My Favorite Year

A review piece on 1956: The World In Revolt, by Simon Hall.  Interesting, because that year was the year of my birth.

Although Hall is correct to point out parallels sixty years ago with the racially-charged controversies of the present day, I would observe that, just as was done over a half-century ago, those controversies–whether it involves Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, the Confederate flag, or the Black Lives Matter movement–have been co-opted and exploited by many of the same people whose blighted lives the incidents should have revealed.

In other words, sixty years ago, whites within the civil rights movement tried to use the movement for their own ends, a tactic that drove Martin Luther King, Jr. and others to distraction.  Today, in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray shooting, many are calling for the complete removal of police presence in the neighborhood in Baltimore where Gray was arrested, a development which, if it comes to pass will, once again, make a mockery of whatever federal funds for redevelopment happen to flow back in to Baltimore in the wake of the unrest.  The people who really want to rebuild will not be able to do so; the neighborhood will not be able to police itself.  What will be left, if the city government surrenders its sovereignty, is a neighborhood even more vulnerable than before, a neighborhood prosperous only to those who profit by civil unrest.


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