcement funding not included in the I-502 earmarks.
The fiscal notes to the Ways and Means and House Finance committees, which were put forth at the last second, did not include the actual cost of implementing the ratcheted up “robust” marijuana regulatory scheme.
Furthermore, the small business impact studies were incomplete further misleading the actual financial impact of the medical marijuana killing legislation.
Some legislators refused to consider more law enforcement funding because the initiative claimed to be saving money on law enforcement funding. (Exhibit 11 )
“The argument for the initiative was that it’s going to lower public safety costs, and now they’re saying it’s going to increase public safety costs with absolutely no data. (It’s) troubling,” said House Finance Committee Chairman Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) in an interview.
Many marijuana activists claimed victory when all the medical marijuana bills failed to pass out of the 2014 legislative session.
The 2015 legislative session is underway and the legislature should be informed of what the I-502 rule making process has become so they can properly achieve policy goals set forth by the public.

Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project Marijuana Fifth Amendment Lawsuit

Businesses would revert back to pre-2010 business models
protected by the Constitution

For immediate release: Dec. 5, 2014

Contact: Robert J. Corry, Jr.: (303) 634-2244
Kathleen Chippi: 888-EAT-HEMP (888-328-4367)

{Denver} — Attorney Robert J. Corry, Jr. filed a lawsuit on Dec. 5, 2014 in Denver District Court seeking to permanently end Colorado’s marijuana self-incriminating regulatory licensing system, on the grounds that the regulations violate a citizen’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, since marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Click here to read the complaint

Fifth Amendment MarijuanaCorry writes, “Plaintiffs seek to enjoin State and Local Defendants from implementation and enforcement of a reckless scheme of regulation, registration, licensing, and taxation, that requires self-incrimination through mandatory, unequivocal, and law enforcement-accessible
admissions of involvement with a federally-illegal Schedule I narcotic: Marijuana.”

If successful, Corry’s lawsuit would be the basis for overturning ALL regulations regarding marijuana licensing and registration in Colorado on grounds that the regulations require a person to incriminate themselves.

This would NOT require any medical marijuana businesses to shut down. It would allow all medical marijuana businesses to revert back to their business model that existed before July 1, 2010, when the regulations contained in House Bill 10-1284 went into effect. Pre-HB1284, there were hundreds of medical marijuana businesses in Colorado that were operating safely and legally under the guidelines of Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution (often known as “Amendment 20″, Colorado’s medical marijuana law).

“These state regulations are reckless and put all marijuana businesses in Colorado at extreme risk,” says Corry. “Overturning the regulations will allow businesses to operate without incrimination and will better protect them from federal law enforcement.”

As evidence that state regulations put people at risk of federal penalties, Corry references a recent federal forfeiture action, which seeks to seize the assets of several individuals who owned and operated Medical Marijuana Centers in Colorado. The forfeiture action shows that “records of the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division” (MMED) were used repeatedly to show that the owners were in violation of federal marijuana law. The only proof the feds needed of federal violations was the fact that the people were registered with the MMED. The MMED registration alone was enough to prove they were in violation of federal law.

Click here to read the federal forfeiture action (large file – 11MB)

Corry contends that as long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, states cannot require people to give any information about themselves in order to distribute or purchase marijuana. ANY and ALL requirements to identify oneself would result in a “real and appreciable” risk of self-incrimination, and would require a citizen to implicate himself in federal crimes.

The complaint was filed on behalf of an anonymous Medical Marijuana Center owner, referred to as “John Doe”, and several individuals, including Kathleen Chippi, Miguel Lopez and William Chengelis.

Corry writes: “The relief requested by Plaintiffs would restore Colorado to the status quo of pre-July 1, 2010 in which there were hundreds of marijuana dispensaries operating legally under Colorado Law, without any concomitant requirement of mandatory Federal self-incrimination through marijuana-specific license applications and disclosures, marijuana-specific licensure, marijuana-specific record-keeping, marijuana- specific tracking of marijuana product, payment of marijuana-specific taxes on marijuana sales, and other requirements, all geared toward regulating a marijuana market, but which have the effect of compelled self-incrimination.”

Corry claims that the regulations “require plaintiffs to incriminate themselves as committing multiple violations of federal law, including but not limited to, participating in, aiding and abetting, or conspiring to commit a ‘continuing criminal enterprise’ and ‘money laundering.'”

Corry cites a 1973 Colorado Supreme Court case (People vs. Duleff) that overturned a man’s conviction for “selling marijuana without a license” because compliance with the licensing requirement would have required that person to violate his constitutional right against
self-incrimination. Corry writes, “The Colorado Supreme Court held specifically that the Fifth Amendment prohibits state licensing requirements that force a person to reveal a violation of federal law.”

From the Duleff decision, Corry quotes the Colorado Supreme Court. “The Fifth Amendment prohibits licensing requirements from being used as a means of discovering past or present criminal activity which is subject to prosecution by calling attention to the licensee and his
activities….There is no doubt that the information which Duleff would have been required to disclose would have been useful to the investigation of his activities, would have substantially increased the risk of prosecution, and may well have been a direct admission of guilt under federal law. The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from such compulsory, incriminating disclosures and provides a complete defense to prosecution.” — Colorado Supreme Court (1973)

Corry also cites a 1969 US Supreme Court case (Timothy Leary v. United States) in which the highest court in the country overturned Leary’s marijuana possession conviction and ruled that the federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was illegal, due to the fact that a person seeking a tax stamp and complying with the law would be forced to incriminate himself, in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Corry writes, “The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the criminal convictions of Dr. Timothy Leary for alleged violations of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, because the marijuana tax necessarily required the payer of the tax to incriminate himself.”

Corry asks the Court to:
“Enter a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and/or permanent injunction ordering the Defendants, and all those acting in concert with them, to cease and desist from enforcement of the marijuana tax statutes, to cease and desist from any further collection, deposit, or laundering of the marijuana taxes, for a full refund of marijuana tax monies paid by any person or entity, and for destruction of all tax records and identifying information after full refunds are made.”

“Anyone that admits to the state on paper that they’re committing violations of federal law is asking for serious trouble,” says Kathleen Chippi, a plaintiff and member of the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project. “You can lose custody of your children, lose your employment, lose your right to own a firearm, lose your occupational license, lose your housing, your health insurance and your veteran’s benefits. You can have all your assets seized by the feds. You can lose the ability to get an organ transplant, of course, you can also lose your freedom.”

“We knew about the Leary case and more recently discovered the Duleff case. In both cases, the courts were very clear that citizens could not be required to incriminate themselves. I am confident that the judge will rule in our favor,” she says.

Fifth Amendment Marijuana


Click here to read the complaint

Click here to read the federal forfeiture action (large file – 11MB)

People v. Duleff (Colorado Supreme Court case)

US v. Leary (US Supreme Court case)

Read more about the Fifth Amendment here:

Denver 420 Rally

Law Firm of Robert J. Corry, Jr.


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