Dr. Martin Luther King faced numerous arrests in his life, and one of them was under commercial government in Georgia under a law that, even today, keeps blacks under control.
Police officers on May 4, 1960, pulled over a car under that state’s trucking, hauling, shipping, freight and transportation law. Catching their special notice: A white woman was in a car with a black.
In Tennessee, a similar law operates against African-Americans, the poor, immigrants and everybody else in much the same way, and under the same legal pretense. It’s called Title 55, motor and other vehicles, and operates a profitable scheme for the state, for insurance companies and for local jurisdictions that profit off fines and jailings of travelers in cars and trucks.
“The borrowed car he was driving had an expired license plate. King had just moved back to Georgia, while still using his Alabama driver’s license. Georgia law required new residents to obtain a new license within 90 days. King was given a ticket and allowed to go on. On Sept. 23, 1960, King appeared before Judge J. Oscar Mitchell of the DeKalb County civil and criminal court to resolve the traffic ticket. Mitchell dismissed the charge on the expired plates. But for not having a Georgia license, he fined King $25, put him on probation, requiring that King ‘shall not violate any federal or state penal statutes or municipal ordinances’ for one year.”
The story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press goes on to say that after this encounter, King, not apparently aware he was on probation, agreed to join an Oct. 19 protest in which arrest was deemed certain among the organizers.
The arrest violated Dr. King’s probation and Judge Mitchell sentenced him to four months in jail.
The story goes on to tell of a frightening hour for Dr. King. Officers came into his cell at 3:30, put him in leg irons and handcuffs, and put him into a cruiser and proceeded down a dark road with officers into the night. “They didn’t tell him where he was being transferred to. He didn’t know if they were going to beat or kill him or whether it was meant to scare him. They certainly accomplished that,” says Lonnie King.
Commercial chains of paper
In that era, the whole operation of commercial government was not visible and no one, probably, knew the legal mechanics of its operation. It is visible today through the efforts in Chattanooga and Hamilton County of T-TAN, or Tennessee transportation administrative notice, which seeks to delineate in law and in court cases travel from transportation and offers a legal remedy to halt the oppression of the citizenry.
Dr. King was allegedly required to have a driver license because he was a carrier for hire. That is the reason licenses exist, to regulate people who used the public right of way for private profit and gain. In a legal presumption, a legal fiction, the civil rights leader was subjected to the claim in Georgia that he was a carrier for either, either a private or common carrier (only two types exist).
In Georgia such a law operates today — and has been used by Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson to harass working man Gregory Parker. It operates in Tennessee today against black people such as Cameron Williams, a hiphop artist, and against pastor Timothy Careathers, a minister who condemns police abuse and preaches a sweet gospel message to his church members.
T-TAN has received little interest among black representatives, ministers and others. It deals with a complicated question and the remedy requires a bit of thought and review. However, T-TAN is a properly legal and effective method, if people will just reach for it.
Not to reach for it is like saying I won’t put a key into a lock because I cannot explain how the tumblers behind the lockface work. I suggest transportation administrative notice will work to free us from tyranny and policing — which we should expect to become worse starting today in the CV-19 panic.
The use of this document streetside is under the following mantra: “Officer, I’m traveling under the notice and I make no statement apart from my attorney’s presence.”
I am not an attorney and don’t give legal advice. I am an investigative reporter and “the blogger with the biggest pen” in Chattanooga. And it is by this means I intend, by God’s grace, to free the black man from the oppression that ensnared Dr. King, and ensnares black and white alike today.
Ernie Suggs, “Martin Luther King, Jr. arrest record to be expunged,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, April 4, 2020