From not being allowed drinking out of water fountains to where to sit on the bus, were some of the burdens for African Americans during the early fight for equality; but African Americans were being faced with another obstacle. "Slavery ended a long time ago, but the institution of chattel slavery and the ideology of racial subordination that accompanied it have cast a long shadow." (Glenn C. Loury, Race, Incarceration, and American Values) What we are seeing now is a continuation of mass incarceration as another form of slavery. African Americans are twice as likely as whites to be arrested for the same crimes. It is important for the students to realize that equality was the problem, but without the assistance of Black leaders, like WEB Dubois, Malcolm X, Medger Evers, who sacrificed their lives for the struggle, the student can use public transportation without having the fear of being arrested for where they sit. In contrast to the 1950's the youth were not killing each other, but trying to avoid being killed by lynching mobs. DuBois, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1896, and other NAACP members like Ida B. Wells, organized a movement denouncing lynching and mob violence against blacks. The anti-lynching movement was another civil rights movement to eradicate the practice of lynching. After the lynching of her three friends, Ida condemned the lynching in two newspapers owned by her, Free Speech and Headlight. African-American women helped in the formation of the movement
and the movement was successful largely because of their involvement. The movement was composed mainly of African Americans who tried to persuade politicians to put an end to the practice, but after the failure of this strategy, they pushed for anti-lynching legislation. Du Bois carried his message to the political arena when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1951 on the American Labor Party's ticket. Throughout the 1950s, Du Bois' concerns became increasingly international, and he traveled and lectured on a number of issues including disarmament and the future of Africa. "May 17, 1954 marks a defining moment in the history of the United States. On that day, the Supreme Court declared the doctrine of "separate but equal" unconstitutional and handed NAACP the most celebrated victory in its storied history. DuBois founded The Crisis Magazine, and it is published quarterly to bring awareness to civil rights, history, politics, and culture and seeks to educate and challenge its readers about the issues that continue to plague African Americans and other communities of color. The students will peruse the old and new Crisis Magazines to compare, analyze and interpret information about how the African American people were in crisis, and if they continue to be in crisis.
I concur that the Civil Rights movement was very successful throughout the 1960's. The efforts and lives of African Americans and White Americans were always challenged in the movement for equality, but major changes took place in our society; like drugs and increase in crime. But in the 1990's it was "the age of drive-by shootings, drug deals gone bad, crack cocaine, and gangsta rap" as mentioned in Loury's book, Race, Incarceration, and American values. Between 1960-1990 the annual number of murders in New Haven rose from 6 to 31, the number of rapes from 4 to 168, the number of robberies from 16 to 1,784, all this while the city's population declined by 14 percent."
Several people had been killed throughout the process to gain equality in our communities and schools. Living in peace and harmony had been achieved through major supreme court decisions by giving African Americans more power and rights. African Americans now have more of a chance of changing and leading America in unity. African American people had been set free from the social restraints and had the chance to make a difference in their lives. But the attack on race has moved from the "colored water fountain and the back of the bus to the profiling moment and the prison cell". There are more than two million people imprisoned in the United States according to Jones, Mauer, and Alexander, "Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling," which is the highest rate of incarceration in the world. This book focuses on with the massive incarceration in communities of color. If current trends continue, one of every three black males and one of every six Latino males born today can expect to do time in prison. The alarming facts are "African-Americans are stopped, ticketed, searched and/or arrested by the police at far higher rates than whites, and many of them are law-abiding citizens. Relative to their rates of arrest and participation in crime, African-Americans are represented within U.S. jails and prisons at unreasonably high rates. Indeed, within a decade of Warren McCleskey, an African-American man who was sentenced to death in 1978 for killing a white police officer during the robbery of a Georgia furniture store, the number of minority citizens in prison exceeded the total number of persons incarcerated in the U.S. in the year preceding the decision." Loury agrees that the American criminal justice has become crueler and less caring than it has been at any other time in our modern history, and so does the dozen of men tell their accounts in, 12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today, Edited by Gregory S. Parks and Matthew W. Hughey. In this book, 12 Angry Men, a dozen men expressed their feelings about racial profiling which is still routinely done to African-American males. The writer gives a variety of accounts on how the men were stopped-and-frisked, and unlawfully detained just because of the color of their skin. Looking through the lens of these twelve angry men and empathizing with the pain that they had to endure like embarrassment and fear, their anger is understandable and justifiable.
In 2004, in Louisiana Supreme Court, A judge exhibited racist behavior by dressing up at a Halloween party as an inmate with wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs, a black afro wig, and blackface makeup. His behavior was determined that that the portrayal of "African-Americans in a racially stereotypical manner . . . perpetuated the notion of African-Americans as both inferior and as criminals," and "called into question . . . his ability to be fair and impartial toward African-Americans who appear before his court as defendants in criminal proceedings." This judge was suspended and later placed back on the bench in spite of his deplorable behavior. But in Georgia, McCleskey appealed his conviction and sentence. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia McCleskey v. Kemp, was a United States Supreme Court case, in which the death penalty sentencing of Warren McCleskey for armed robbery and murder was upheld. The Court said the "racially disproportionate impact" in Georgia death penalty indicated by a comprehensive scientific study was not enough to overturn the guilty verdict without showing a "racially discriminatory purpose."
He relied on the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment and the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of Equal Protection to argue that the death penalty in Georgia was administered in a racially discriminatory -- and therefore unconstitutional--manner. "
Today, the population that the NAACP serves is very urban and underserved, so there are a lot of social needs like, housing, benefits food stamps, and healthcare. James Rawlings, the president of the local NAACP, is very passionate about keeping African American culture and traditions alive for generations to come. As a youth, he lived in a city where the "establishment" didn't really allow African-Americans to go into non-minority communities, and he recognizes the needs of the New Haven community at large. Following a passion he still holds today and under his leadership for the past eight years, many programs and initiatives have been established. Rawlings and the NAACP formed the branch's first health committee and created a report on health disparities that helped establish the state's Commission on Health Equity. New Haven Register reported that one of Rawlings' favorite branch achievements is the health care career fairs that expose middle and high school students to a world of health care careers other than being a doctor or a nurse. In addition to a mortgage program that has turned 15 renters into homeowners, other developments were established like an annual scholarship program, a $7.5 million community investment program, and a fund for entrepreneurs, an economic summit, an "Urban Apartheid" report that used data to show racial inequities in several areas, the college branches and mobilizing youth for marches. The Urban Apartheid data revealed many challenges minorities face and which focuses on challenges in education, economic equity, healthy neighborhoods, and civic engagement around New Haven. Some of disturbing issues are the same struggles the NAACP have been addressing for the last 200 years." This report also reveals that the minorities are branded as a permanent under-class with very little opportunities of advancement to the upper class. The New Haven Independent Newspaper reported that Rawlings stated "the underclass is mostly non-white and concentrated in poor urban neighborhoods. For children growing up in such situations, "knowing where they're born, we know they have no future." Also, according to the New Haven Independent Newspaper:
- Black New Haveners lag 40 points behind white peers on reading tests, have half the average income of white families, and are concentrated together in struggling neighborhoods.
- In New Haven, 66 percent of white students are reading at goal level by third grade, versus 26 percent of black students.
- Ninety-eight percent of families with incomes of over $50,000 have access to the internet, versus 78 percent of families below that income level, in greater New Haven.
- Twelve percent of minorities say they have trouble paying their rent or mortgage, versus just 4 percent of non-minorities in the greater New Haven metropolitan area.
- Median income for black families in New Haven County has dropped $9,000 since 2008, compared to a drop of less than $3,000 for white families, who have an average income that's nearly twice as high as black families.
- Black people have less access to transportation, and thus have less access to jobs and longer commutes when they do have jobs.
An emphasis needs to be placed on the importance of equal access to a good education to find a gateway out of poverty and hopelessness. W.E.B. Dubois penned, "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." While discussing post-secondary plans with my students, a remark was made, "Why reach for the stars, when I see footprints on the moon!" His comment was very enlightened, knowing that he is a student who falls below the poverty level, and receives free reduced lunch because of his family income.
The educational and social issues are just as challenging today as yesterday, but our school system is faced with different social-ills than in the past. There is a crisis in New Haven where students are faced with mourning the loss of their classmates and love ones. The students are connected to the community through their neighborhood environment or family involvement. When there is a "shooting" in the area, school safety and welfare becomes a major concern. New Haven has had nine shooting victims in six separate incidents from May 10 to May 19, 2014. Although the NAACP has a lot to boost about, the need is greater in the inner city, which is plague with a rash of gun violence. There is a lack of "GOD fearing youths" in the New Haven community, with no value of life, no empathy and no conscious about doing wrong. This is evident by the senseless killings, which leaves the community in constant fear of an on-going retaliation among the neighborhood rifts, and family and friends. Some of the students are lacking home training in civil disobedience and the importance of citizenship, and the good deeds of students are not often celebrated. Never before has such a demand been placed on schools, even schools that are lacking financially. The students' basic needs outside of school aren't being met; which have lead to retention. How do instructional leaders change dysfunctional families, increase parental involvement, or make schools safe from gangs and violence? Students are experiencing life tragedies and are forced to face real world issues before they complete high school. Many lack the necessities of life like: food, shelter and clothing. Schools must increasingly serve as safe havens for students, many whom come from dysfunctional families and neighborhoods. Even today, the work of Brown is continue to be addressed, and over 200 school desegregation cases remain open on federal court dockets. Recent Supreme Court decisions have made it harder to achieve and maintain school desegregation. As a result of these developments and other factors, public school children are more racially isolated now than at any point in the past four decades. This regression makes it even more critical to continue defending the principles articulated in Brown and leading the ongoing struggle to provide an equal opportunity to learn for children in every one of our nation's classrooms. In 2008, when President Obama was Senator, he made a speech in Philadelphia, "segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education – and the inferior education they provided, then and now; helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students."