BLACK HISTORY MONTH
This year's theme for Black History Month, "Black Resistance," examines how African-Americans have fought repression from America's earliest days. From the beginning of slavery in the United States, 1619 Jamestown Virginia to escaping the plantation, to the rise out of poverty and the struggle for equal housing and education to the struggle for voting rights, the resistance lives on even into the 21st century:
Beginning with colonial days, an act of resistance struck fear into the hearts of white slave owners in New York City as early as 1712.
More insurrections against slave owners would continue right into the mid-19th century.
Rebellions in New Orleans, South Carolina and, more famously in Virginia with Nat Turner's rebellion, were all quickly put down. Yet each insurrection helped to strengthen the resolve of black slaves to find any escape route from slavery.
By the mid-1800's, Harriet Tubman had proudly earned the nickname "The Moses of Her People" when she helped slaves travel into free states and into Canada and Mexico via the Underground Railroad. Tubman was only one of many who helped establish the secret network of escape routes (with safe houses along the way) which resulted in an estimated 100,000 slaves fleeing to freedom.
President Abraham Lincoln would finally make escape routes unnecessary by signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, as tens of thousands of former slaves joined the Union forces during the U.S. Civil War.
In the years following, the infamous "whites only" Jim Crow laws that filled African-American life in the post-war period resulted in a form of passive resistance -- as millions moved with the Great Migration north beginning in the early 20th century. In the North, at least, and elsewhere blacks finally found their voice on stage, in sports, in the recording industry, or in the political arena.
Black resistance was brought straight to the forefront in sport stars like Jesse Owens (who brought even the Nazi regime down a notch with his stunning triumph during the 1936 Olympics).
During their medal ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City on October 16, 1968, two African-American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, each raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the US national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".
Throughout the antebellum South, spirituals became a vital form of folksong among enslaved people. Some were also used as a form of coded communication to plan escape from slavery. As abolitionist Harriet Tubman guided Black people to freedom along the Underground Railroad, she sang certain spirituals to signal it was time for escape. Among Tubman’s favorites was reportedly “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
In pop culture, singer Billie Holiday kept the black struggle in the national spotlight with her best-selling hit, Strange Fruit ("Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood at the root.")
The civil rights movement was a nonviolent social and political movement and campaign from 1954 to 1968 in the United States to abolish legalized institutional racial segregation, discrimination, and disenfranchisement throughout the United States.
Under the strong leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., the battle for equal rights extended to not only blacks but for other minorities and the white working poor.
By the 1960's resistance in the form of the Black Panthers was in counterpoint to the Civil Rights Movement which espoused more peaceful means to the same end.
As the last traces of Jim Crow were disappearing, the Civil Rights Movement also gave a push and driving force to inclusion of blacks in the political process that ultimately resulted in the election of the first Black President of the Free World (The United States of America) in 2008.
On January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris made history being sworn in as the first African American/South Asian Woman to become Vice President of The United States of America.
On January 2023, Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries made history as the 1st Black party leader in Congress for the House of Representatives.
On January 18, 2023, history was made when Democratic Governor Wes Moore officially assumed office as Maryland’s first Black chief executive during a ceremony as the nation’s third Black governor and the only one currently serving.
Today, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement together with championing critical race theory/ AMERICAN HISTORY in public schools continues the long and deep legacy of African-American resistance that is ongoing.
WE ARE A RESILIENT PEOPLE WHO ARE EQUAL TO ALL OF MANKIND! WE MUST NEVER FORGET THE STRUGGLES AND SACRIFICES THAT WERE MADE AND CONTINUE TODAY. WE WILL NEVER GO BACK AS GOD TAKES US FORWARD
Black Lives Matter carries on the legacy of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement