Stories & Columns

The Literary Divide: Democratic
Party's "Super Delegate" System: A
mockery of "one person, one vote",
by Dr. Paul Barrows

¿Obama en contra de la guerra en
Irak? ¡Hmm!!
por Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra at
the Overture Center,
by Jonathan Gramling

The National Civil Rights Museum
at Memphis: Passing the torch of
by Jonathan Gramling

The dedication of the Allen &
Darlene Hancock Fellowship Hall
by Jonathan Gramling

Ebony Expressions celebrates 25
years at the Orpheum,
by Jonathan Gramling

Asian Wisconzine: Peng Her steps
forward for WI 81st District,
by Heidi M. Pascual

Simple Things: Hope,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

Voices: Obama no friend of the
Black American!
by Dr. Jean Daniels

Robert Howard: Seeking solutions
to education woes,
by Laura Salinger

American Indian Storytelling:
Warm stories on a cold winter's
by Jonathan Gramling

Juan Colas: Dane County's first
Latino judge,
Office of the Governor

Walking that AKA Centennial Line,
by AKA Sorority

Fountain of Life Church's Mission to
by Jonathan Gramling

Editorial Staff

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Paul Barrows
Jean Daniels
Andrew Gramling
Lang Kenneth Haynes
Heidi M. Pascual
Laura Salinger
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

©2008 The Capital City Hues
The Price of Freedom
The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                Vote and make history
I had toured the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn. once before back in 1994. It had
just been open for several years. I was enthralled and overwhelmed as I walked through the directed
route, taking in the fabulous displays and the minutiae of the civil rights portion of African American
Now some 14 years later, I was still overwhelmed by the significance and the horror of what unfolds
in the exhibits. To watch the brutality of the Birmingham police on video as they unleashed dogs and
turned water hoses against the demonstrators is horrific. The photos of James Chaney, Andrew
Goodman and Michael Schwerner — the three civil rights workers who were slain in Mississippi in
1964 during the Freedom Summer effort to get people registered to vote — were there. While we
always talk about the price that was paid so that African Americans — and all of us — could exercise
their right to vote, a museum such as the National Civil Rights Museum brings it up close and
personal. There was a lot of blood shed so that those of us living today could exercise the right to vote
and have a voice in selecting who our leaders are. For those who want to honor Black History Month,
voting would sure be an effective way to connecting to that civil rights past.
On February 19, Wisconsin will hold its presidential primary. To date, our primary has received little
fanfare. There is no Madison School Board primary and there is just a smattering of Dane County
supervisor primary contests. And it was conventional wisdom that dictated that the Democratic and
Republican presidential primaries would be decided by the time the smoke cleared
from the Super Tuesday, February 5 primary voting and caucusing in 24 states.
Well, things are looking a little differently now. Super Tuesday settled only one presidential contest.
John McCain has essentially won the Republican presidential nomination after Mitt Romney
suspended his campaign following his poor showing. But on the Democratic side, Sen. Barack
Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton fought to a standstill and are virtually tied.
The Democratic Party is bound to make history this election cycle. It will either produce the first
woman or first African American nominee of a major American political party. And Obama and
Clinton have already been making history as they rack up primary wins across the country. While Rev.
Jesse Jackson did win some primaries back in the 1980s when he ran for the Democratic nomination,
this is the first time that an African American candidate is winning primaries in predominantly
Euro-American states, thus designating Obama as a viable candidate to win the nomination.
When I first saw Barack Obama speak at a campaign event for Gov. James Doyle back in October
2006 in Milwaukee, I knew it was just a matter of time before Obama would run for president. You
could say the feeling was in the air. By December 2006, I knew he would be running this election
cycle. When your turn has come to grab the brass ring on the merry-go-round, you have to reach for it
because the opportunity may never come your way again. Obama’s surge was building back then.
If he waited another 4-8 years, it may have been too late. Obama’s chance may have never come
back around. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.
African American voters — much like Catholics did in 1960 when John F. Kennedy was elected —
African American voters have been turning out in great numbers to vote for Barack Obama. In just
about every primary state, Obama received 81 per cent or more of the African American vote in
spite of the economic gains that African Americans made, overall, during the Bill Clinton presidency
and his heavy involvement in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
While some pundits have questioned whether or not he is “Black enough,” Obama has clearly
captured the imaginations of the vast majority of African American voters. They have answered with
their voter levers that he is “Black enough” for them.  For the first time in history, there is a very real
chance that an African American could be elected president. If Obama is elected president, it could
indeed be a step toward Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community where people are judged by the
content of their character and not the color of their skin. But it is important to remember that it would
be a sign that we have taken a step toward and not arrived at King’s Beloved Community for there are
too many disparities that still exist in America where African Americans still only earn 64 cents on the
dollar of what Euro-Americans earn. Just because one man walks through the door doesn’t mean we
have arrived at that threshold. The rest of the community has to be able to walk through that door
right behind him before we can say we have arrived.
I think all of us — people from all racial backgrounds — yearn for the arrival of the Beloved
Community. Outside of the fact that Obama is a very capable and qualified candidate, I interpret
the voting in primarily Euro-American states to be the expression of that yearning. It’s just that it is
easier for some people — Euro-American people in particular — to imagine that we have arrived
there, while the reality of other people’s lives shows us clearly that we haven’t.
But in spite of these reservations, I still can’t help but get excited by Obama’s presidential bid. I am
sure that women across the United States are equally excited about the prospects of Hillary Clinton
becoming the first woman president. Either of these candidates will make a strong Democratic
standard-bearer against the equally strong Republican candidate, John McCain.
And so, speaking of opportunity coming up once and the need to take advantage of it while it
presents itself, I think it is important for all of us to exercise our right to vote, turn out in large numbers
on February 19 for Wisconsin’s primary and help make history possible. Be a part of history. Get out
there and vote!