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Le Tenessee

Le long voyage entre discrimination et espoir : implanter des racines noires en terre blanche

« Dream on white boy
Dream on black girl
Then wake up to a brand new day
To find your dreams are washed away »

INXS, « Original Sin »


Tennessee State Poem

Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee
by Vice-Admiral William Lawrence

 Oh Tennessee, my Tennessee What love and pride I feel for thee. You proud ole state, the volunteer, Your proud traditions I hold dear. I revere your heroes Who bravely fought our country's foes. Renowned statesmen, so wise and strong, Who served our country well and long. I thrill at thoughts of mountains grand; Rolling green hills and fertile farm land; Earth rich with stone, mineral and ore; Forests dense and wild flowers galore; Powerful rivers that bring us light; Deep lakes with fish and fowl in flight; Thriving cities and industries; Fine schools and universities; Strong folks of pioneer descent, Simple, honest, and reverent. Beauty and hospitality Are the hallmarks of Tennessee. And o'er the world as I may roam, No place exceeds my boyhood home. And oh how much I long to see My native land, my Tennessee.
The official Tennessee Poem, "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee", by Vice-Admiral William P. Lawrence, was adopted in 1973. This poem was composed by William Lawrence, in his head, while held in solitary confinement in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.
Source : Netstate
1. Le Peuple noir en route pour l'espoir

The Long Journey


Source : Unit 8

Source : Samuel Thevenard

 Freedom Road

Source : Political Humor


JO 1968, un geste fort

Contrairement à ce qu’on répète en général, ni Smith ni Carlos n’appartenaient aux Black Panthers, cette organisation radicale qui militait aux Etats-Unis contre la situation injuste faite aux Noirs; mais la mort de Martin Luther King le 4 avril 1968, puis celle de Robert Kennedy le 6 juin de la même année, les incitait l’un et l’autre à agir à leur niveau, en faisant un geste symbolique qui, ils en étaient persuadés, aurait un retentissement dans le monde entier. Les JO n’offraient-ils pas cette occasion inespérée?

Il faut ajouter qu’une rencontre fut très certainement déterminante pour passer à l’acte: celle de Harry Edwards. Ce professeur de sociologie, ancien athlète, avait fondé juste un an avant, l’Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), dans le but d’organiser un boycottage des JO; pour lui, il n’était plus question de gagner des médailles pour un pays qui refusait d’intégrer la minorité noire. Voici comment il justifiait sa position au New York Times en 1968:

"For years we have participated in the Olympic Games, carrying the United States on our backs with our victories, and race relations are now worse than ever," he told the New York Times Magazine in 1968. "We're not trying to lose the Olympics for the Americans. What happens to them is immaterial.... But it's time for the black people to stand up as men and women and refuse to be utilized as performing animals for a little extra dog food."

Mais plus fondamentalement, et au milieu d’autres revendications générales, l’OPHR s’en prenait directement au Comité international olympique (CIO) et surtout à sa présidence… Fondé en 1896 à l’issue des jeux d’Athènes, le CIO est l’autorité suprême du mouvement olympique. Celui-ci s’est doté d’une charte adoptée par les membres du CIO et qui dit ceci:”l’olympisme est une philosophie (…) alliant le sport à la culture et à l’éducation, (il) se veut créateur d’un style de vie fondé sur la joie dans l’effort, la valeur éducative et le bon exemple et le respect des principes éthiques fondamentaux universels”. On remarque donc que si le concept de droit de l’homme ne figure pas explicitement dans la charte de l’olympisme en revanche, on y trouve une défense des principes moraux universels. Selon Harry Edwards et son OPHR, ces nobles principes ont été largement dévoyé par le racisme du président du CIO, Avery Brundage (1952-1972). Il faut se rappeler qu’en tant que président du Comité américain, celui-ci avait déjà milité pour la participation des Etats-Unis aux Jeux de Berlin organisés par les nazis en 1936. Ce flagorneur zélé avait même retiré les athlètes juifs de l’équipe américaine du relais 4 fois 100 mètres.

Brundage pouvait donc à bon droit se sentir directement visé par ces trois sprinters d’exception exhibant le badge de l’OPHR. Le lendemain, il demanda l’expulsion de Smith et Carlos à la délégation américaine. Leur carrière était terminée… ils devinrent entraîneurs d’athlétisme. Mais qu’est-il arrivé à Peter Norman ? Au départ, celui-ci ne devait pas être impliqué, mais ayant surpris Smith et Carlos évoquer leur projet dans les vestiaires, il leur avait exprimé son souhait d’accomplir lui aussi un geste de solidarité. Geste qu’il paya très cher, car le meilleur sprinteur de son pays, ne fut pas sélectionné en 1972 pour les Jeux de Munich et sombra ensuite dans la dépression et l’alcoolisme.

Sources =

les Collections de l’Histoire intitulé “Les Jeux olympiques d’Athènes à Pékin” (juillet 2008, n°40). 

Friday, Oct. 25, 1968
The Olympics: Black Complaint
"Faster, Higher, Stronger" is the motto of the Olympic Games. "Angrier, nastier, uglier" better describes the scene in Mexico City last week. There, in the same stadium from which 6,200 pigeons swooped skyward to signify the opening of the "Peace Olympics," Sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two disaffected black athletes from the U.S. put on a public display of petulance that sparked one of the most unpleasant controversies in Olympic history and turned the high drama of the games into theater of the absurd.
Smith had just won the 200-meter dash in a record-breaking 19.8 sec. Carlos, his bearded teammate from San Jose State College, had finished third. Together, they turned up for the awards ceremony shoeless, wearing kneelength black stockings and a black glove on one hand (the right for Tommie, the left for John). Along with Australia's Peter Norman, the second-place finisher, they mounted the victory pedestal to receive their medals.
Then, as the U.S. flag was raised and the band struck up The Star-Spangled Banner, the two black athletes bowed their heads and raised their gloved hands in a clenched-fist salute. A wave of boos rippled through the spectators as the pair left the field. Smith and Carlos responded by making interesting gestures at the stands.
At a press conference later, the two men explained that the black stockings represented poverty; the black fists meant black power and black unity. Said Smith: "We are black and proud to be black. White America will say 'an American won,' not 'a black American won.' If it had been something bad, they would have said 'a Negro.' " Added Carlos, somewhat disjointedly: "White people seem to think we're animals. I want people to know we're not animals, not inferior animals, like cats and rats. They think we're some sort of show horse. They think we can perform and they will throw us some peanuts and say 'Good boy, good boy.' "
Effective but Petty. As a way of calling attention to racial strife in the U.S., the demonstration was undeniably
effective. But it was also painfully petty. East Germans, Russians, even Cubans, all stand at attention when The Star-Spangled Banner or any other national anthem is played. Other equally militant U.S. black athletes were aghast at Smith and Carlos' actions. "I came here to win a gold medal—not to talk about black power," said Ohio's Willie Davenport next day after winning the 110-meter high hurdles. He stood straight and tall and proud on the Olympic pedestal.
Embarrassed and angry, the U.S. Olympic Committee met for four hours, then issued a strong reprimand to Smith and Carlos, and apologies to the International Olympic Committee, the Mexican Organizing Committee and the Mexican people. That might have ended the incident. But a month before the games opened, crusty, old Avery Brundage, 81, perennial chairman of the I.O.C., had warned all competitors that no political demonstrationswould be permitted. That challenge helped guarantee the trouble that came, and the I.O.C.  bullheadedly proceeded to make a bad scene worse. Unless U.S. officials actually punished Smith and Carlos, the I.O.C. threatened to expel the whole U.S. team from the Olympics. Reluctantly, the U.S. committee suspended the two athletes from the team and ordered them to leave the American quarters at the Olympic Village.
Shocked by the extreme severity of the punishment, other U.S. athletes—both black and white—rallied to Smith and Carlos' defense. "This is terrible, awful," said Highjumper Ed Caruthers, a Negro. "If Tommie and John have to go home," said Sprinter Ron Freeman, "I think there will be a lot of guys going home." "Some white ones too," added Hammer Thrower Harold Connolly. Most distraught by Smith and Carlos' suspension was their close friend and fellow militant Lee Evans, favorite to win last week's 400-meter dash at Mexico City. So shaken that he had to be helped onto a bus bound for the stadium from the Olympic Village, Evans recovered, won his race and shattered the world record with a clocking of 43.8 sec. Behind him came two other U.S. blacks—Larry James and Ron Freeman—to give the U.S. its first sweep of the games.
"I wasn't going to run until John Carlos told me I had to," said Evans. But he was clearly not taking too many
orders. All three 400-meter runners wore black berets to the awards ceremony, and all three stood bareheaded at attention for their national anthem.
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"I have a Dream", Martin Luther King

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"We shall overcome", Joan Baez

Angela Davis

"Sister Rosa", Neville Brothers

2. Tous différents

Photo de la bannière :
Towboat and barges on the Mississippi at Memphis, Tennessee

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