Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thank You, Ms. Irene!

"If something happens to you which is wrong, the best thing to do is have it corrected in the best way you can. The best thing for me to do was to go to the Supreme Court."

--Irene Morgan Kikaldy, in 1984

The daddy's a black man who doesn't have to ride Jim Crow, doesn't have to sit in the back of the bus, thanks to some real courageous folks back in the day, folks like Ms. Irene Morgan Kirkaldy. Do you know her? If not, maybe you should.

Ms. Morgan Kirkaldy, an African American woman, refused to give her seat to a white couple on a Greyhound bus in 1944, 11 years before Rosa Parks. When the arresting officer put his hand on her, she kicked him in the groins and said she would have bitten him, but he looked "too dirty."

She took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. On this day, June 3, 1946, the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregated busing during interstate travel to be unconstitutional and set a strong precedent for future dispensation of discriminatory cases with respect to travel. The NAACP lawyer who argued her case before that august body? A young Thurgood Marshall, the same Thurgood Marshall who would later be appointed to that court.

But it was Ms. Morgan Kikaldy's courage to take her case to court, to keep the faith and to continue the battle that was the catalyst in bringing in the new law and that spurred the "Freedom Rides," an organized effort to test the new law. One of the leaders of the freedom Rides was Bayard Rustin, who was an organizer for a group called The Journey of Reconciliation at the time but would later become an adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the chief organizer of the march on Washington.

Speaking of Ms. Morgan Kikaldy's efforts that started it all, Raymond Arsenault, author of "Freedom Riders," wrote: “She was young, attractive, articulate and, judging by her poised performance in Saluda, strong enough to withstand the pressures of a high-profile legal battle."

As for her later life, in her fifties, she ran a child-care center with her second husband, Stanley Kirkaldy. And she went back to school. At age 68, she received a bachelor's degree from St. John's University. Five years later, she received a master's in Urban Studies from Queens College. In 2000, Glouchester County, where she got on the Greyhound bus and began her remarkable ride with history, honored her on its 350th anniversary. In 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest honor that could be bestowed on an American citizen. The citation read:

“When Irene Morgan boarded a bus for Baltimore in the summer of 1944, she took the first step on a journey that would change America forever.”

Do you know her? If not, maybe you should, because you don't have to ride Jim Crow either. Thank you, Ms. Irene.


Anonymous said...

MAc, Thanks for the story of Ms. Kirkaldy.
True life stories are so much better than fiction.

Natalie said...

Thanks for the story. I hadn't heard of her before. It's funny how some stories become history and others fade away.

MacDaddy said...

sagacious: I just love about us regular folks who, once in a great while, win a few battles.
natalie: I hear you. I consider myself to be pretty up on history, especially African American history; and I only learned of her about a year ago. I'll be checking you out over at your blog. Blessings.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

yo Daddy, is that you down there on the floor of the arena in St. Paul?!

Kellybelle said...

Thanks for the info! Did you know Rosa Parks was kicked off the bus BEFORE her famous arrest by the same bus driver? When the time is right--change comes and no one can stop it.

MacDaddy said...

kellybelle: I didn't know that. Thanks for the info. I'll be checking you out at your blog. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for continuing to feature women who have shown courage.