A bomb detonated outside the NAACP office in Colorado Springs, Colo., forces the nation to revisit a disturbing element of U.S. civil rights history just days before Kansas City and the nation celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
King, black churches and other leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s were frequent targets of bombings. The improvised explosive devise in Colorado Springs went off outside the office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Agents with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the case as a possible “act of domestic terrorism.” No injuries were reported.
In a brief statement on the bombing, the national office of the NAACP in Baltimore said the “NAACP looks forward to a full and thorough investigation into this matter by federal agents and local law enforcement.”
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The NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, founded in 1909. Throughout its history, the NAACP has been in the forefront of civil rights gains for African Americans, helping to secure the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education victory in the Supreme Court ending legal segregation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Its homepage says “No More Michael Browns. No More Eric Garners. The time for injustice is gone.” It refers to two African-American men — one in Ferguson, Mo., the other in New York — who died last year at the hands of police. Grand juries in both cases refused to indict the police officers involved in the deaths. The slayings and lack of charges set off ongoing protests nationwide, some violent.
Authorities must do all that they can to find the culprit in the Colorado Springs bombing and prevent such attacks from occurring elsewhere as national holiday events begin to commemorate King, who was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis. Had he lived, King would have celebrated his 86th birthday this year.
The annual national holiday for King — begun in 1986 — should include speeches, lamenting the Colorado Springs bombing of the NAACP office and the deaths of Brown, Garner, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and other black males killed by police and a call to action insisting as protesters have for months that “black lives matter.”
The King holiday celebration in Kansas City sponsored annually by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City will start this weekend with an artists tribute on Saturday and an interfaith service at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., where the Rev. Charles Adams will give the keynote address and Kansas City Councilman John Sharp is to receive the 2015 Evelyn Wasserstrom Award. Events are planned throughout next week leading up to the 6 p.m. Jan. 19 national holiday mass celebration at the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, 2310 E. Linwood Blvd., where U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who marched with King, will be the keynote speaker.
The Kansas City theme of one of the largest King holiday celebrations in the country is “Investing in Our Community for Economic Justice.”