King Holiday Proclamation From The White House


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 14, 2011





Half a century ago, America was moved by a young preacher who called a generation to action and forever changed the course of history. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. devoted his life to the struggle for justice and equality, sowing seeds of hope for a day when all people might claim "the riches of freedom and the security of justice." On Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the holiday recognizing one of America's greatest visionary leaders, and we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Dr. King guided us toward a mountaintop on which all Americans -- regardless of skin color -- could live together in mutual respect and brotherhood. His bold leadership and prophetic eloquence united people of all backgrounds in a noble quest for freedom and basic civil rights. Inspired by Dr. King's legacy, brave souls have marched fearlessly, organized relentlessly, and devoted their lives to the unending task of perfecting our Union. Their courage and dedication have carried us even closer to the promised land Dr. King envisioned, but we must recognize their achievements as milestones on the long path to true equal opportunity and equal rights.

We must face the challenges of today with the same strength, persistence, and determination exhibited by Dr. King, guided by the enduring values of hope and justice embodied by other civil rights leaders. As a country, we must expand access to opportunity and end structural inequalities for all people in employment and economic mobility. It is our collective responsibility as a great Nation to ensure a strong foundation that supports economic security for all and extends the founding promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to every American.

Dr. King devoted his life to serving others, reminding us that "human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle -- the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Commemorating Dr. King's life is not only a tribute to his contributions to our Nation and the world, but also a reminder that every day, each of us can play a part in continuing this critical work.

For this reason, we honor Dr. King's legacy with a national day of service. I encourage all Americans to visit to learn more about service opportunities across our country. By dedicating this day to service, we move our Nation closer to Dr. King's vision of all Americans living and working together as one beloved community.

NOW, THEREFORE, I BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 17, 2011, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service programs in honor of Dr. King's life and lasting legacy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on

President Obama Preaches For Revival In Arizona

I was pretty content looking at CPAN last night, watching the people milling around the University of Arizona’s arena after President Obama’s remarks during the memorial service for those killed in the Arizona tragedy. But that got vetoed. In the interests of domestic compromise, I ended up watching the reactions of the political pundits on a couple of the cable news channels instead. I wondered, as I listened to practically all of the pundits and commentators carp about something or another they found objectionable about Obama’s speech, if the president really had it all wrong. Was it possible our commander-in-chief could be so dense that he didn’t understand his public speeches were primarily made for the benefit of political pundit dissections, and not for the benefit of the real live American citizens that might be standing in front of him?

It only took ten minutes of the hyperbole from the professional peanut galleries for me to wonder whether or not they had watched the same speech I’d seen. Anderson Cooper of CNN seemed particularly annoyed by the tendency the crowd had of clapping and yelling both during and after each speaker’s remarks. But to me, the scene in the university arena seemed to be more like a good old fashioned revival than a traditional memorial service. In the moment when President Obama announced that Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time, when his voice transformed into that rush of energy and deep, hopeful timbre that many of us have come to appreciate, you could sense the wonder and awe within the arena.   

The people of Arizona seemed genuinely touched to see the president of the United States among their midst in the aftermath of the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the wholesale slaughter of her constituents, colleagues and friends last Saturday morning. They seemed to sense instinctively, in a nation that routinely tops ten thousand incidents of premeditated gun violence annually that result in a loss of life, that this days old massacre was different.

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Winners Of American Uprising Copies Announced

Well, there are actually two winners of copies of American Uprising.

Lawrence McCullogh of New Jersey


David Williams of New Jersey

Thanks to everyone who entered before the Monday night deadline, whether you did via this blog, email, or Twitter. Everyone who entered got a number, issued consecutively, that roughly corresponded to the order in which their entry was received, and then it was off to, which is the service whose random integer generator actually chose the lucky twosome.

Since we are still snowed in here in the ATL, it may be a few days before I can get to the Post Office, which is just starting to resume service in our area, to mail the winners their books.  

Giving away stuff, especially books, which are right up Brown Man Thinking Hard's alley, is fun!

Big, big thanks to HarperCollins, which graciously provided the books, and to the author, Daniel Rasmussen, whose research made all this possible.

Tomorrow, January 8th, is the 200th anniversary of the 1811 Louisiana slave revolt, a revolt you probably never heard of before now. Read my review of the book today at Big Think, and enter our random drawing to win a hardcover copy of American Uprising by Daniel Rasmussen

Publishers Blurb:

In January 1811, a group of around 500 enslaved men, dressed in military uniforms and armed with guns, cane knives, and axes, rose up from the slave plantations around New Orleans and set out to conquer the city. They decided that they would die before they would work another day of back—breaking labor in the hot Louisiana sun. Ethnically diverse, politically astute, and highly organized, this slave army challenged not only the economic system of plantation agriculture but also American expansion. Their march represented the largest act of armed resistance against slavery in the history of the United States—and one of the defining moments in the history of New Orleans and the nation.

American Uprising is the riveting and long—neglected story of this elaborate plot, the rebel army’s dramatic march on the city and its shocking conclusion. No North American slave revolt—not Gabriel Prosser, not Denmark Vesey, not Nat Turner—has rivaled the scale of this rebellion either in terms of the number of the slaves involved or in terms of the number who were killed. Over 100 slaves were slaughtered by federal troops and French planters, who then sought to write the event out of history and prevent the spread of the slaves’ revolutionary philosophy. With the Haitian Revolution a recent memory and the War of 1812 looming on the horizon, the revolt had epic consequences for America. Through groundbreaking original research, Daniel Rasmussen offers a window into the young expansionist country, illuminating the early history of New Orleans and providing new insight into the path to the Civil War, and the slave revolutionaries who fought and died while standing up against injustice. This book represents a significant contribution to African American history and the struggle for civil rights in this country.

Enter now to win.

It's EASY...

...all you have to do is leave a comment below with the words CONTEST ENTRY somewhere in the comment


email with “CONTEST ENTRY” in the subject line


become a Twitter follower and send a direct message (DM to you acronym lovers) with CONTEST ENTRY in the message to BrownManATL on Twitter.

Entries from Anonymous commenters or commenters with obscene screen names will not be considered.

The contest is open to entrants who have U.S. mailing addresses only. The book will be shipped by USPS media mail and can take from 2-4 weeks to arrive after the closing date of the contest.

The last chance to enter is Midnight Monday, January 10th, Eastern Standard Time

Winners will be notified on Wednesday, January 12th.

Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on

American Uprising Revisits Louisiana's 1811 Slave Revolt

If the adage “history is written by the winners” is true, then what does that mean for African American history, especially now that more W’s are slowly but surely showing up in our won-loss column? How hard will it be to convince the rest of America to replace the commonly accepted falsehoods and deliberate omissions about the history of black Americans with the fruits of careful scholarship? Daniel Rasmussen, a recent Harvard graduate, has decided to step up to the plate and take a whack at righting the historical record with American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt, a brief but cogent narrative that reinterprets the circumstances surrounding the largest slave revolt in American history.

Much of African American history has been ignored or suppressed for centuries. Most of what I know about African American history has come from reading on my own. There was no mention of the Rosewood massacre, or the Tulsa race riot, or even the Orangeburg massacre, an infamous event that happened right there in my hometown, in any history books I studied in school. The only thing we covered, probably because I was in South Carolina, was the Denmark Vesey led uprising. Even in college, the African American studies classes I took only went so far. Which is why I was excited last week to get my review copy of American Uprising.

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You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

I knew John Boehner and Eric Cantor were chicken.

I've been waiting all week to see which lily livered, cracker-assed cracker from the GOP was going to have the balls to stand up on camera this morning and read THIS section of the original Constitution that they have been crying about for the last two years:

Article 1, Section 2, United States Constitution

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Just what I thought - not a damn one. Instead, these lying ass mofos did what they always do - skip over the hard parts and say they did it.

I was all set to do my own video megamix rewind, with the unlucky congressman repeating "bound to Service for a Term of Years" over a background loop of his own voice shouting "three fifths of all other Persons" as picture of a group of African Americans with a dotted line around three -fifths of their bodies was zoomed in and out.

Somebody turn me up in the headphones.