What Martin Luther King Actually Accomplished

“The negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect”

March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, of the United States Supreme Court This article talks a bit about the horrors of the Jim Crow era in America.

Mary Turner 1918 Eight Months Pregnant Mobs lynched Mary Turner on May 17, 1918 in Lowndes County. Georgia because she vowed to have those responsible for killing her husband arrested. Her husband was arrested in connection with the shooting and killing Hampton Smith, a white farmer for whom the couple had worked, and wounding his wife. Sidney Johnson. a Black, apparently killed Smith because he was tired of the farmer’s abuse. Unable to find Johnson. the killers lynched eight other Blacks Including Hayes Turner and his wife Mary. The mob hanged Mary by her feet, poured gasoline and oil on her and set fire to her body. One white man sliced her open and Mrs. Turner’s baby tumbled to the ground with a “little cry” and the mob stomped the baby to death and sprayed bullets into Mary Turner.  

So…One of the things MLK did was to finally put the skids, if not the end to this sort of “domestic terrorism”, against black folks. Now, our black conservative Uncle Toms would like you believe that liberals are using the past as an excuse for everything. But do you see the Jewish people forgetting the Holocaust? Black conservatives, and white conservative racists they support are big on black on black violence. But the thing hy won’t tell you, and you will never find in their pseudo-scientific statistics is that 92% of the men locked up or child sexual abuse …Are white. During Jim Crow white men were free to rape, sodomize and brutalize not only black women…But black children. While lynchings were sometimes reported, these other categories of violence and sexual predation were entirely swept under the rug.

The second thing they lie about is the violence statistics. Sexually abusing a child in the FBI’s version of the violent crime world doesn’t qualify as a “violent crime” – and thus is excludes from the statistics which include murder, and the rape of adult women (or men). We are going to count veggies, but green tomatoes don’t count.

Back to that pre-Civil Rights time – there was little or no hope of actually prosecuting these white criminals in the southern “Justice” system. Laying the groundwork of why black folk will never trust the conservative judges the right is so desperate to appoint.

Gaining the right to walk down the street unmolested may not seem like that big a deal solely from a cynical intellectual viewpoint – but it is pretty freaking important if it is you trying to get down the street.

Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did

This will be a very short diary.  It will not contain any links or any scholarly references.  It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective.

The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished.

The reason I’m posting this is because there were dueling diaries over the weekend about Dr. King’s legacy, and there is a diary up now (not on the rec list but on the recent list) entitled, “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream Not Yet Realized.”  I’m sure the diarist means well as did the others.  But what most people who reference Dr. King seem not to know is how Dr. King actually changed the subjective experience of life in the United States for African Americans.  And yeah, I said for African Americans, not for Americans, because his main impact was his effect on the lives of African Americans, not on Americans in general.  His main impactwas not to make white people nicer or fairer.  That’s why some of us who are African Americans get a bit possessive about his legacy.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, despite what our civil religion tells us, is not color blind.

I remember that many years ago, when I was a smart ass home from first year of college, I was standing in the kitchen arguing with my father.  My head was full of newly discovered political ideologies and black nationalism, and I had just read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, probably for the second time.

A bit of context.  My father was from a background, which if we were talking about Europe or Latin America, we would call, “peasant” origin, although he had risen solidly into the working-middle class.  He was from rural Virginia and his parents had been tobacco farmers.  I spent two weeks or so every summer on the farm of my grandmother and step grandfather.  They had no running water, no gas, a wood burning stove, no bathtubs or toilets but an outhouse, pot belly stoves for heat in the winter, a giant wood pile, a smoke house where hams and bacon hung, chickens, pigs, semi wild housecats that lived outdoors, no tractor or car, but an old plow horse and plows and other horse drawn implements, and electricity only after I was about 8 years old.  The area did not have high schools for blacks and my father went as far as the seventh grade in a one room schoolhouse.  All four of his grandparents, whom he had known as a child, had been born slaves.  It was mainly because of World War II and urbanization that my father left that life.

They lived in a valley or hollow or “holler” in which all the landowners and tenants were black.  In the morning if you wanted to talk to cousin Taft, you would walk down to behind the outhouse and yell across the valley, “Heeeyyyy Taaaaft,” and you could see him far, far in the distance, come out of his cabin and yell back.

On the one hand, this was a pleasant situation because they lived in isolation from white people.  On the other hand, they did have to leave the valley to go to town where all the rigid rules of Jim Crow applied.  By the time I was little, my people had been in this country for six generations (going back, according to oral rendering of our genealogy, to Africa Jones and Mama Suki), much more under slavery than under freedom, and all of it under some form of racial terrorism, which had inculcated many humiliating behavior patterns.

Anyway that’s background.  I think we were kind of typical as African Americans in the pre Civil Rights era went.

So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X’s message.  My father got really angry at me.  It wasn’t that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn’t accomplished anything as Dr. King had.

I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his “I have a dream speech.”

Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress.  Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished.  He gave this great speech.  Or some people say, “he marched.”  I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”

Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this.  If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don’t know what my father was talking about.

But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished.  Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.

He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.

I’m guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing “The Help,” may not understand what this was all about.  But living in the south (and in parts of the mid west and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.

It wasn’t that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn’t sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.

You really must disabuse yourself of this idea.  Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement decided to use to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth’s.

It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them.  You all know about lynching.  But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.

This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running.  It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.

White people also occasionally tried black people, especially black men, for crimes for which they could not conceivably be guilty.  With the willing participation of white women, they often accused black men of “assault,” which could be anything from rape to not taking off one’s hat, to “reckless eyeballing.”

This is going to sound awful and perhaps a stain on my late father’s memory, but when I was little, before the civil rights movement, my father taught me many, many humiliating practices in order to prevent the random, terroristic, berserk behavior of white people.  The one I remember most is that when walking down the street in New York City side by side, hand in hand with my hero-father, if a white woman approached on the same sidewalk, I was to take off my hat and walk behind my father, because he had been taught in the south that black males for some reason were supposed to walk single file in the presence of any white lady.

This was just one of many humiliating practices we were taught to prevent white people from going berserk.

I remember a huge family reunion one August with my aunts and uncles and cousins gathered around my grandparent’s vast breakfast table laden with food from the farm, and the state troopers drove up to the house with a car full of rifles and shotguns, and everyone went kind of weirdly blank.  They put on the masks that black people used back then to not provoke white berserkness.  My strong, valiant, self educated, articulate uncles, whom I adored, became shuffling, Step-N-Fetchits to avoid provoking the white men.  Fortunately the troopers were only looking for an escaped convict.  Afterward, the women, my aunts, were furious at the humiliating performance of the men, and said so, something that even a child could understand.

This is the climate of fear that Dr. King ended.

If you didn’t get taught such things, let alone experience them, I caution you against invoking the memory of Dr. King as though he belongs exclusively to you and not primarily to African Americans.

The question is, how did Dr. King do this — and of course, he didn’t do it alone.

(Of all the other civil rights leaders who helped Dr. King end this reign of terror, I think the most under appreciated is James Farmer, who founded the Congress of Racial Equality and was a leader of non-violent resistance, and taught the practices of non violent resistance.)

So what did they do?

They told us: — whatever you are most afraid of doing vis a vis white people, go do it.  Go ahead down to city hall and try to register to vote, even if they say no, even if they take your name down.

Go ahead sit at that lunch counter.  Sue the local school board.  All things that most black people would have said back then, without exaggeration, were stark raving insane and would get you killed.

If we do it all together, we’ll be OK.

They made black people experience the worst of the worst, collectively, that white people could dish out, and discover that it wasn’t that bad.  They taught black people how to take a beating — from the southern cops, from police dogs, from fire department hoses.  They actually coached young people how to crouch, cover their heads with their arms and take the beating.  They taught people how to go to jail, which terrified most decent people.

And you know what?  The worst of the worst, wasn’t that bad.

Once people had been beaten, had dogs sicked on them, had fire hoses sprayed on them, and been thrown in jail, you know what happened?

These magnificent young black people began singing freedom songs in jail.

That, my friends, is what ended the terrorism of the south.  Confronting your worst fears, living through it, and breaking out in a deep throated freedom song.  The jailers knew they had lost when they beat the crap out of these young Negroes and the jailed, beaten young people began to sing joyously, first in one town then in another.  This is what the writer, James Baldwin, captured like no other writer of the era.

Please let this sink in.  It wasn’t marches or speeches.  It was taking a severe beating, surviving and realizing that our fears were mostly illusory and that we were free.

So yes, Dr. King had many other goals, many other more transcendent, non-racial, policy goals, goals that apply to white people too, like ending poverty, reducing the war like aspects of our foreign policy, promoting the New Deal goal of universal employment, and so on.  But his main accomplishment was ending 200 years of racial terrorism, by getting black people to confront their fears.  So please don’t tell me that Martin Luther King’s dream has not been achieved, unless you knew what racial terrorism was like back then and can make a convincing case you still feel it today.  If you did not go through that transition, you’re not qualified to say that the dream was not accomplished.

That is what Dr. King did — not march, not give good speeches.  He crisscrossed the south organizing people, helping them not be afraid, and encouraging them, like Gandhi did in India, to take the beating that they had been trying to avoid all their lives.

Once the beating was over, we were free.

It wasn’t the Civil Rights Act, or the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act that freed us.  It was taking the beating and thereafter not being afraid.  So, sorry Mrs. Clinton, as much as I admire you, you were wrong on this one.  Our people freed ourselves and those Acts, as important as they were, were only white people officially recognizing what we had done.

PS.  I really shouldn’t have to add this but please — don’t ever confuse someone criticizing you or telling you bad things over the internet with what happened to people during the civil rights movement.  Don’t.  Just don’t do it.  Don’t go there.

PSS  Weird, but it kind of sounds like what V did to Evie.

UPDATE:  There is a major, major hole in this essay as pointed out by FrankAletha downthread — While I was focusing on the effect on black men, she points out that similarly randomized sexual violence against black women was as severe and common and probably more so, because while violence against black men was ritualistic, violence against black women was routine.

UPDATE 2: Rec list — I’m honored!!!

“Killer” George Zimmerman Arrested For Pulling A Gun…Again

You know – all the conservative bigots and racist who supported this guy, must be feeling like complete toilet wipes about now.

So how many more people does this scumbag have to murder before the police in Florida get the courage to lock him up?

This time “innocent George” pulled a shotgun on his (new?) girlfriend…Who is pregnant!

He has gotten away with murder before…

 

 

McBride Killer to Be Tried

There is an old cultural myth in the South, of a farmer protecting his fields from theft by kids with a shotgun loaded with rock salt.  Of course this was in the times before the NRA armed every moron in America with lethal weapons or mass murder, and the racist right terrorized the public into committing, what has become genocide. The farmer certainly realized the loss of a couple of ears of corn wasn’t worth taking someones life, and was seeking to install a moral lesson by way of a painful warning.

As a kid growing up in an area which still had a fair amount of rural expanse – I can certainly remember a few times when a motorist knocked on the door in need of a phone to call for help due to a breakdown or accident. This was the days before we all (or anyone) had cell phones, little ones. As an aside, I can remember as a really little guy of about 5 or 6 visiting my Uncle’s farm in the country, and they had Party Lines. Of course in those days before the terror induced by he gun crazies, the first response to someone knocking on the front door, wasn’t to grab you gun and shoot the visitor.

Now, I have been a gun owner since I was 7, and with relatives who lived in rural areas of the Tidewater and mountains, grew up with folks where hunting and fishing was a way of life. In those days before the Tea Bagged Reich created the Jim Crow “Stand Your Ground” excuse for murder, we had what was called a “Threshold Law”. Ergo, if some Republican decided to dance buck naked on your porch and howl at the moon – it was a matter for law enforcement. If same Republican forced their way into your house (across the threshold) then you were within your rights to use deadly force if necessary. Of course a pot of hot water, or the Al Green Treatment (a pan full of hot grits) would likely prove to be a sufficient enough re-education lesson for all but the most “Cruz”esque of intruders…

But then, in the fast-food infected modern America, a pot of hot water might be pretty hard to come by.

Why are black murder victims put on trial?

Renisha McBride’s toxicology report is out and now we know the 19-year-old had a blood-alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit for driving. This would explain why, according to her family, she was involved in a single-car accident.

However, it does not explain why Theodore Wafer shot her in the face.

McBride’s family says she was seeking help after the crash and knocked on the door of Wafer’s house in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The 54-year-old Wafer, who is white, told investigators he feared McBride, who is black, was trying to break in.

There are too many unanswered questions to know exactly what happened that night. But we do know this: If a black man told police officers “self-defense” was the reason why he shot an unarmed white teenage girl in the face with his shotgun, it would not have taken protests, national media attention and nearly two weeks for authorities to reject that excuse.

And this is why McBride’s death — ruled a homicide after protests and national media attention — draws comparisons to that of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen shot and killed by George Zimmerman, who is of white and Latino heritage, last year. Continue reading

Oakland, Tired of Gun Murders – Tries Gun Control

The NRA has a new target – Oakland, California. Unfortunately for the NRA, this one isn’t as easy as Colorado.

Backing the city’s approach a recent study -

A new study of gun violence published by the American Journal of Public Health found that states with greater levels of gun ownership tend to have higher rates of gun-related murder.

The study, conducted by Boston University professor Michael Siegel and coauthors Craig S. Ross and Charles King III, examines this relationship in all 50 states from 1981 to 2010. The researchers found that “for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9 percent.”

The authors note that, though they can’t prove a causal relationship between higher levels of gun ownership and homicide, “states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.”

Their findings echo past studies about the relationship between gun ownership and homicide, though Siegel, Ross and King look at the relationship over a larger window of time than previous research.

According to a fact sheet from the Harvard School of Public Health:

Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Gun Control in the US, may well break down into Urban versus Rural laws – based on the reality that cities tend to have more violent crime. To make this work may take some creative thinking, beyond just the knee-jerk reaction of either side of the argument. Control of guns has a long history in the US, where it wasn’t uncommon for the local Sheriff to confiscate guns within the city limits to protect the relative peace of the community.

Perhaps, instead of some sort of outright ban – that could be a solution for cities. Regulated, privately owned arsenals operating at the city limit, which would keep or store firearms for city residents or visitors until they leave the urban confines of city. It isn’t clear at this point whether this type of nuanced approach is acceptable to either side.

It will be interesting to see where this one goes, as if it is successful – it may be a model for other cities.

Pallbearers carry the casket of Alaysha Carradine, 8, who was shot to death at a slumber party in Oakland in July. A 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy were wounded. Last year, 12 children were among the city’s 130 homicides — 90% of them gun-related.

Oakland, reeling from gun violence, aims for unprecedented solution

City seeks exemption from the California law that bars local governments from regulating the registration or licensing of firearms.

As a City Council member here, Libby Schaaf is notified each time someone is shot. That, it turns out, occurs several times each day.

It is a relentless reminder of Oakland’s sweeping public safety crisis: So far this year there have been 3,026 gun crimes in this city just shy of 400,000 residents, which tops the list of the state’s most dangerous.

Extreme conditions, reasoned Schaaf — among the public officials who recently attended the wrenching funeral of an 8-year-old girl strafed with gunfire at a slumber party — require exceptional measures.

And so was born an unprecedented effort to seek an exemption from the California law that bars local governments from regulating the registration or licensing of firearms.

“Since the moment I came into office I’ve been on a quest to understand … the tools that Oakland could use to reduce the bloodshed in any way,” said Schaaf, who tapped academics in criminology and law for ideas.

The legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has passed both legislative chambers and is sitting on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, an Oakland resident and two-term mayor here. It joins a dozen other gun control measures awaiting the governor’s decision, including bills that would outlaw the sale of rifles with detachable magazines, expand the list of crimes that result in a possession ban and crack down on straw purchasers of firearms.

No municipality has previously received such an exemption, yet Bonta called the “targeted approach” to hand this regulatory decision-making to local officials “good policy,” noting that 12 children were among Oakland’s 130 homicides last year — 90% of them gun-related.

This year has also seen the slaying of several children, among them Alaysha Carradine. Known to her family as “Ladybug,” she was slain at a July slumber party when an unknown suspect knocked on the door and opened fire. A 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy were wounded.

California does not require registration per se but rather a “dealer record of sale,” provided to the state Department of Justice at the point of purchase. That data can quickly become out of date.

Oakland officials say a city licensing and registration program would help police better track local gun patterns, including thefts; locate straw purchasers; remove firearms promptly from the hands of those barred from possessing them; and allow for better gun safety education.

The gun lobby is opposed, saying the state Department of Justice already tracks gun purchases and that local interference would layer undue costs on law-abiding firearms owners.

“The bill does nothing useful and is just going to make it more difficult for poor people in Oakland to defend themselves and their families,” said Brandon Combs, president of the California Assn. of Federal Firearms Licensees, which lodged its formal opposition to the bill.

But some experts say Oakland could prove a worthy test case for local control for larger cities, such as Los Angeles, which tend to face the greatest crime concentrations. Home rule, they note, allows faster local access to better data in high-crime areas without imposing the same controls on rural areas, which would likely fight them most and arguably need them least.

“It doesn’t isolate the big cities in California, it isolates one city in California,” said UC Berkeley law professor and criminologist Franklin Zimring. “It says, ‘OK, Oakland, you’ve got a big problem now, let’s see what you want to add to the existing California policy that responds to the nature of firearms violence Oakland-style.'”

The Oakland experiment, Zimring said, could serve to “test the waters of local control and to see whether the political process that produces city-level gun policy can get inclusive and responsible, and whether it can get specific and selective in ways that can solve the problem.”…

Zimmerman Pulls Gun on Wife – Arrested

The white right’s favorite killer is at it again. This time threatening his wife and father-in-law with a gun.

This is the third time he has been in trouble with the law since escaping a murder conviction.

As story 2 points out – the Florida Police kicked him loose without charges…Again.

George Zimmerman questioned by police after wife reports gun threat

George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted of murder two months ago in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, was questioned on Monday by police after his estranged wife called 911 saying he threatened her with a gun.

“He’s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and keeps saying step closer … and he’s gonna shoot us,” a breathless and clearly scared Shellie Zimmerman told the police emergency operator, according to the 911 call released by police.

“He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm,” she added.

Shellie Zimmerman, who filed for divorce last week, also said her husband had punched her father in the nose and smashed her iPad.

“I don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m really, really scared,” she told the 911 operator.

Lake Mary, Florida, police spokesman Zach Hudson said no one had been arrested or injured after police officers were called to a house belonging to Shellie Zimmerman’s father, David Dean.

At one point she told her father to take cover. “Dad, Dad, get inside the house. George might start shooting at us,” she can be heard shouting.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” she added, breaking down in tears.

Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell later said Shellie and her father did not to plan to press charges.

Zimmerman was briefly put in a patrol car and later the former neighbor watchman accused his wife of being the aggressor in the incident, he said.

“There was an altercation and one party put their hands on another party,” Hudson added. “We’re still trying to figure out who touched whom.”

Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara arrived at the scene and was expected to make a statement later, according to O’Mara’s spokesman Shawn Vincent.

The three-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac in a leafy suburb of Orlando was where the couple lived during George Zimmerman’s month-long trial, said Shellie’s brother, David Dean Jr.

Shellie and her father arrived on Monday with a truck and a trailer to remove Shellie’s belongings from the house after she filed for divorce last week.

Zimmerman was acquitted on July 13 of murdering 17-year-old Martin as the teenager walked back to the townhouse where he was staying after buying snacks at a nearby convenience store. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in February 2012 in self-defense.

George Zimmerman won’t be charged after alleged domestic incident

No charges will be filed against George Zimmerman after an alleged altercation with his estranged wife and her father, Lake Mary, Florida, Police Chief Steve Bracknell said Monday.

“Shellie Zimmerman has declined prosecution (after consulting with her attorney),” Bracknell said.

George Zimmerman had been temporarily detained by police after Shellie Zimmerman told 911 Monday that he had threatened her and her father with a weapon.

On the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman, who filed for divorce last week, is breathing heavily when she tells a dispatcher that Zimmerman is still at the house.

“He’s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun, and he’s saying, ‘Step closer.’ He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm,” she says….

Quite frankly – you can’t blame her for being afraid to prosecute and testify in Florida with their half-assed policemen, and jumped up kangaroo courts. They would probably wind up putting her in jail for being abused.

Where is the NRA When You Need them …In Mexico

Great new tourist opportunity for the gun hugger types…

An all expense paid trip to Mexico’s norther border region to assist the local vigilantes try and control the drug gangs.

Sadly, the good guys – local citizens who are trying to return law and order to their communities are massively under-armed…

Don’t know what that “pistol” on the right is, but the drug cartels armed with the newest and best from American Gun shops obviously have this poor citizen trying to protect his home and community vastly outgunned thanks to the NRA.

Ergo – the good guys could use a little help from the “Guns and Guts” Norte Americano gun crazies.

How about instead of deporting illegals… We deport the NRA?

Of course the gun-nuts really would have a reason to carry a concealed weapon to protect themselves from folks a bit more dangerous than your average Soccer Mom at the PTA Meeting, Jesus leaving the cross in Church… or that imaginary inner city thug driving 30 miles just so he can “throw down” with the locals in the ‘burbs.

You know, real criminals, with real guns, who do things like this -

The bodies of seven men were found dumped in plastic chairs on a busy roundabout in the Mexican city of Uruapan, authorities have said.
Threatening messages had been nailed to some of the men’s chests using ice picks and the victims had all been shot in the head.
The bodies of the seven men – who have not been identified but are thought to have worked as car washers at crossroads in the city – were placed in sitting positions in the chairs many with their hands and feet bound and bandaging over their heads.

It will not be safe in Mexico until every Mexican carries a machine gun…

And neither will Kindergarten children in the USA.

Wyclef Jean and “Justice – If You Are 17″”

Met Wyclef last year in the Airport Lounge of the Port au Prince Airport. Really a personable, well spoken guy. We talked a bit about some of his Yele Haiti projects, which you can see in action in a number of parts of the city.

Wyclef Jean Drops 'Justice' for Trayvon Martin

Wyclef Jean wants ‘Justice’ for Trayvon Martin

Celebs have been tweeting their thoughts on the controversial Trayvon Martin case, in which a 17-year-old boy was shot to death this past February by neighborhood-watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

But Wyclef Jean has decided to spread Martin’s story with a different approach…

The Fugees musician teamed up with Prescribed and J. Williams to create a track titled “Justice (If You’re 17)” in dedication to Martin, which was dropped today as a free download.

“Justice” starts with the lyrics, “If you’re 17/And you’re wearing a hoodie/You’re on the phone/Talking to your shorty/Make no mistake/There’s one like you/In every city/You know the story,” and later continues with, “If you’re 17 with a hoodie on/ Watch out for the neighborhood watcher/ If you’re at the right neighborhood at the wrong time/ Neighborhood watcher/ This might be your last call to your girlfriend/ The neighborhood watcher/ Man I feel for you if you’re 17.”

Along with the track, J. Williams and Prescribed made a short called “I Am”which deals with not only the Trayvon Martin case, but profiling globally.

A music video for “Justice” is expected to be released April 20.

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