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Monday, January 17, 2011

Jesse Jackson vs Anthony Foxx & King's Holiday: Schools Should Close

Jesse Jackson: Opening Charlotte's Schools On MLK Day Is Insulting!!

Civil Rights Activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday that the move by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to use the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a makeup snow day is "clearly insulting and hits a very raw nerve."

Jackson spoke in an interview with the Observer shortly after the local NAACP announced it would march today "in honor of Dr. King and in support of educating our youth on the important contributions Dr. King and others made throughout the Civil Rights movement."

Jackson said he would not be in Charlotte today. A spokesperson said he would participate in events in Chicago.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools were out for three days last week because of wintry weather and icy roads.

The first makeup snow day is today, which is also the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.

Saturday was the slain civil rights leader's birthday. He would have been 82.

Having children go to school today has sparked criticism and comments from parents, from Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and, now, Jackson.

The holiday, he said, "represents a sacred trust of the end of legal segregation and oppression."

"In many ways, Charlotte has been a leader in new relations and bridge-building, and this has been a slap in the face."

Jackson said parents should keep students home from school.

Foxx said on Saturday that it's "regrettable" that the snow makeup day is today, but he still encouraged children to go to school.

"Given the challenges so many young people are facing, it's hard for me to make the argument that if class is in session they shouldn't go," he said.

Jesse Jackson Joins Protest Over Charlotte's Schools Remaining Opening On MLK Day

The decision for students to attend school today has brought protests from civil rights leaders who believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day should be honored as a day of service instead. There have been protests and the NAACP called on parents to keep their children home.

A Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prayer breakfast was held this morning at the Westin uptown. It's meant to honor and celebrate the life of the civil rights leader. But the controversy surrounding Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' decision to hold school today was a hot topic of discussion.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Rock Hill, and Fort Mill schools are among those choosing to make up for lost classroom time because of snow last week by opening school Monday.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he’ll come to Charlotte and Rock Hill sometime this week to join a protest over sending children to school on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

"Dr. King's legacy and martyrdom, the movement he led to bring about the South is bigger than a snow day to replace a national holiday," said Jackson, when reached by phone Sunday night. Jackson was born in Greenville, SC, and visited Charlotte often as a child. He said Charlotte has made a lot of progress as a New South city, but sending children to school on King’s birthday is a big step back.

“I've had some great moments in Charlotte over the years, bringing down walls and building bridges -- and now this puts Charlotte in a real awkward position,” he said. Details for his visit were not complete Sunday night, but he promised to meet with local officials and rally with people who also wanted to protest the holiday being used as a snow make-up day.

Activist John Barnett led a rally in York County Sunday to protest Rock Hill and Fort Mill schools’ decisions to open school Monday.

"If we got ten inches of snow, it’s still not enough to let kids go to school on Dr. King's birthday," said Barnett. “We already fought nine years ago to get the holiday approved here and now it’s reared its ugly head again.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board member Rhonda Lennon said CMS had little control over use of the holiday as a snow day.

"This calendar was approved in May of 2009 before I was even sworn into office, so the dates were established and the makeup days were established at that point also,” said Lennon. “It's something we gotta do."

Lennon said the state legislature’s rules allow local districts very little time to make up for lost days.

"We are very restricted by the state of North Carolina on when we can start and stop school, and how many teacher workdays,” said Lennon. “If we had more flexibility from the state legislature we would have the option to not have this kind of situation again."

CMS used Memorial Day as a make-up day in 2009 – a decision not everyone was happy with, but there were few protests. Lennon said next year’s calendar doesn’t use King’s birthday as a make-up day.

Parents walking outside the Harvey Gantt Center Sunday seemed to understand CMS’s position.

"I think it's okay. I think Martin would have wanted kids to go to school," said Jackie Anderson. “Hopefully they'll teach them something about him.”

Michelle Rose believes her children have already missed enough school. “They have been out of school for three days last week, and it's okay for them to go back to school tomorrow," she said.

Calvin Roulhac understands the debate, and doesn’t necessarily like using the holiday to make up for lost class time – but he’s not about to give kids a free pass out of class, either. "As long as the schools are still doing something to celebrate that day I think it's good.. but I wish they could have it off," he said.

CMS has released a list of events that will be held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (a Black Democrat) Publicly Endorses North Carolina's Decision To Use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Holiday As A Public School Snow Make-Up Day!

In Case You Weren't Aware 2011 Is An Re-election Year For Foxx.

He's Probably Trying To Win Back His Displeased White Voters.

Obviously A Move Straight Out of Pres. Obama's 2012 Centrist Political Playbook


Since its No Secret Anthony Foxx Is Extremely Partisan, Is It Possible He's Taking This Stance Due To Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Political Affiliation?

Dr. King Was A Registered Republican.

Never Thought I'd See The Day When A Black Politician Throws Dr. King Under The Bus!


Were It Not For Courageous, Well-Educated Black Men Like Dr. King, Black Men Like Anthony Foxx Would Never Have Been Afforded The Opportunity To Become Mayors Of Metropolitan Cities.

I Expected Pres. Barack Obama To Throw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Under The Bus Because Obama Has Never Understood The Black American Struggle.

However Anthony Foxx Whose Ancestors Were Southerners, Former Slaves & Native American Indians, Should Most Certainly Know Better!

Where's YOUR Courage, Gratitude & Respect Mayor Foxx??

Check Out The Articles Below On This Issue.

For Shame!

Mayor Foxx: Kids Should Be In School, King Holiday Or Not

Mayor Anthony Foxx called it regrettable that Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will be used as a snow make-up day for Charlotte-Mecklenburg students, but said students should be in class.

“But given the challenges so many young people are facing,” Foxx said Saturday morning, “it’s hard for me to make the argument that if class is in session they shouldn’t go.”

Foxx spoke briefly to reporters following a wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of King in Marshall Park uptown.

During the ceremony, Foxx urged Charlotteans to use Monday as a time “to reflect on our children and what kind of future we as a community want for them.”

Gov. Bev Perdue Says MLK School Day Decision Is Not A State Issue

Governor Bev Perdue says it is a local decision to open schools as a make-up day or keep them closed on the holiday set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Speaking in Charlotte, where schools will be kept open Monday, the Perdue said, "It is my hope that we can all honor the Martin Luther King Day holiday."

She also said it is not a decision that should be made by state government.

The Reverend Kojo Nantambu, who is the head of the local chapter of the NAACP, called on parents to keep students home on Monday saying it is the only holiday set aside to honor an African-American.

"We do not want to miss an opportunity for our children to experience that or to celebrate that," said Nantambu, "I think it is unfair."

Eric Davis the chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board said students would spend part of the day Monday learning about the history and importance of what Dr. King did for the country.

"We will honor him by educating students," said Davis.

Parents dropping off their children at Elizabeth Traditional Elementary in Charlotte had differing opinions of the decision to keep schools open.

"I think it would take away some of what it represents," said Latasha Harris. Harris said she had not yet decided if she would keep her child home.

“I think that it is fine," said Roger Stowe.

"I think the spirit of Martin Luther King should rest in your heart,” Stowe said. “You should really celebrate him wherever you are."

For Some Students In The South, A King Day Lacking That ‘Holiday’ Feature

Put yourself in the shoes of Michael Murray, the associate superintendent of a small school district in the North Carolina foothills.

He has to provide 180 days of education for his 6,000 students by June 10. This past week of unusually brutal ice and snow in the South put the district behind schedule, and he suspects that more snow days are coming.

By state law, the only holiday he cannot cancel is Veterans Day. His solution? Make children go to school on Monday, the day when most of the nation’s schools are closed to observe Martin Luther King’s Birthday.

In the South, where establishing an official holiday for Dr. King was long in coming, that kind of move can be particularly controversial. But administrators in a handful of districts in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina say they have no choice.

That is not going over well with some parents and politicians.

“It always seems like Martin Luther King day is the first one they are willing to give up,” said Dot Scott, president of the Charleston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton have also weighed in. “We’re urging people to keep their kids home,” Mr. Sharpton said. “It’s un-American not to observe the holiday.”

In South Carolina, the 17,400 students in the Rock Hill School District, 20 miles south of Charlotte, N.C., will be in school on Monday. Making up for snow days will also put them in school on Presidents’ Day and Memorial Day.

“There’s no intention on our part to dishonor Martin Luther King in any way,” said a district spokeswoman, Elaine Baker. She said that even black families had contacted the district to support the move and that Dr. King would not have had a problem with students learning on his holiday.

That is not good enough for State Representative John R. King, whose district includes Rock Hill.

“The amount of snow has nothing to do with it; this is a state holiday,” he said. “I think it’s blatant. I think it’s disrespectful. As the only African-American legislator in my area, it’s a slap in my face and in the faces of people who look like me.”

The move has Mr. King so concerned that he plans to introduce a bill next week that would require the entire state to close schools on the King holiday.

In North Carolina and South Carolina in particular, the holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has long been a sensitive topic. Senators John P. East and Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republicans, provided stiff opposition in a battle to have the day declared a national holiday, which Congress did through legislation that President Ronald Reagan signed in 1983. At the time, only 27 states and Washington observed it as a holiday.

South Carolina became the last state to do so, in 2000, the same year the Legislature voted to remove the familiar Confederate battle flag that flew atop the Statehouse. The state now flies a smaller version of the battle flag in front of the Statehouse, and it will be the target of a rally on the King holiday.

But school administrators are pleading for mercy. Students can have excused absences that day, if they like. In some schools, the curriculum will be based on Dr. King’s story and the history of civil rights.

Mr. Murray, of the McDowell County public schools in North Carolina, said that other holidays were likely to become school days before the year is out.

And he has one more piece of bad news for students: they have to go to school this Saturday, too.

NAACP Calls For Protest Of CMS Holding Classes On MLK Day

The NAACP held a press conference Friday morning, protesting the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ decision to have classes on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Chapter president Kojo Nantambu said the decision to use the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a snow make-up day is disrespectful to the memory of Dr. King.

Nantambu called for a protest at the Government Center on Monday at 10 a.m. and urged parents to keep their children out of school and bring them to the protest.

He said after the protest, the children will be taken to the Levine Museum of the South and to the Harvey Gantt Center where they would learn about the legacy of Dr. King.

“We are appalled that of all the days they would choose – that the Board of Education of Charlotte-Mecklenburg would choose to use the Martin Luther King birthday as a make-up day for snow, “ Nantambu said.

On Thursday, CMS board chairman Eric Davis said there will be special programs in the schools on Monday to let students learn more about Dr. King.

The calendar of make-up days was written two years ago and the board recently agreed that in 2012, no matter what, Martin Luther King Jr. Day would not be used as a make-up day.

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Sources:, McClatchy Newspapers, NAACP, NY Times, WCNC, Wikipedia, Youtube, Google Maps

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