16 January 2006

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today the United States celebrates the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. America's race issues, like those of France, seem insurmountable. The solution is simple -- painfully simple. But, racism - and most of the unsavory type of "isms" - are unlikely to dissolve without consistent, small and ordinary heroic acts by individuals.

Many black Americans moved to Paris. Not just Josephine Baker, but scores of others who found Paris more accepting, while America treated them poorly. Either for professional or strictly personal reasons, these folks were absorbed into Parisian culture.

I missed an opportunity to take it last summer, but a tour featuring the history of black Americans in Paris is offered by former journalist Ricki Stevenson. I hope to catch the tour later in 2006 and possibly interview Ms. Stevenson. The Chicago Sun-Times had this to say about her and her venture.

"Her complete tour finds any student amazed at the depth of this history lesson--enough so, you find yourself envisioning Baker strutting down the Champs Elysees dripping in diamonds and furs with her pet cheetah...To contact Stevenson for your own tour, email her at Rickis@club-internet.fr or call from the U.S. (011.331. Cost is 90 Euros for the seven-hour tour."



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