Thursday, November 06, 2008

Historic Times

Martin Luther King, Jr.Image via Wikipedia
Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we all can fly - Jay Z [Source]

Black history is a hot topic at the moment and rightly so what with President-elect Barack Obama marking a significant event in our time. Following discussion over on FriendFeed, I read that newspaper's were selling out as news stands quickly sold out of Wednesday's papers declaring Barack Obama the nation's first black president as some jubilant customers picked up two, three or even 30 copies as keepsakes.

I started above with a quote from Jay Z because what he said made me take note and want to re-educate myself about black history. Not just for my own knowledge but also that of my children so that they can understand the magnitude of the events. I tried explaining to my seven year old daughter and she couldn't comprehend the divide in equality and ignorance. She told me that she was glad that she wasn't around back then because she had good friends that she didn't want to not talk to.

I honestly don't rate the calibre of my writing compared to some of the blogs that I follow. I am not trying to be humble just that I don't think there is any way that I could accurately depict the struggle and pain over the centuries. Back in 1619 when the first African slaves arrived in Virginia through to 1808 when Congress banned the importation of slaves from Africa. Then in 1863 President Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

The Civil War, Ku Klux Klan forming, Amendments and the fight for equal rights. Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to give her seat on a bus to a white person sparking year-long bus boycott protest in Montgomery, Alabama. Organised by a young minister, Martin Luther King. Malcolm X becoming a minister of the Nation of Islam in 1952, over the next several years his influence increased until he was one of the two most powerful members of the Black Muslims (the other was its leader, Elijah Muhammad). Martin Luther King Jr in 1963 and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which was attended by about 250,000 people, the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital and where King Jr delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I have only touched on the past but I have a renewed interest inspired by current events.

Now in 2008 we start a new chapter and in Barack Obama's words a time of change, in March this year he urged African Americans to "embrace the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past." The President-elect could well be the next great leader...

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