Trailing the heinous murder of George Floyd, General Berger of the United States Marine Corps, in a statement boldly spoken says,”There is no place in our corps for racists.” He also adds, “The trust marines place in one another on a daily basis demands this. Only as a unified force, free from discrimination, racial inequality and prejudice can we finally demonstrate our core values, and serve as the elite war-fighting organization America requires and expects us to be.” Ironically, what he says America requires and expects of the Marine Corps, is precisely the type of unified declaration minorities have been struggling to acquire in this historically discriminative country. The deep-seated hatred for African Americans and other minorities entrenched in the depths of this country continues to show and while evolved, repeats itself constantly in these modern times of the 2020s.
The civil rights movement was said to have lasted a decade between the 1950s and 1960s. However, since then, social justice reform bills against prominent American institutions are still being proposed, marches against police brutality continue to be organized, and white American extremist groups continue to grow and remain threatened by the United States inevitable progression. Once more, minority citizens are exhausted with the shortcomings of the system for us and are no longer pacified with our predecessors previous gains for the culture. Their blood, sweat, tears, pursuits of education for some, and the fearlessness of all, have afforded us basic rights that we must look at as successes. Such victories include the Supreme Court ruling to outlaw all white primary elections in 1944. Ten years later in 1954, they also overturned the “separate but equal” ruling in the Brown vs. Education of Topeka. This ruling caused tremendous chaos where, “White citizen’s councils in the south fought back with legal maneuvers, economic pressure, and violence.”
Despite the domestic terrorism, in 1955 Martin Luther King Jr., a christian minister risked his life as he rose as a dominant activist who led many movements during the Civil Rights fight that dangerously helped draw the gaps a little closer together. Such movements were attributed to the 1956 Supreme Court ruling that the segregation of public transportation facilities was unconstitutional. In 1957, the Civil Rights Act was passed to protect voting rights. In 1964 yet another Civil Rights Act to protect against voting discrimination as well as threatening the loss of federal funding to local agencies that practiced discrimination. Also, in 1964 there was a need for ratification, which banned the Poll Tax, another voting discrimination act.
During the course of many ground breaking events, around 1960, Malcolm X was recognized as an outspoken, influential Muslim minister and human rights activist who spoke mainly about racial justice, was investigated by the FBI for links to communism. As we all know, just five short years later he was assassinated. Three years preceding Malcom’s murder, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also assassinated. Engulfed in frustration caused by continuous racially motivated injustices, the Black Panther Party of Self Defense established, another birth of hope for African American communities. The Party’s core practice was “cop-watching” to combat police brutality as they exercised their rights to openly carry loaded firearms. Only one year after the group’s emergence, the Mulford Act was passed by California legislators in 1967 to weaken the party’s power and influence. The Black Panther Party were also, like Malcolm X, heavily targeted and villainized by the FBI. Due to infiltration, many members were assassinated, and incarcerated until their reputation and resources were ultimately dissolved. Their destruction as well as shifting focus from the minorities voices rising to be heard were attributed to the Vietnam War, in which, “African American soldiers participated in disproportionately high numbers, tended to divide the black leadership and divert white liberals from the civil rights movement.”
Written by: Sharia Legette