By Rebecca S. Jones
HOUSTON – “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But, one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.
One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.”
On August 28, 1963, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. with over 250,000 people gathered around and delivered one of the most prophetic and powerful speeches ever known. Throughout, the prolific “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King made several references to the state of the “Negro” prior to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
He continued by sharing the trials that the “Negro” was confronted with during the Civil Rights era, that he and other leaders were combatting and trying to overcome. And here we are, over fifty years after his delivery and the “Negro” is STILL in the SAME FIGHT, with a DIFFERENT STRUGGLE.
American history has shown that every few decades a new “noose” is tied around the neck of African-Americans living in this country. It has become a legalized redundant cycle, which has taken the lives of countless Blacks throughout the years. Scores of families have been torn asunder and left without “Heads of Households” for ages in the Black community.
Perhaps, the scene would be more understandable if these invidious actions were warranted or deserving by the victims. But, unfortunately, the only crime committed in many instances was -Being Born Black in America. End of Story.
Equal Rights/Equal Life
During the Civil Rights movement, Blacks were protesting and marching for equal rights and voting rights. As a result, of their volition and sacrifices Blacks were able to secure equal rights in some ways. Legislation manifested from the actions of Dr. King and others. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act were passed and most of these rights were enacted into law. Yet, complete justice and equality was never truly obtained.
In 2019, African-Americans are in a different struggle. While, Dr. King marched for Equal Rights, Blacks today are protesting for Equal Life. It was one thing to protest the right to be treated as a human being.
But, African-Americans are simply trying to live from one day to the next without encountering a police official who may have woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The fight is crucial, and the struggle is definitely real. Thus, “The Dream Continues.”
The Dream Continues
Considering the challenges and hurdles which still remain for African-Americans, I am reminded of the words of Pastor F.N. Williams, II, “Though we have come far, we haven’t come far enough.” The blatant disregard of Black Lives in America has been expressed from the highest seat in the land and continues to trickle down through local forms of government. Incidents such as the one Tony Colquitt, a resident of Acres Homes encountered recently by detesting the slaughter of innocent Black people at the hands of police officials are only a small drop in a large bucket.
Colquitt has chosen to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, by displaying the words on the back of his car. While at a local WalMart he returned to his vehicle to find a cotton plant attached under his car’s wiper blade with a card with the inscription, “All Lives Matter”.
It is no secret that ALL LIVES MATTER! But, All LIVES are not being slain in the name of “protecting and serving”. It is scenes such as this, which has caused an uproar within the African-American community. No other race is being targeted and assassinated for the color of their skin like Black people. Therefore, our hype is a different kind of hype, because our situation has repeatedly proven fatal. This is only one factor which should serve to let African-Americans know, “The Dream Continues”. We have not fully arrived. Hence, it is not the time to back away from speaking out against the grave injustices imposed on the Black community; instead, it is time to get even louder and scream that not only do we deserve EQUAL RIGHTS, but EQUAL LIFE.
Dr. King attested to that fact as he encouraged Blacks to keep fighting the fight. He said, “1963 is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundation of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”