It's foolish to let your oppressor tell you that you should forget about the oppression that they inflicted upon you
History is often framed in the light most favorable to those in power. Fortunately, the truth, even though once concealed, is often revealed over time. Justice requires truth about the past because that knowledge can be used to prevent future injustices. Affirmative action was created and intended to promote opportunities for black people who had endured long term legalized discrimination and minority groups to give them equal access to that of the majority population. The irony is that affirmative action has helped white women more than any other group.
In 1860, 89 percent of the nation's African Americans were slaves and were forbidden by law for generations to be taught to read. Steven Deyle shows that in 1860, the value of the slaves was “roughly three times greater than the total amount invested in banks,” and it was “equal to about seven times the total value of all currency in circulation in the country, three times the value of the entire livestock population, twelve times the value of the entire U.S. cotton crop” and "even surpassed the assessed value of real estate within the slaveholding states". Slaves were so valuable that the United States went to war to abolish what other nations abolished through legislation. 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in the Civil War; twenty percent of all Southern white men of military age died in the War.
Unfortunately, after the Civil War and brief reconstruction period, oppressive laws were created and used to keep African Americans in a slave-like condition. After almost 450 years of white "affirmative action", African American received in theory, equal opportunity.
In 2008, President Obama, then Senator Obama delivered his "A More Perfect Union" speech that addressed racial issues in response to controversial comments made by his then pastor Jeremiah Wright. The entire video is 37 minutes, but only a five-minute section starting at 15:30 and ending at 20:07 will play. There is an option to play the entire video if you wish.
My father, an 86-year-old Korean War Veteran, the youngest of 12 siblings, whose six older brothers all served in World War II; has often commented how this country has treated its enemies better than black soldiers who fought for this country.
The press and media have a tendency to show events in the African American community from a negative point of view. African Americans are expected to forget past transgressions committed against them while other transgressions such as Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and other tragedies are commemorated with ceremony and monuments. White privilege is usually ignored and there is often no discussion of the causes that led to present conditions including:
- Mass incarceration
- Forced migrations
- Terrorism by White Supremacist Organizations
- Stolen property
- Medical experimentation
- Race riots
- Slave labor
- Mass murder
- Long-lasting psychological effects on survivors and descendants.
While history provides countless references and narratives about what led to present day conditions of African Americans, only a few representative and eye-opening examples are included here. Members of the black community are often told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. However, boots were frequently stolen from our ancestors and those making the statements have forgotten that the foundation of wealth that made the U.S. a world power was built on the backs of slave labor.
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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a book by Michelle Alexander, a civil rights litigator and legal scholar, published in 2010 by The New Press. The book deals with race-related and social, political, and legal phenomena in the United States and attempts to apply the term 'The New Jim Crow' to the situation of African Americans in the contemporary United States. The name derives from the original Jim Crow laws that prevailed in the states of the former Confederacy of the U.S. through the 1960s. Also, see the PBS special, "Slavery by Another Name".
Sergeant Renée Mitchell a longtime officer with the Sacramento Police Department discusses the impact a simple decision to arrest had that individual and his entire family. The video starts off kind of slow, but will bring tears to your eyes if you watch it all the way thru.
Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed
In 1968, the year in which both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, Bill Cosby narrated this interesting documentary about black history which aired on CBS. Considering the fact the FBI had a program in place to discredit black leaders, I will withhold judgment concerning recent allegations concerning Dr. Cosby until they are proven in a court of law.
This three-minute cartoon was part of the documentary "Bowling for Columbine", uses animation and comedy to make a poignant statement about America's violent racial history.
Many people believe Emmett Till's murder was the catalyst for the civil rights movement, much the same as Michael Brown's death has inspired a resurgence in civil rights activity.
Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was an African-American teenager who was murdered in Mississippi at the age of 14 after reportedly flirting with a white woman. Till was from Chicago, Illinois, visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region, when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store there.
Several nights later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went to Till's great-uncle's house. They took Till away to a barn, where they beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River, weighting it with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. Three days later, Till's body was discovered and retrieved from the river.
Till's body was returned to Chicago. His mother, who had raised him mostly by herself, insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket, in her words, "I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby." Tens of thousands of people viewed Emmett's body and photographs were circulated around the country. Through the constant attention, it received, the Till case became emblematic of the disparity of justice for blacks in the South.
"The open-coffin funeral held by Mamie Till Bradley exposed the world to more than her son Emmett Till's bloated, mutilated body. Her decision focused attention not only on American racism and the barbarism of lynching but also on the limitations and vulnerabilities of American democracy". Tens of thousands attended his funeral or viewed his casket and images of his mutilated body were published in black-oriented magazines and newspapers, rallying popular black support and white sympathy across the U.S. Intense scrutiny was brought to bear on the condition of black civil rights in Mississippi, with newspapers around the country critical of the state. Although initially local newspapers and law enforcement officials decried the violence against Till and called for justice, they soon began responding to national criticism by defending Mississippians, which eventually transformed into support for the killers.
The trial attracted a vast amount of press attention. In September 1955, Bryant and Milam were acquitted of Till's kidnapping and murder. Protected against double jeopardy, Bryant and Milam publicly admitted in an interview with Look magazine that they killed Till. This case highlights the negative aspect of jury nullification. Till's murder is noted as a pivotal event motivating the African-American Civil Rights Movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott took place later that same year in December.
Below are links to other pages and post which contain important history or analysis that have shaped present day circumstances.
- 2017 Black History Post
- Educational Oppression
- Medical Oppression
- Racial Bias in Media
- White Supremacy
- U.S. Government Discrimination
- African History and Black Empires Your Were Never Told About
- Racism a History
- Race Riots
The Truth How Slavery Started
- Slavery Isn't Over, They Just Changed What They Call It
- Goodbye Uncle Tom (Viewer discretion is advised, very graphic movie about slavery)
- Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave
- Slavery By Another Name
- The Willie Lynch Letter – The Making of a Slave