January 19, 2015
As a result of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, decades of slavery was abolished in all Confederate States. In 1865 the 13th Amendment was adopted abolishing slavery in all states. Policies were then written and implemented by the recently formed and empowered anti-slavery Republican party ensuring the God-given rights and freedoms to the Negro. (see ) The path to pure liberation and equality for all Americans began its march.
After the Civil War, Congress adopted the 14th Amendment securing equal protection to all citizens. Towards the end of the Republican run Reconstruction Era, southern Democrats regained power in their state legislatures. Racially discrimination laws against Blacks were implemented in these state, known as Jim Crow laws, touting the phrase “separate but equal” to bypass the 14th Amendment. If they could not enslave the Negros with chains, they would enslave them with regulations.
With full support of blacks, the 1912 election, which brought the first southern president since the Civil War, deemed promising for minorities. Democrat Woodrow Wilson vowed equality, rights and compassion. What he delivered instead was federal workplace and military segregation, a rise in southern power, and a national suppression of minority rights. Wilson actively campaigned for black votes promising the rights due to them. Once in office, he not only reneged on his pledges, he allowed and pushed for policies doing the complete opposite. Jim Crow laws were now being implemented at a national level. Federal black workers all throughout the South were dismissed and replaced with white employees while Wilson turned a blind eye. Decades of advancement for the Negro was wiped out in just a few short years. The South was on the rise again. The battle for freedom was not over. It was just getting started. (see )
A hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks were having to fight for their liberty once again. Tensions from race relations were at an all-time high. Two leaders rose to oppose the inequality and discrimination. Both were sons of preachers but as young adults each questioned their family’s religion and entertained other options. Malcolm, while in prison, converted to the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Michael returned to his Christian foundation. Malcolm professed violence, division, and separate nations for the races. Michael preached for peace, unity, and coexistence. By the 1950’s Malcolm was a minister in the Nation of Islam Temple and Michael was a preacher in the Baptist Church. Both changed their names to support their beliefs. Malcolm Little, renouncing his “slave” name, replaced Little with “X” in honor of the “unknown name of his African ancestors.” Michael King Jr., following his father’s lead, changed his name to Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of the German church reformer.
Malcolm was greatly influenced by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, winning over thousands of people to his idea of a bloody revolution. With Jesus Christ as his spiritual leader, Martin met with and was also greatly influenced by Gandhi. It was Gandhi’s example of nonviolence that affected Martin’s approach to the cause. Each of these men played a role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s but with different results. One method ended the same way it began, violently. The other method led to change. One leader is mentioned in history. The other leader made history.
As with Woodrow Wilson, fellow southern Democrat Lyndon Johnson realized that the Civil Rights Movement would empower a people that he believed were inferior. Since he could no longer control blacks as slaves to a plantation owner, he’d control them instead as slaves to a government. He had to find a way to restrain the Negro or they would destroy him and his party. As Senate Majority Leader during the Eisenhower administration, Johnson, along with the majority of the Democratic Party, fought the Republican president’s Civil Rights Acts. Johnson refused to make the Negro his equal, blocking every civil rights bill he could, only allowing a watered down Civil Rights Act, the first since Reconstruction, to be passed in 1957 with another in 1960. As President he recognized a political advantage in supporting Civil Rights Acts. Signing the bills as a Democrat allowed his party to add this accomplishment to their resume, ignoring their role in suppressing the exact same legislation that Republicans had supported for decades.
However, there were risks in passing such laws. Johnson needed to do something to make sure the Negros did not get too powerful. “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.” With that Johnson declared a War on Poverty and developed multiple domestic programs referred to as the “Great Society.” Johnson proudly proclaimed, “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” Like the slave owners, Johnson gave Negros food, housing, and clothing and only required a vote for the Democrat Party in return. He succeeded in promoting and causing the breakdown of the black family, forcing unwed mothers to find financial support in the government, taking responsibility and purpose away from black males. To fill that void, many young black men turned to drugs, violence and gangs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X did not fight for equal rights so over 34% of black babies could be aborted, becoming the leading cause of black deaths. They did not go to jail so the number of black babies born out of wedlock would go from less than 30% before the “Great Society” to over 70% after. They did not give their lives so that 93% of black homicides could be caused by other young black men. A fact that is completely ignored even today by some of the same Civil Rights leaders that stood with Martin and Malcolm 50 years ago.
The Civil Rights Acts removed the shackles of discrimination from the wrists of Negros, but Johnson replaced them with a yolk of dependency around their necks. The Democratic Party undoubtedly reveals this when someone of color has the audacity to endorse the Republican Party. They are attacked and verbally beaten, called stupid, ignorant, and an Uncle Tom because they dared to run off the government plantation. As in Roots, Democrats have whipped the Black voter into submission until he believes his name is Toby. They support the freedom of blacks to vote, but only if it is a vote for them.
The beast of racial tensions is once again rearing its ugly head. Protests were sparked by the recent deaths of two black men at the hands of white police officers. Protesters took to the streets to express their frustration. While many are following Martin Luther King Jr.’s example, others have decided Malcolm X’s violent model is more effective. Unfortunately some used the occasions to loot, cause destruction and viciously attack innocent business owners and civilians. Many even called for the death of cops all over the country. One individual answered the challenge, executing two New York officers in their squad car. US Attorney General Eric Holder interjected himself in the civilian death cases calling for additional autopsies and federal investigations even though grand juries cleared the officers of wrongdoing. He completely ignored the illegal activity of the black suspects and automatically judged the white cops guilty because of the color of their skin. Americans hoped that the first black president and the first black Attorney General would have brought Martin Luther King Jr’s dream to life.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Instead race relations in America over the past 6 years have regressed to 1960 levels. Judgements in the media and the administration seem to be simply black and white, ignoring facts as well as people’s integrity.
Liberty, we must follow Christ’s teachings of love for our neighbor and learn from the examples of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. The world is on fire. America has its political and racial divisions which have turned violent. Radical Islam is purposely causing chaos, believing it hastens the 12th Imam who will end the struggle between good and evil. Christians and Jews throughout the Middle East and now Europe are being targeted for persecution and death.
Last week 40 leaders from all over the world converged in Paris to march in support of the recent massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office. (see ) These leaders, even those specifically asked not to come, such as Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, realized the importance of showing support and unity in face of the despicable, cowardly terrorist acts by the Islamic extremists. It was a peaceful, non-violent demonstration to send a message to the terrorists that they will not be intimidated.
Noticeably absent from the powerful march in Paris was America. After attending a meeting right along the march route, Eric Holder decided to leave Paris rather than participate with America’s allies. While the rest of the world followed Martin Luther King Jr.’s example, showing love, peace and compassion to our neighbors while uniting and fighting for what is right and true, America turned its back in silence. While Holder can’t get involved fast enough when race can be exploited, he ran from an opportunity to display true character by standing up against violence.
Today we remember and honor the Christ-centered message of Martin Luther King Jr. May we continue to strive to unite as a country and bring his dream to reality.
“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
That’s my 2 cents.
FREE AT LAST?