Tuesday, May 19, 2009

wild horses

Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression.
Malcolm X (19 May 1925-1965) orator and human rights activist

today is malcolm x's birthday. born malcolm little, the adult malcolm changed his last name to "x" in order to shed the slave name given to him at birth. have you ever wondered where malcolm or our country might be now had those crazed assassins not riddled his body with bullets that cold february night in 1965?

speaking of malcolm, last week when I was at the library I picked up strivers row, the third novel in kevin baker's city of fire trilogy. several years ago I read paradise alley, what a powerful and compelling read. I've been meaning to get around to reading the other two books in baker's novelized history of new york ever since. I think today is a perfect day to start strivers row, especially considering this:
Played out against the backdrop of Harlem in 1943... Baker reimagines the early days of Malcolm Little—the man who became Malcolm X. As depicted by Baker, the young Malcolm is quick-witted, eager, reckless and impulsive, but also sensitive and possessing a strong sense of justice. These qualities lead to a chance encounter in which he helps Jonah Dove (the Dove family is familiar from Paradise Alley), a young Harlem minister who is struggling with his own demons as the fair-skinned leader of a black church that has not truly embraced him, despite his being the only son of the church's much-beloved founder; Dove's unfolding story (including his struggles with passing) deepens Malcolm's. The book stays within what's already known about Malcolm X's early adulthood, but Baker covers the territory carefully. He also thoroughly captures the figures (Adam Clayton Powell Jr., West Indian Archie, the Collyer brothers, etc.) and micropolitical climate of wartime Harlem: munitions factories have brought jobs to the struggling community, but low wages, rationing, racial hostilities and an increasing military and police presence makes for possibly explosive combinations. When these tensions do reach the breaking point, Baker lends the resulting fray a visceral reality. Copyright © Reed Business Information
notes on photos: last week I met rascal and cruz, two of the six horses in cleveland's stable of police horses. I also had the good fortune to talk to officer sikora and learn a bit about cleveland's mounted police. I remember a few years ago, then mayor campbell put the horses out to pasture. I asked officer sikora about that; according to the officer, the horses were out of work for 28 months. during that time there was a lot of private and public activity to reinstate the horses. long story short, the horses are back! if you are interested in reading about the long and sometimes turbulent history of the cleveland mounted police go here.

the two horses in these photos are both tennessee walking horses, rascal (brown) is 20 years old and cruz is 9. there are three officers who ride horses, I met two of the officers. I learned that prior to joining the mounted division when he was 51 (he is now 62) officer sikora had no experience with horses. the city taught him how to ride.




11 comments:

Candie Bracci said...

The first picture is magnificent!And what can I say about that song?Amazing!

mar azul said...

I love, love, love these two horses, kimy. I want them! Do you think they'd mind sleeping in a small courtyard ? (I would let them run wild every morning near the water.) Please? Please?
sigh. (I'll read about their real life in Cleveland later.) :-)

Julie said...

Yay, for mounted police. those horses are so well behaved and beautiful. <3

Steve said...

I love the idea of cops on horseback. NYC has some too, I think -- though I'm not 100 percent sure about that. Seems like I've seen them in Central Park, maybe?

rosedale's 4 head said...

kimy, i am especially proud of this post...usually people run.............away...........at the mention of Malcolm X. even now, you are a classic brave.

also, on this: "that cold february night in 1965" i was just about almost...dad & mom were trying with little effort, just high schoolers themselves...but it was so easy...and i'll never know if there was love or just a high school 'get it on' ...almost a conception...

thank the stars for peops like you...who tribute the good...the beauty of people just wanting to be human beings without the stress and illness of turmoil....

Sandra Leigh said...

The Kevin Baker books sound fascinating. I've requested Paradise alley from the library.

I did not know today was Malcom X's birthday. Thank you for the reminder.

Megan said...

Yes, I have wondered.

And oh, no, a trilogy to add to my "to read" pile? Have you seen how tall it is getting lately? Obviously you haven't!

Great post, mouse.

Baino said...

Interesting about Malcolm X. While we're very aware of his campaign I always thought him too millitant to have achieved his objective. Interesting that as a young man he was sensitive and perhaps poverty, oppression and youthful exhuberance led to him being a more aggressive campaigner for equal rights.

We have a strong mounted police presence in Sydney, they can police places where patrol cars cannot and are more indimidating than the bicycle cops that also are used in city streets. Love 'em! And the bobby's don't mind if you give their horsies a pat either! (I can't resist, just can't resist)

Ronda Laveen said...

Those are absolutely magnificent animals. Powerful symbols to go with Malcom X day.

Sandra Leigh said...

The Rodin keeps calling me back. Fantastic.

j. said...

all your recent posts are truly lovely.

thanks, as always, for sharing.