Monday, January 16, 2017


Amy Goodman and Issa Rae spoke to a packed Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor Monday morning. Goodman and Rae were the keynote speakers at the U of M Martin Luther King Symposium.

Amy Goodman is the host of the Democracy Now which airs on public radio and television nationally. Goodman has won many awards for her investigative journalism. She is also an author.

Issa Rae created and is featured in The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and the up-coming HBO series Insecure.

Amy Goodman took the stage a 10:30am and delivered a powerful lecture focused on civil rights and the state of the country. She began the lecture by discussing how the KKK in 1970 blew up the transmitter of a Houston community radio station called Pacifica. Goodman stated Monday that, "She cannot believe today we are are still speaking about the KKK." Goodman pointed out her deep frustration and upset in regard to the fact that the KKK endorsed Trump.

Amy Goodman also spoke of Trumps twitter war with John Lewis. Lewis led the Selma march in 1965. During the march Lewis, a civil rights organizer, was beaten by police and was seriously injured. Lewis recently stated that he doesn't see Trump as legitimate. Trump fired back on twitter that Lewis represents a crime infested district and is all talk, no action. Goodman expressed her outrage at Trumps weekend tweet targeting Lewis. Lewis was a coordinator for SNCC (Student Non violent Coordinating Committee) in the 1960's.

During her lecture Goodman referenced Martin Luther Kings 1967 speech condemning the war Vietnam. During the famous speech King stated, "The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

Amy Goodman talked about Rosa Parks, and the little known fact that Parks had been a civil rights activists for quite some time before her refusal to give her seat up for a white person on a city bus. Goodman told the audience that prior to her famous bus refusal to move, she had been a secretary to a NAACP coordinator in Alabama.. Goodman added that the mainstream media gets it wrong when reporting about Parks because they do not acknowledge that she was indeed a civil rights activist for years before she refused to give up her seat to a white person on the bus.

Toward the end of her lecture, Goodman stressed that news publications must show images of war, protest or any other subject matter that may be uncomfortable to look at because people need to see what actually goes on as far as war or any other violent political struggle.

Amy goodman shared that an arrest warrant was put out for her in North Dakota for her coverage of the what she calls, Stand Off at Standing Rock where Native Americans were protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The charges were later dropped.

During the second hour of the lecture Amy Goodman interviewed Issa Rae. During the on stage interview Rae spoke of her path and journey from growing up in L.A. Senegal, and Maryland, to HBO series star and creator. Rae went to a white school in Maryland and constantly had, "The feeling of being out of place." Rae talked about feeling out of place again when her family moved back to L.A.

She spent  much time growing up, and as a student at Stanford writing in her journal about feeling awkward and black. She eventually realized that many people related to these feelings. This inspired her creation of her half hour HBO series, Insecure.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.
Amy Goodman speaking at MLK Symposium Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor. Purple Walrus Press photos.

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