Thursday, April 7, 2011

On the Anniversary of MLK's Assassination, Questions Remain

Since visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis last May, I’ve been nagged by unanswered questions surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. I hoped that reading Hellhound On His Trail by Hampton Sides would answer them. Questions I was afraid to ask about Dr. King’s sex life for fear of getting too lengthy answers were answered ad nauseum. My question, however, remains unanswered: Who was behind the conspiracy to pay James Earl Ray to kill Dr. King? Sides is very dismissive of any conspiracy theories. He fully describes all the ways that James Earl Ray spent money traveling to Canada, England, Portugal, and back to England. He chronicles how Ray escaped from a maximun security Federal penitentiary without help [really?] and then lived in Mexico, California, and Alabama for months without any employment. He lived in cheap rooming houses, but he bought a Mustang and many weapons for cash, had plastic surgery, took dancing lessons, wore suits that he had laundered weekly, and spent who knows how much on prositutes' services. Someone had to have paid him a lot. Perhaps when FBI files are legally open, we'll find out.

On the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, let’s remember that he was killed when he went to Memphis to support the sanitation workers’ union whose members were among the poorest workers in the USA. Some of them were paid so little that even working full-time, they were eligible for Public Aid. With workers’ rights being eroded all over the country and unions under attack, we’re again asked to defend workers’ rights. This week many events in support of working people are taking place. Many already took place on April 4th, but more are planned. You can look for one to attend near where you live at In Chicago, there’s a rally at Daley Plaza on April 9th at 1:00.

In honor, I should share a southern recipe, but all the ones I can think of are fried and unhealthy. Here is one for fish Vera Cruz that I got from my New Zealand cookbook instead. Well, it’s from pretty far south for me so should be okay. Cooking time and preparation combined were only 30 minutes. It feeds 3 to 4 people. You’ll have plenty of time left over to attend that workers’ rally if you make this.               
                                              FISH VERA CRUZ

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion sliced
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
2 dried chili peppers, deseeded and crushed (pick ones to your desired level of spiciness)
1 green pepper deseeded and sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 can whole tomatoes in juice
about 1 pound fish fillets (I used tilapia, but any plain white fish would be good)
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
1Tbsp lime juice
about ½ tsp salt

It’s good with rice. Cook it while you’re cooking the fish.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion softens.
Then add the chilies, green pepper and bay leaves.
Continue to cook until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin and oregano. Drain the tomatoes reserving the juice. Add to pan with half the juice.
Carefully stir in the fish and simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat as soon as the fish are just cooked. Stir in the coriander leaves, lime, and salt.

 MLK assassination, workers’ rights, fish Vera Cruz recipe


martha said...

From Jeff: Mmmm, keep it up. Between the memories and the anticipation ...

martha said...

From Jeff: Mmmm, between the memories and the anticipation ... keep it up.

Lisa Sachs said...

Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate the support.