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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Black History Month, A Memory

Black History month has come around again.  It always moves me to research and even recall events in history in Canada and the United States of the Afro American and African Canadian communities.  I recently noticed that there was a showing  in Toronto of the Film, The Last White Knight by Paul Saltzman.  It is his story of returning to Mississippi to confront a member of the KKK who had assaulted him in 1965 to see how much the times have changed and whether there was basis for reconciliation. (Excerpts of this film can be seen on You Tube.) Paul has been moved by the murder of the three civil rights workers in Mississippi the previous year. (James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner). He went to Mississippi to work with voter registration with the SNCC organization of Stokley Carmichael. It was here he was assaulted by Delay de la Beckwith, the subject of his film..

It got me thinking about Paul Saltzman and all that he has accomplished in his life.  I knew him for a couple of years at University. We had a mutual friend and I knew his brother Earl.  Paul was an interesting and energetic student.  He did a four year degree in three and always seemed to want to get university over with so he could go on with more interesting things.. He did just that.  He went to India on a spiritual quest and end up spending time with the Beatles at the Ashram of Maharish Mahesh Yogi..  He became a film maker and photographer and married Deepa Mehta, the famous Indo-Canadian film maker, best remembered for her Elements Trilogy of films, Earth, Fire, Water. Paul's career has included may films for the screen and TV, more of shorts and documentaries than feature films.

 He has continued his interest in civil rights and people finding basis of getting along. He made a film with Morgan Freeman called "Prom Night in Mississippi" Paul  Saltzman had heard that Morgan Freeman's home town still has separate proms for the graduating high school class and that Freeman had offered once to pay for a united prom . Paul asked Freeman if the offer still stood. The result was the film.

 Better than me writing about his life, you can hear him speak about it in this TED Talk in Waterloo Ontario.

Paul Saltsman came from a very interesting family. His father is Percy Saltzman, who people of my generation will remember as Canada's first Weatherman on TV. He presented the weather every night  drawing the weather pattern on a chalk board. He always ended his presentation by tossing the chalk in the air and catching it again.  Paul also worked for the CBC for a while and now his nephew Aaron Saltzman in a journalist on the CBC.  Paul's daughter with Deepa Mehta, Devyani Saltzman is a writer.

I cant resist it. Here is Percy Saltzman doing the weather before it all got so high tech on TV. It was always interesting  because of his energetic presentation.

During Black History month, I find it appropriate to remember the civil rights struggles of the 60's: those who risked themselves to help to fundamentally change the culture of the South: those who died trying, the final trials, only in the last decade, of those who murdered civil rights workers. and to understand how things have changed while other things  still resist change. The struggle for social and political rights is always an ongoing process; for people, times and circumstance can see them easily denied once again.


At 4:49 p.m., Blogger possum said...

Yes, times have changed since so many of us marched hand in hand, got called all kinds of names and experienced violence...
I taught before real integration here on the shore. I was one of the first to integrate the schools as a teacher. They called me the snow ball in the coal bin and the whitest n..... they had ever seen. Lets not forget, many blacks rejected integration, too! But I was only mistreated by a few folks and still get called Frosty by some of those early teachers.
Now, our classrooms are a mixture of colors and ethnicities, interracial marriage is no longer illegal in this state - but come Sunday morning, segregation is alive and thriving as the Shore separates into black churches and white churches. (we heathens don't count - that's when we hit the grocery stores! LOL!)
It has been an interesting journey.

At 11:09 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

It is breathtaking, at times, to think how recently it was that the civil rights struggle was fought and won.
And it is a source of joy for me to have lived to see it all.

At 10:22 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You've done it again, Philip. I remember Percy well. He really chalked that board.

At 11:39 a.m., Blogger Owen Gray said...

And he always ended the forecast by throwing a piece of chalk up in the air and catching it.

There was no weatherman like him.

At 7:23 p.m., Blogger troutbirder said...

Most interesting. And yes I don't know a whole lot about the in and outs of Canadian politics...:(

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