By Porter Bankhead
Struggles by the Negro for full citizenship and equality and justice achieved unheralded action in the 60s. Nationwide protests against Jim Crow laws by Blacks and groups raised voices in cities across the nation, defying segregation policies and governments favoring the Jim Crow practices.
Along the way in this process of protests and litigation, groundwork was laid that paved the way for fulfilling the aims of our founding fathers that all men are created equal. These Constitutional rights were affirmed in civil rights and voting rights laws. The fight waged by the NAACP, Black Panther Party, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Congress of Racial Equality and others signified a revolution in America giving the Negro hope for the first time after slavery.
A half century later (2020), Black Americans do not have equality and justice. In fact, dystopia in Black America is unchanged from the era of the 1960 civil rights struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There is income disparity between Black and White, unemployment doubling of Blacks to Whites, redlining still in housing, unfair opportunities in employment, and unequal justice in policing.
The late Congressman John Lewis, like many other Black leaders, was valiant in putting his life on the line for Blacks and people with no recourse in the country against apartheid and oppression. Much more was expected of their leadership in modern times in their positions within the powerful bureaucratic parties. An example: Jim Clyburn (D-SC) was a leader for civil rights justice against Jim Crow laws while a student at South Carolina State College, protesting the very leadership he now enjoys. These Black legislators are tied to the Democrats and their false promises made in committing to uphold the laws that were passed.
It is incongruous for us to glorify leaders that discontinued the agenda for the Negro’s full citizenship entitlements. Martin Luther King did not quit; Jim Clyburn should not quit but should continue to push for full entitlements across the board in all areas of rights contained in the United States Constitution. To be a part of the Democratic leadership should not constrain the ideals once held in removing barriers for equality. That same tenacity should remain a part of service even on the Congressional leadership team. Too often, Black people capitulate to get along and hold our status.
Putting a Black on the Democratic ticket for vice president should come with a platform that addresses the plight Blacks suffer from today as illustrated above. We are not interested in just being in a nominal or sycophant position. We are interested in being in a significant role and fulfill the duties of that position.
Porter Bankhead Washington, DC
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