***This was written on January 17, 2011***
“He who doesn’t learn from his past is doomed to repeat it.” –George Santayana
“He who doesn’t know his past doesn’t have a future.”
Once upon a time, there lived children who couldn’t attend nice schools. It wasn’t because they couldn’t afford it or because they were stupid; the nice schools were for the White students which Black students were prohibited from attending. One day, the law permitted nine Black students in Little Rock, Arkansas to attend an all-White school. Greeted by angry and violent mobs, facing threats every day, and dealing with many forms of abuse, these students, the Little Rock 9, made history by integrating a school.
Once upon a time, a 14-year-old young man from Chicago traveled to Money, Mississippi to visit his relatives. While in the general store with his cousin, he whistled at a White woman. The woman’s husband and a friend of his murdered the young man. They lynched him, shot him, beat him, and drowned him. There was never any justice brought to this murder. The mother of the boy declared she’d have an open casket funeral, allowing the world to see what was done to her son, Emmitt Till.
Once upon a time, a Black woman leaves work and rides the bus home. A White man, soon after, demands her seat. After she refuses, she is taken away to jail. This courageous woman, Rosa Parks, later stated that she was tired of the way things were and demanded a change.
Once upon a time, a young Black African was kidnapped from his homeland and taken to be a slave in the United States of America. He remembered what freedom was like, and endeavored to have freedom many times after that. The slave, Kunta Kinte, ran until bounty hunters cut his foot off to keep him from running.
Once upon a time, a group of men burned the houses and churches of many Black Americans. Riding on horses, the Ku Klux Klan became one of the most notorious groups in the USA, and still lives today.
Once upon a time, a group of college students demonstrated a nonviolence act by sitting at segregated lunch counters in cafes.
Once upon a time, a secret passage called the Underground Railroad helped lead slaves to freedom.
Once upon a time, Blacks were chased by wild dogs released by the police, and sprayed with violent water hoses.
Once upon a time, the best job Blacks received were those working as servants in rich houses which belonged to White people.
Once upon a time, Blacks went jail for being seen walking down the street.
Once upon a time, there were racially segregated bathrooms, water fountains, and restaurants.
Once upon a time, Blacks had to sit in the back of a train.
Once upon a time, Blacks had to travel with their freedom papers.
Once upon a time, Blacks were seen as country bammers or hoods and pimps on TV and in movies.
Once upon a time, Blacks were beaten for trying to taste freedom.
Once upon a time, Blacks were sold from their families.
Once upon a time, Blacks performed to segregated White audiences.
Once upon a time, Blacks weren’t allowed to read or write.
Once upon a time, Blacks were lynched.
Once upon a time, Blacks and Whites could not be friends.
Once upon a time, Blacks fought in wars only to come home and receive discrimination.
Once upon a time, Blacks could not vote even after the amendment had been passed.
Once upon a time, Blacks were labeled as “monkeys” and “niggers.”
Once upon a time, a six-year0old boy and his brother went to the mall with their aunt. The boys met a White girl, who was also 6, and her younger brother. The four children played for a while and had fun. Moments later, the six-year-old boy suggested that the group of kids partake in a fun activity. The White boy looked at the six-year-old boy, Benjamin Isaiah Black, and replied, “No, you’re Black,” and walked away.
We as a nation must never forget what was. We must take time to remember our history. Our future determines what we do now; what we do now is reluctant to our past. Therefore, may we never forget how things used to be. Let us always remember that history, and may we always praise God for how far we’ve come since then. Let us use it as a motivational tool so that we can continue to fight for change and move as far away from these times as possible.
(c) January 2011, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.