In 1968 when Dr. King was slain, the President of the United States mandated that all flagsÂ be lowered to half-mast. Government officials at the Lafayette courthouse refused to comply. A small contingency of citizens then lowered the flag, and another group raised the flag. I stood there in disbelief of the actions of Lafayette's leaders and with some apprehension as local police stood in the street brandishing shotguns. The standoff ended in a stalemate when a parish executive removed the flag and carried it inside.
A lot has happened in the ensuing 38 years since Dr. King was killed, but the mindset of some of Lafayette's leaders does not seem to have evolved. That people with this mindset are in power and have the right to make decisions that impact the lives of so many people is not a comforting thought.
Lafayette is a place where subdivision developers have been allowed to name streets for their children and even their pets if they chose to, but seven council members refuse to name a street for this man of history to which the country owes so much.
To witness political leadersÂ refuse to name a street for Dr. Martin Luther King is not a surprise. To hear them say that those who want to honor Dr. King are "playing a race card" is both shameful and stupid.
The irony, I suppose, is these seven men do not understand that everyone who is watching knows what their true motives are. The sadness, I suppose, is that they know their constituents well enough to know there is enough pervasive, if subtle, racism among the populace to support their stance.
in case you missed it