Monday, April 04, 2011

Treating Hearsay & Rumour As Fact

Picture the scene: Liverpool in the early 60s. Crowds flock to the Cavern, Anfield & Goodison regularly attract 50,000 fans through their turnstiles & the planners assure inner city residents that moving to the new towns of Kirkby & Skelmersdale will be the answer to their housing woes. Meanwhile, in a room at the Adelphi Hotel Martin Luther King sits down to compose his memorable "I have a dream" speech ( ).
Still with me? No, I haven't been on the Ossie Whites at Yates' Wine Bar, but I suspect a few characters in the city council, particularly those in the tourism department, may well have been. How else to account for the bizarre claim that Dr King penned his most famous address at the Adelphi ( ): "The allegation has been made in a guide to a major art event entitled 'Liverpool Discovers', commissioned by amongst others, the city council. "A map in the guide shows how more than 20 locations where famous people were born along with places associated with celebrities and events in their lives.
"The guide proclaims: 'Martin Luther King visited his supporters in Liverpool three times, and the first draft of his famous
"I have a dream" speech is alleged to be written on Adelphi Hotel headed notepaper.' "
Note that word, "alleged". Here we have a jaw-dropping case of slack, lazy assumptions being tarted-up as historical fact. Forget the fact that no evidence has been produced to justify the claim.
The Telegraph report quotes the city council's defence, which is, by twists & turns, contradictory, defensive & puerile: "All of the facts we had came from a public consultation where we asked people to submit what they knew about Liverpool.
"They are not official; they are just things about Liverpool that many people may not know.
"As you will appreciate it is sometimes difficult to prove historical facts, and we have run the map by local historians to best verify what appeared.
"Although biographers such as those associated with Martin Luther King may not be aware of such a fact, with all due respect to them, that in itself does not prove it to be untrue.
"Many cities reference stories about their history that cannot be absolutely proven -- and in this case the word 'alleged' informs the reader that the fact is not set in stone."
So this "fact" concerning Dr King came from "a public consultation", did it? And I presume that describing this "fact" as "not official" is another way of admitting that it's complete bollocks, particularly when the local historians approached by the idiots who dreamt up this story have no knowledge of the claim & no evidence for its veracity. Moreover, the phrase, "to best verify what appeared" is code for "We know this claim is crap but we'll run with it anyway". There's also an obnoxious arrogance displayed towards biographers of Dr King; "with all due respect", the city council should issue an apology to them.
Liverpool has many links with America. Those links have been historically verified & the requisite evidence duly provided down the years. This claim is as bizarre as it is self-servingly squalid & it should be withdrawn immediately.


Professor Y. Chucklebutty said...

When Hitler was living in Upper Stanhope Street,he was skint and always coming into the KFC on Aigburth Road where my aunty worked asking for any odd bits of batter. He tried to get into art college with John Lennon but was rejected when he submitted several drawings of a design for a "Volkswagon" John said Hitler inspired the Beetles. He even became a regular at the famous underground Cavern until it was blown up by the Red Army. Allegedly. And he sold the Echo at the Pier Head. The Voice of Liverpool for a thousand years, he claimed.

Ronnie de Ramper said...

OK, so Martin Luther King didn't write his stuff in the Adelphi. But I know it for a fact that Abraham Lincoln thought up the Gettysburg Address while strolling round Seffie Park

Ronnie de Ramper said...

He was staying in the Alicia by the way. Allegedly