To the editor:
I want to take this opportunity to invite the public to the McDuffie Museum on Main Street. There is some history there about Thomson and McDuffie County, and also about the War Between the States. That display comes down at the end of January. Often at the Museum, the conversation will turn to why any African American would care to view a display about the war. I tell them that had it not been for the war, and if everything had remained as it was, African Americans in the South today could still be in bondage.
I tell them that African Americans should come and see some of the weapons and documents of the 260,000 men of the Confederacy who died in defense of their states. But the truth is, they should learn about the 360,000 white men who gave their lives so that the Union was preserved and slavery was abolished. To me, that’s why African Americans should be interested in the Civil War.
Something else of interest to all Americans will be our next exhibit honoring Black History Month. We’ll make it Black History Four Months. On display will be a first-edition copy of Stride Towards Freedom, written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This was Dr. King’s first book, and it tells of the march on Selma, Ala. The book was signed by Dr. King and almost every other player in the early Civil Rights movement. Ralph David Abernathy wrote a page dedicating this copy to a friend of the movement. Also on display will be many posters, albums and clothing of the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown.
During the 13 years of Dr. King’s leadership of the American Civil Rights Movement, African Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality than in the previous 350 years. Dr. King is regarded as one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history. He used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance to achieve seemingly impossible goals. His main principle was that men and women everywhere, regardless of color or creed, are equal members of the human family. One of my favorite quotes of his is as pertinent today as it was almost 50 years ago: “This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together – black and white, Easterner and Westerner, gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu – a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”
Our display will have many of Dr. King’s sayings, and it will also have some of the best quotes of James Brown. I’ve read six books on the life of James Brown, and I feel that Mr. Brown’s philosophy of life was very close to that of Dr. King. Come visit us and read them.