Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Cultural Sabermetrics
The zeitgeist of social networking phenomenon is the need for quantitative
analysis. There are “top ten lists” and ongoing discussions of who is the best, greatest, most or first in almost
every category. The prevailing conclusion usually being “that the latest is the greatest” as
the shadows of obscurity await the fore-bearers.
Jennings, a teacher in the New York Negro public school system grew weary waiting for the Negro omnibus --- which ran on CP
time (ask an older Black associate about CP time) ---- took a seat on the “Whites only” omnibus and was beaten
and arrested 100 years before Rosa Parks suffered indignation. The NY transit system was integrated because of the successful
lawsuit by Jennings’ attorney Chester A Arthur who was elected to the Presidency later in his career in public service.
The Port Arthur Transit Authority bears his name to footnote this historical achievement as Elizabeth Jennings faded into
a segregated abyss; cruelly ironically losing her only son in the NY draft riots for the Civil War as well.
This is not to minimize the courage of Rosa Parks or her impact on the
Civil Rights Movement including launching the career of the then 26-years old MLK. The 385 days Montgomery bus boycott, the
March on Washington DC, the numerous demonstrations, the many marches, the “I Have a Dream Speech”, the personal
sacrifices, and the Nobel Peace Prize, part and parcel of the cultural Sabermetrics identifying modern day icon, Dr Martin
Luther King Jr. Where is Bayard Rustin?
What?” Rustin, the social activist who was the cartographer of the ship sailing the troubled seas of Civil Rights, the
mentor and confidant of Martin Luther King and an internationally acclaimed strategist of reform. Born in 1912, a gifted tenor
who performed with and collaborated with another denizen in the shadows of social reform, Paul Robeson. Mr Rustin sought out
while travelling to international destinations including Africa, met with Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi (when MLK was a teenager),
developed the non-violent principles acquired in his sojourns and imparted his experiences to Martin Luther King and others
seeking his counseling organizational skills until his death in 1987 ---- including Black mayoral candidates, Richard Hatcher,
Carl Stokes and Harold Washington. Bayard Rustin also rode public transportation in the 1940’s in order to document
the social inequities incurred; while being mentored by another social rights pioneer, A Phillip Randolph of the rail porters’
There is a Zelig phenomenon
wherein everyone desires to be present at every significant event in the manner of the fictional character from a Woody Allen
movie; reprised as Forrest Gump in a more contemporary film. While wishing or claiming to be there, remember those who were
there ---- Bayard Rustin.