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Old 08-24-2013, 01:00 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech: What's up with the white hats?

In honor of the 50 year aniversary of the greatest speech in American history:
Who are the people standing behind Martin L. King, and why are they all wearing white caps ?

You can see the people and their caps in the first 30 seconds of this youtube clip of the speech (from about 0:05 to 0:35).









(the link shows only the final minutes of the ML King speaking.. But on the sidebar there are other links to the entire speech..... click on one of them! Fifty years later, it's as moving as it was to those who saw it live.)
  #2  
Old 08-24-2013, 01:50 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Earlier thread. I think, as I said in the earlier thread, that they are Gandhi caps.
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:16 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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okay, so they are Ghandi caps. But that leads to my next question: what's up with Ghandi caps in America?
Obviously, Martin Luther King proudly associated himself with Ghandi's movement and its messsage of non-violence. But had the Ghandi cap become a popular symbol in America of 1963? Or was it pretty much limited to this one demonstration, and then faded away?

When I think of the famous historical symbols of the civil rights movement, I don't think of Ghandi caps. If I had been an average American watching the news that night in 1963 --would I have recognized the caps as a political statement? or as having any meaning at all?
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:19 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Let's get this straight. The man's name is spelled Gandhi.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:28 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Let's get this straight. The man's name is spelled Gandhi.
thanks.

But what's up with his caps?

Last edited by chappachula; 08-24-2013 at 03:28 PM.
  #6  
Old 08-24-2013, 03:38 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Bayard Rustin went to India in 1948. Dr King went in 1959. The American civil rights movement was strongly influenced by Gandhi's philosophy and teachings. I don't know if the average American of 1963 would recognize a Gandhi cap, but I think the leadership would.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:38 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Link
Quote:
King arrived in Bombay on February 9, 1959, along with his wife Coretta and close associates. The visit, which deepened his understanding of the use of non-violence, would go on to change history...

Writer Michael J Nojeim notes in his 2004 book 'Gandhi and King' that King toured Delhi wearing a Gandhi cap.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:04 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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You guys are overthinking this. They were wearing white hats because they're the good guys.
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:35 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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You guys are overthinking this. They were wearing white hats because they're the good guys.
Good guy? Did King ever produce a birth certificate?
Peace,
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Last edited by mangeorge; 08-25-2013 at 06:36 PM.
  #10  
Old 08-25-2013, 07:23 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Those caps were associated with the Nation of Islam, which is ironic, as most of the (by then splintered) sub-group, including Malcolm X, had denounced it as too weak a show.
NoI often provided security, but these folks do not act like security.

Yes, Nation of Islam is aka Black Muslims, and is now "owned" by Farrakhan. Early on, it was noted for not opposing (to put it mildly) the use of violence and for teaching a black racism allegedly found somewhere in the Quran (remember the Arab world had a collective memory of the Crusades - hostility toward western Europeans would not be surprising).

They and the Mormons (who once taught that a dark skin was the mark of Cain) should have been given a really small island in the middle of nowhere and left to decide who's theology was superior.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:47 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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They and the Mormons (who once taught that a dark skin was the mark of Cain)
But at least it lets them make a mean pizza.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:06 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Those caps were associated with the Nation of Islam, which is ironic, as most of the (by then splintered) sub-group, including Malcolm X, had denounced it as too weak a show.
NoI often provided security, but these folks do not act like security.
I believe that you are incorrect. Here is a photo of Elijah Muhammad standing at a podium wearing a cap that looks more like a taqiyah than a Gandhi cap. Secondly, I do not believe that the leadership of the civil rights movement (who mostly originated among Christian clergy) got along with the Nation
of Islam.

Also, the other, now-closed thread was revived by a new poster who linked to a USA Today that profiled some of the people who were there that day. One such profile says:

Quote:
He was a black man with fair skin and dark hair who looked sort of like Adam Clayton Powell, the late congressman from Harlem. He wore a folded white hat, like one you might see on a cook in a diner.

In reality the hat, like the one worn by non-violent freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi in India, symbolized peace. The man who wore it, the late Charlie Jackson, was a local hero in Jersey City, a working-class community across the Hudson River from New York.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 08-25-2013 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:09 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
and for teaching a black racism allegedly found somewhere in the Quran (remember the Arab world had a collective memory of the Crusades - hostility toward western Europeans would not be surprising).
Since the Crusades started some 450 years after the first Quran was collated ( by tradition anyway, the earliest extant copies date to a century or so later ), one doubts Arab disgruntlement over crusading farangi was the source of much of anything . Black nationalist readings of the Quran are pretty parallel to white supremacist readings of the Bible - pretty strangled. There is a reason Warith Deen Muhammed chucked most of that stuff and started moving the bulk of the old NOI into mainstream Sunni Islam starting in the 1970's. Farrakhan's group is basically a rump faction.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 08-25-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:23 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech: What's up with the white hats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Those caps were associated with the Nation of Islam,
Please stop spreading ignorance.

1. Those caps are associated with Gandhi, Nehru, and the Indian Congress Party. They have nothing to do with Islam. Indeed, there are a lot of Muslims who would not want to be associated with those caps.

2. Why would King be surrounded by followers of Elijah Mohammed? They weren't exactly buddies.

Last edited by Acsenray; 08-25-2013 at 08:23 PM.
  #15  
Old 08-25-2013, 09:40 PM
j_sum1 j_sum1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Let's get this straight. The man's name is spelled Gandhi.
thanks.

But what's up with his caps?

English grammar requires caps for proper nouns.
  #16  
Old 08-25-2013, 11:41 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Many in the crowd wore paper hats, like a diner cook's, saying UAW—Full Employment Now.
  #17  
Old 08-28-2013, 09:05 AM
nice2meetyou nice2meetyou is offline
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Kufi cap. In the United States today, many African-Americans wear the kufi during weddings, funerals, graduations and Kwanzaa celebrations. Furthermore, people of mainly West African heritage of all faiths wear the kufi, although it is associated with members of the Islamic faith more.

So really...who knows. See for yourself...
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...27Adua_VOA.jpg
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:54 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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That stuff wasn't yet big in the '50s and '60s when King was advocating non-violent resistance. It's Gandhi, I'm telling you. There's no question.
  #19  
Old 08-30-2013, 07:35 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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You guys are overthinking this.
Yes.
Washingtom, DC in August, standing out in the hot sun for hours, you really ought to wear some kinf of hat, to keep off the sun. And a white one works better than black.
  #20  
Old 08-30-2013, 10:00 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Many in the crowd wore paper hats, like a diner cook's, saying UAW—Full Employment Now.
Obviously this (thanks for the link!), but it was also before Labor Day and a gentleman doesn't wear a dark hat before sundown before Labor Day. It isn't done.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:03 AM
Cartooniverse Cartooniverse is offline
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Try telling that to the teeming millions [i]sic[/] if Orthodox Jews in NYC......

I'm with the Gandhi faction here, with the short-order cooks unionizing as my backup.

It's not like it was a wood carving of a rally in Munich in 1409, people. Those steps were crammed with people. Can't we find more than one cite?

I'm gonna write the NAACP right now to ask.
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  #22  
Old 09-01-2013, 11:26 AM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Try telling that to the teeming millions sic of Orthodox Jews in NYC......
Well, Orthodox Jews were never known for their fashion sense.

Okay, what this thread has produced is not a single reason for the white hats, but several reasons and several different hats. I'm going out on a limb to say that ALL of these hypotheses are true.
  #23  
Old 09-01-2013, 11:58 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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King's nonviolent movement was strongly associated with Gandhi-ism and the use of the Gandhi cap. There's no reason to believe it's anything else.

Washington Post, February 2009:

Quote:
A few Indian college students gathered around a photograph of King Jr. giving the "I Have a Dream" speech. The photo showed two African American men wearing white, pointed caps in the style of Gandhi.
A Turn in the South by V.S. Naipaul:

Quote:
The walls of the inner office were hung with many big black-and-white photographs of the civil-rights marches: . . . But the most moving photographs were those that stressed simpler things: . . . like the Gandhi cap and the homespun of India.
Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. by Stephen B. Oates:

Quote:
In the days that followed, King toured New Delhi in a Gandhi cap ...
"I have a dream ...," The Hindu, August 2013:

Quote:
It was a time for change to ‘rise from the quick sand of racial injustices’, proclaimed in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, who fought the first war against slavery. The sea of thousands of men and women, many wearing Gandhi caps, influenced by the Mahatma’s struggle for human rights; independence through non-violence as a world truth.
  #24  
Old 09-01-2013, 12:00 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Because they go so well with a Nehru jacket?
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:35 PM
omni-not omni-not is offline
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Odd that this should come up because every time I see the clip, first thing that comes to mind is to think of the guy standing right behind MLK as that 'Pizza Delivery Guy'
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