Now you might think that's one Katrina post-stress disorder. But I
was talking to him and I just wanted to know what would he think if
he looked down today at this celebration. What would he think about
Katrina? What would he think about all the people who were stuck in
the Superdome and Convention Center and we couldn't get the state
and the federal government to come do something about it? And he
said, "I wouldn't like that."
And then I went on to ask him, I said, "Mr. King, when they were
marching across the Mississippi River bridge, some of the folks that
were stuck in the Convention Center, that were tired of waiting for
food and tired of waiting on buses to come rescue them, what would
he say as they marched across that bridge? And they were met at the
parish line with attack dogs and machine guns firing shots over
their heads?" He said, "I wouldn't like that either.''
Then I asked him to analyze the state of black America and black New
Orleans today and to give me a critique of black leadership today.
And I asked him what does he think about black leaders always or
most of the time tearing each other down publicly for the delight of
many? And he said, "I really don't like that either.''
And then finally, I said, "Dr. King, everybody in New Orleans is
dispersed. Over 44 different states. We're debating whether we
should open this or close that. We're debating whether property
rights should trump everything or not. We're debating how should we
rebuild one of the greatest cultural cities the world has ever seen.
And yet still yesterday we have a second-line and everybody comes
together from around this and that and they have a good time for the
most part, and then knuckleheads pull out some guns and start firing
into the crowd and they injure three people." He said, "I definitely
wouldn't like that.''
And then I asked him, I said, "What is it going to take for us to
move and live your dream and make it a reality?'' He said, "I don't
think we need to pay attention anymore as much about the other folk
and racists on the other side.'' He said the thing we need to focus
on as a community, black folks I'm talking to, is ourselves.
What are we doing? Why is black-on-black crime such an issue? Why do
our young men hate each other so much that they look their brother
in the face and they will take a gun and kill him in cold blood? He
said we as a people need to fix ourselves first. He said the lack of
love is killing us. And it's time, ladies and gentlemen.
Dr. King, if he was here today, he would be talking to us about this
problem, about the problem we have among ourselves. And as we think
about rebuilding New Orleans, surely God is mad at America, he's
sending hurricane after hurricane after hurricane and it's
destroying and putting stress on this country. Surely he's not
approving of us being in Iraq under false pretense. But surely he's
upset at black America, also. We're not taking care of ourselves.
We're not taking care of our women. And we're not taking care of our
children when you have a community where 70 percent of its children
are being born to one parent.
We ask black people: it's time. It's time for us to come together.
It's time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a
chocolate New Orleans. And I don't care what people are saying
Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end
of the day.
This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God
wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way; it wouldn't
be New Orleans. So before I get into too much more trouble, I'm just
going to tell you in my closing conversation with Dr. King, he said,
"I never worried about the good people -- or the bad people I should
say -- who were doing all the violence during civil rights time.''
He said, "I worried about the good folks that didn't say anything or
didn't do anything when they knew what they had to do.''
It's time for all of us good folk to stand up and say "We're tired
of the violence. We're tired of black folks killing each other. And
when we come together for a secondline, we're not going to tolerate
any violence." Martin Luther King would've wanted it that way, and
we should. God bless all.