Our main focus throughout AFAM 240 was addressing the modern civil rights movement. When we first started studying the modern civil rights movement, I didn’t have much prior knowledge but as a child I have been drilled that racism is an evil thing and Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are the greatest African America heroes to ever live. While this is generally true there happens to be much more to the story, and surprise, surprise my opinion did change and I might have actually learned something, or in short became more aware and educated on the movement as a result of these two classes. I find that I often surprise myself by getting offensive when I hear a racial comment or witness racial injustice due to becoming much more sensitive and aware of it. Before these classes I never paid much attention, and thought racism was a thing of the past. However racism can still be seen all over our nation today.
The modern civil rights movement is America’s single largest and most important movement that has changed our world and still does today. I believe Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote while being held in a jail cell in Birmingham, summarizes the goal of civil rights activists. He wrote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I believe this quote is one of the most powerful throughout the movement, and a guideline for future generations.
In our nations recent history racial injustice took place and still does today in the devastated New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Jerry Ward, a professor and a poet wrote his survival experience in a book called The Katrina Papers. Ward was arrested and placed in the New Orleans Parish Prison and describes the outrageous racial injustice that took place during his short stay. He said, “The experiences were adorned with fears, the shock of verbal abuse, disgust, shame, sympathy for prisoners who suffered greater agony then I. The experiences resonated the Arab slave caravans over the hot sand and the European slave ships cutting the cold water of the Atlantic.” Jerry ward was thrown into a jail cell with 60 other men, ment to hold thirty. They had no working showers or toilets, they were beaton by the police and did not recieve medical attention. Drugs were almost encourage and ran rampat, while the police watched and withheld their rights. This is just one account there are many describing police abuse, racial profiling, housing discrimination, along with other civil liberties violations. Stories like this shame America, how can our country move forward if we still cannot move on from something that was changed at the end of the civil war. The modern civil rights movement can explain the way things are today as well. For example take a local example such as the city of Rochester, statistics say that only 9% of African American males will graduate high