We reenacted the Civil Rights March of 1963 in Davenport. A reporter asked if I had been at the original march. I said “No,” but my answer compelled me to think about other civil rights events.
Laws passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the mid ‘60s were only the beginning.
In 1968 I was outside a George Wallace rally at Wharton Field house in Moline, Ill. Wallace said, “When I’m elected I will take away the rights of the niggers.” Some people at the demonstration decided to go inside to protest. They were thrown off the bleachers and suffered many serious injuries. That night Wallace was told he wouldn’t be safe in Moline. He had to leave right away.
In 1977, neo-Nazis planned a march on Skokie, a Jewish settlement in the Chicago area. We planned a counter-march with buses coming from all over the USA. I felt that the neo-Nazi march would be saying to the elderly Jewish people that had escaped Nazi Germany oppression that they were coming for the rest. Even though friends advised me not to go, I felt I had no other choice. Fortunately, the neo-Nazi march in Skokie was cancelled.
Recently we fought to help every American have national health care. Soon all will be able to be treated. I have also volunteered with Iowans for Health Care. I spoke at a meeting with some of the political leaders of Iowa a few years ago, along with other Iowans. The legislators decided to add 30,000 additional families to Iowa Care.
I have enough civil rights stories to write a book and others could add to this history. In the ‘30s people were given tape recorders and salaries to record events that happened during slavery. We need to do the same thing today to record the Civil Rights period.