Martin Luther King day was Monday. An annual celebration is held on the downtown plaza, preceding by a a ceremony at the Martin Luther King Garden nearby. The crowd on the plaza was huge, the largest that I have seen.

 A program, hosted by Rodney long was held on the main stage:



 I just voted (2:30 p.m.)in the Gainesville City Commission runoff in At Large Seat 1 at precinct 32,  which is down the street from where I live. I voted for Harvey Budd and was the 94th voter. That is not too bad for a runoff, but it is still rather slow, so we must pick it up. The sun is out people! No rain is within a few hundred miles on the radar, so get out and vote! If turnout is too low, Jay Curtis might sneak onto the commission. The last thing we need is a third commissioner beholden to developers. 

We also have a runoff in District 1 over on the East side. Re-electing Yvonne Hinson-Rawls is also important.

To sum, people, GET OUT AND VOTE!


Early voting started on Monday in the runoffs for two Gainesville City Commission seats. Election Day is April 14.

For the At-Large seat I endorse Harvey Budd. He and Adrian Hayes-Santos, who finished third, split progressive endorsements. Budd,s endorsements now run the liberal gamut and include Hayes-Santos’s.

His opponent, Jay Curtis, has been endorsed by the Gainesville Builders Association and gets much of his money from businesses and developers. Right-wingers Tony Domenech and Nathan Collier have contributed to his campaign.

The choice is crystal clear: Harvey Budd is the progressive option for this seat.

In the District 1 race, Yvonne-Hinson-Rawls is the progressive choice despite a disappointing vote on the widening of eigth avenue.

Joel Buchanan

Black History Month started on Sunday. We will start by talking about the integration of Gainesville High School by three African-American students in 1964. ( How chilling it is that the chocolate denied admission to Afican-Americans up until only twelve years before I started there)The most notable of that legendary trio was Joeal Buchanan who sadly passed away last May at the young age of 65.

Buchanan is a legend both for integrating Gainesville High School despite being spat upon and for chronicling the the history of the local African-African American community before the Civil Rights Movement and recmarording interviews with those lived during that time. He eventually worked for the University of Florida.

In 2002 he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Junior Commission of Florida hall of fame, and last month that group honored him posthumously on the day after the celebration of King’s birthday. In my opinion he was the most distinguished graduate of GHS.

Here is a podcast from the University of Florida Library’s Oral History Project with Joel Buchanan talking about the integration of Gainesville High School.

12 statements by Martin Luther King Jr. you won’t see conservatives post on Facebook today

12 statements by Martin Luther King Jr. you won’t see conservatives post on Facebook today. Today the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday was celebrated. Here in Gainesville we had a ceremony on the downtown, which is called the Bo Diddly Coomunity Plaza after rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley, who was born in and lived much of his life in the area. The event, which drew a very large crowd, featured speakers, among them local politicians, the awarding of scolariships, and music. The program concluded with the crowd being led in singing the Negro National Anthem, the Hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (a tradition African-American spiritual). The powerful lyrics, written by James Weldon Johnson, were included in the program:


“Lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring. ring with the harmonies of Liberty; let our rejoicing rise High as list’ning skies, Let it resound loud as the roaring sea. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has tought us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us, Facing the rising sun of our new day Begun, let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when Hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet, Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered; Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way, thou who hast by Thy might led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, Our God, where we met Thee, Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine Of the world, we forget Thee; Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand. True to our God, True to our native land.”


(The music is by John Rosamond Johnson)

After the anthem was sung we left the Plaza and marched east to Waldo Road and then northeast up Waldo Road to the Martin Luther King Center. The throng filled the street. Two UU contingents we present: a few members of the UUFG and a few members of  the “Phoenix Rising” split off group, one end of whose banner I held up through most of the march.

It was  tremendous experience. The MLK holiday is definitely on the upswing, perhaps boosted by the Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner cases. The one thing I was disappointed about was that so few tables were at they event: just a few businesses, people registering voters and the Civic Media Center tabled the event. The MLK observance should be teeming with tables from all progressive groups, political parties, and churches as the Earth Day festival and the Gay Pride march are. Perhaps one day it will be. In the meantime I will conclude with the words (I Dream A World) of the August bard Langston Hughes, one the best this country has ever had:

“I dream a world where man

No other man will scorn,

Where love will bless the earth

And peace its paths adorn

I dream a world where all

Will know sweet freedom’s way,

Where greed no longer  saps the soul

Nor avarice blights our day.

A world I dream where black or white,

Whatever race you be,

Will share the bounties of the earth

And every man is free,

Where wretchedness will hang its head

And joy, like a pearl,

Attends the needs of all mankind-

Of such a world I dream, my world!”







image image I got home from the concert almost two hours ago. The cover of the program and the list of pieces within are posted above. Both performances went well. The sanctuary was packed for first one in the afternoon and half full for the second one at night. Both lasted about one hour and twenty minutes and drew standing ovations. We all loved singing for the audience. I greatly look forward to our next concerts in the spring. rehearsals begin in January.