Black History Essays Celebrate Progress

 

Racism in America: The Past 70 Years

By David Hatami

    “I think there is just one kind of folks. Folks.” This sentence, quoted from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, illustrates the true, benign nature of mankind, in contrast to the corrupt racism and prejudice that has plagued the United States, as well as humanity, for centuries. Racism is not instinctual to mankind, but is taught. The founding fathers of this nation created the United States on the basis that all men are created equal. Despite this, racism has diseased the United States ever since. The past 70 years of American history has brought about brave men and women who stood for change, and along with them, came change. Racial relations in America have improved significantly in the last 70 years, but not as much as they should have.

On August 28, 1963, nearly 53 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. made his historic “I Have a Dream” speech atop the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington DC. During this moment, King made his vision clear to the American people; a vision where people would be treated based off the content of their character and the good in their hearts, rather than the color of their skin. The Civil Rights Movement swept across the nation nearly 100 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, demanding equal rights for all, regardless of race. At this time, people were segregated from public services and areas, such as bathrooms, water fountains, restaurants, buses, and even schools due to skin color. People in the south looked down upon colored people, and believed they were inferior merely due their skin color. The extremely prejudiced society of the Southern US led to freedom struggles, where African-Americans would boycott bus services and participate in peace rallies, which sadly, often ended in violence. The struggles paid off, however, when in 1968, the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Johnson, banning discrimination in the south. Despite this improvement in racial relations, the Civil Rights Act was still followed by acts of racism, including the assassination of black leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. In the years that followed, while blacks across the US were still underprivileged in many ways, racial relations continued to improve. In 1982, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” became the best-selling album of all time, and in 1990, Douglas Wilder became the first African American governor of a state. Not only this, but in 2001, Colin Powell was appointed as the first African American Secretary of State. These accomplishments show that blacks were becoming more accepted into society, and could perform more than on par with whites. Perhaps the biggest improvement in racial relations, however, was the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, symbolizing a new era of racial progress and acceptance in America.

In recent years, the progress of racial relations has been edgy. While the US has successfully banned the flying of the Confederate flag at federal sites, the tension between blacks and the police has been on the rise, with the unfair deaths of many African Americans being due to the racism and prejudice of many cops. Incidents like these have caused support for the black communities in the US, especially over social media with #BlackLivesMatter trending on almost every popular website. Despite the improvements, blacks around America are still looked down upon and aren’t yet treated truly equal to whites. This proves why racial relations have improved significantly in the last 70 years, but not as much as they should have. As Rosa Parks once said, “racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.”

 

 

Black History Month Essay

By Alyssa Hudson

 

Racial relations have improved in the sense simple rights are no longer denied to those who are not white. Laws finally see the white man and the black man as just a man. In the eyes of the law there is no color that determines a man’s rights. But in the eyes of a court they see color, they see just another black man selling dope. IN the eyes of the law enforcers it’s just another black teen causing trouble. For they think they spared us by stopping “a future threat to the community”. While they see a young thug as they pull the trigger, he’s thinking “Momma told me I should watch what I wear”. While they see another kid from the hood as they drag him down, he’s thinking “If only I was a white man.” In the eyes of a southerner, it’s their heritage and remembrance. While those of color ache with the pain of ancestors who were enslaved, as they lay eyes on the Confederate flag.

Has there been change, yes. But we yearn for more than just equality in the eyes of the law. We want, we deserve to be seen without prejudice and stereotypes in mind. We should not have to tell young black boys to watch how they act, or how they dress, or how they walk and talk. Because if they do not monitor their clothes and their actions they could end up famous like Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner. Movements like #BlackLIvesMatter are necessary to shed light on hushed news. To empower those who have forgotten their worth and beauty because they are underrepresented in the media. To say #OscarsSoWHite is not to say we are overreacting but instead that we are recognizing that after years of whitewashed media we would like to be appreciated and represented equally. To say #HandsUpDontShoot is not to bash police but to take precautionary measures to not lose the lives of more brothers and sisters.

While we have come a long way, we can go further in efforts to really and truly make all races equal, in everyone’s eyes.

 

Love Conquers Hate

By Emily Dwyer

     “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” This hope was expressed by a man who fought a battle for justice, with love as his only weapon. Martin Luther King Jr. led the world in important steps down the road to equality for all races. Although we are not cured of racial discrimination, we have come a lot closer to the dream that this man had. Before 1964, segregation was still in place, and today we can hold hands with every woman, man, and child no matter race or religion. We can attend the same churches, schools, and stores. We can proudly say that in 2008 America had its first African American president. In the past, racial relations were so bad that most never would have seen that happening in just 70 years. However, there were a few who saw this vision. This hope. This justice. Those people were the ones who led us to where we are today. In the past 70 years in America, people like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Maya Angelou are famous for leading a change for racial equality. When things seemed bleak, and like no change was possible, they held on to the dream they envisioned. America would not be what it is today had they not. They fought hate with love and war with peace. Rosa Parks didn’t yell or fight but rather sat calmly and refused to give up her seat. That one small act led to huge social change. Her one refusal showed the world that one person can make a difference. During her time, black people were alienated, degraded, and seen as though they weren’t an equal part of society. Today, we can proudly say that these conditions have improved drastically. We still have further to go on the road to justice and equality, and it will take more people who can see a dream, a light, and a vison that love can cast out hate, that peace can defeat war, and that hope will help one to persevere through the darkest times. “Hope is not a dream but a way of making dreams become reality.” (L.J. Suenens)

 

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