Interview Project: “It just wasn’t something you thought about”

For the interview, start from 2:12

“The death of Martin Luther King. I remember that well too. That was 1968, I think. Those were interesting times, you know, about all the civil rights movement.” 2:14-2:47

I interviewed my grandfather about many things, but the most interesting topic was when he began to talk about civil rights. When prompted about a historical event that he could remember, the first moon landing in 1969. Then he moved onto the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. This brought on a discussion about civil rights. My grandfather outlined the world of how things were separated. Blacks with blacks, whites with whites. Two separate worlds. For my grandfather, thats the way it simply was.

For background on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, it was on April 4th 1968. Dr. King was shot outside his hotel room in Memphis Tennessee. He was shot by an man called James Earl Ray. James Earl Ray was the oldest of nine children. James’ early life was marred by tragic events. His sister was killed by accidentally lighting herself on fire while playing with matches. His family was also relocated after the police began to look for Rays father on a forgery charge. In his later life, he robbed two grocery stores, while on parole, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He somehow escaped in 1967.

But on April 4th, 1968, James stood in a bathtub in his rented room in a hotel in memphis, balancing a shotgun. He shot Dr. King and then fled, which led to one of the most monumental searches from the FBI and spanned 5 countries.

My Grandfather also talked about a civil rights activist by the name of John Daniels. My grandfather graduated from VMI and went to School with Mr. Daniels. After graduating from VMI, as valedictorian, John Daniels was called to the ministry. Jonathan made his way down south, where he was arrested during a demonstration. After being released, John and a priest along with two black teenager girls, went to get sodas in Hayneville. The part time sheriff, stood on the steps with his shotgun, preventing them from entering. The sheriff pointed the gun at one of the teenagers, and Jonathan pushed her out of the way and was shot. He was killed instantly.

“They had their own world and we had our own world. It was different. I never really thought about it. It was just sort of accepted that thats the way it was. There didn’t seem to be any problem, not for me or [laughs] not for me. It didn’t seem to be a problem for them, because you just never really thought about it, it just wasn’t something you thought.” 5:16-5:47

My grandfather talked about how he wasn’t really affected by Jonathan’s death because most people thought he was just going down south to stir up trouble. It seems that back in those days, people turned a blind eye. My grandfather referred to segregation as “something you just didn’t really think about.” It is completely bewildering that white society had been so ignorant and self involved. I am glad that times have changed, even though there is a long way to go until Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream speech” is complete, America is closer than we were on that day in 1968.

Get Culture

For this project, I had a marvelously titled Redneck evening. I spent my Saturday night doing what, when told, multiple friends called Redneck fun. The history of the term Redneck, comes from how some people of the south who have a particular culture, got the back of their necks burned from working in the sun all day. This was used as a derogatory term, which absolutely doesn’t make sense. Why make fun of  what people do after they worked hard to earn their living? In truth, I had a blast and a half of fun, eating red meat and shooting cans of soda.

Me with a pellet gun, suprisngly heavy
Me with a pellet gun, which for my city girl arms, was heavy. Tip: Gun Safety is vital. Always hold a gun by the butt, or the bottom of the gun, and with one hand towards the top. Never point a gun at someone, loaded or not.

The evening started off by somehow loading all of my family, Bailey included. (Bailey is our dog who my mother has adopted as her third and most beloved daughter, photos to come) I was wearing my most american outfit, tie dye american flag T-shirt, which was traded at summer camp two years ago, and my mothers ancient jean shorts. The Van Liew crew jammed out to some classic 80’s rock as we made our way out to the lovely secluded Crozet, Virginia. When we arrived to my godmothers house, many activities were presented. A fresh apple pie was on the stove and ready to be eaten for desert, and there was homemade ice cream in the fridge, it was going to be a good night.

For the first activity, I was handed a pellet gun. 3 soda cans were set up at different distances from the porch. I learned that holding a gun is pretty much instinct, even though I had shot a rifle multiple times before. Also, during my pellet gun nirvana, I learned that I am ambidextrous and can shoot a gun using both hands, but I have horrible aim. Oh well.

By then dinner was ready, and my stars (and stripes) this was an american meal by far. Hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, deviled eggs, potato chips. Who could forget, the processed american cheese for the burgers. IMG_8648IMG_8653IMG_8659After dinner we moved on to one of the most popular expression of patriotism, fireworks. Fireworks are synonymous with americas day of independence, the fourth of July. The idea of fireworks is a credit to former president John Adams. He wrote in a letter to his wife on July 3rd 1776, Abigail about how the beginning of America should be celebrated immensely. Enough so that “Illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” On July 4th 1777 fireworks were set off in Philadelphia, and the newspaper raved about the use of fireworks. Most americans absolutely love fireworks and their extraordinary colors and loud bangs. I actually did discover that some people, Bailey included do not like fireworks. Personally, I enjoyed it immensely. We also had sparklers, which were about a foot long and called El Grande. Listening to classic rock, watching colors burst across the sky, in a tie dye t-shirt and blue jeans, I felt proud to be living in america and experiencing its culture in one of its many forms.

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What every american should know response


Many ideologies or viewpoints would find this image interesting. If people who were followers of Martin Luther King Jr would see this as a serious accomplishment because it embodies some of his ideas from the “I have a dream speech” where he talked about little white boys and girls holding hands and being friends . On the opposing side, they would experience possibly confusion and blind hatred because that is what they oppose.

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Gatsby Quote and Question

“For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened- then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.” (14)

Question: Why do you think the light is attracted to Daisy? What could this reference represent?


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