Another off the fabulous Lifemask album. A fabulous track that Roy used to give a great intro to when performed live – abhorring apartheid.
On April 4th 1968 a sniper shot Martin Luther King while he was standing on the balcony outside his room in the Motel he was staying in.
He had gone to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers. White workers received pay if conditions were poor but black workers did not. Consequently black workers were forced to labour in blizzards and other terrible conditions which had resulted in deaths.
Martin Luther King stood for equality in the face of hostility and death threats. He suffered abuse, physical attacks and lies from the media. It did not deter him. He was a brave man.
The white supremacists had assassinated many civil rights leaders and supporters. They still, in 1968, wanted segregation and viewed black people as inferior.
It takes a determined man to stand up in the face of death threats that you know have a foundation.
This is the building that the sniper was in. The shot that killed Martin Luther King came from here.
Behind the wreath if the balcony on which he was shot. His room can be seen behind that.
The Lorraine Motel has been turned into a museum/shrine for Martin Luther King. The room has been left as it was. Even the ashtrays. The cars are parked outside as they were on that night.
We have come a long way in our quest for equality. We still have a long way to go.
It is a journey best taken in love and friendship.
Steven Biko was a charismatic speaker who gained prominence as a student leader in the 1960s. He wanted equality for the black people of South Africa and spoke against the Apartheid regime that made blacks second-class citizens and severely restricted their rights.
Steven set up the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970s and continued to speak out against the regime despite threats on his life.
That is bravery!
Because of the strength of his words and personality he was banned. No one was permitted to reproduce his speeches.
In 1977 he was apprehended at a roadblock and arrested. He was then taken to a police cell and tortured and beaten for 22 hours by five police officers until he passed into a coma. No medical attention was forthcoming and he died of a brain haemorrhage caused by the severity of the beatings.
The government released an absurd statement claiming that he had died of a hunger strike. None of the five police thugs who murdered him were brought to justice.
Steven Biko is a hero of mine because of his bravery at speaking out against injustice in the face of death threats. He knew what was likely to be the consequences and still he spoke out. He did not use violence or urge others. He sought equality and freedom.
I wish I had his strength and qualities.
A number of great songs were written to commemorate his life and highlight his murder. One of these was Biko by Peter Gabriel and another was the Biko Drums by Christie Moore. They both send chills through me!