Black History Month

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Joelle Anselmo, Story Editor

@janselmocourant

Every February, Black History Month is celebrated to commemorate the African Americans who helped transform the world into a more equal and fair place for everyone to live.

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Martin Luther King Jr. struck the hearts of many people in America and continues to do so today. He led the Civil Rights Movement through persuasive speech and a non-violent policy. Photo contributed by the Unbounded Spirit.

I created this blog to honor the people that had the courage to demand their liberties even if consequences were fatal. They did it for the people that died as a result of a cruel world, they did it for themselves and they did it for their sons and daughters who could hopefully grow up in a place where they don’t have to constantly be afraid. Today, racial discrimination is far from over. My goal is to educate and to inform whoever is reading this, and to remember to always fight for what you believe in.

To start off the month, I’d like to talk about Martin Luther King Jr. one of the many African-Americans who was jailed and abused for speaking up against the extreme violence and discrimination going on in America. He promoted non-violence and racial equality. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, where men and women boycotted the public transportation system in hopes of getting rid of segregation in public places like buses and bathrooms. He also wrote the famous, “I have a Dream” Speech, which continues to strike sympathetic hearts in modern days. He was the founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization dedicated to stopping racial segregation and inequality. He published a “Letter to Birmingham Jail,” which he wrote from inside a jail cell (I highly suggest reading). King was viciously assassinated in 1968 on his hotel balcony by James Earl Ray This man is one of the most famous members of the Civil Rights Movement, but the transformation to a just society was not because of just one man.

Jesse Jackson, who was a friend of King’s, also lived during the Civil Rights Movement and ran for president in 1984 and 1988. King gave his a lead role in the SCLC and eventually he headed Operation Breadbasket, designed to encourage and force black employment. Later, Jackson created Operation PUSH in hopes of getting politicians to improve economic conditions for African Americans. 

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Jesse Jackson was a close friend of MLK’s and fought to make sure African-Americans had a voice in politics. He worked to improve their lives financially and politically. Photo contributed by Wikipedia.

This operation soon combined to form the Rainbow Coalition, centering around ensuring that all minority groups have a voice in politics on a national level. Sadly, Jesse was also the last person to ever speak to King before he was murdered. Overall, Jackson was an amazing activist who helped improve the conditions of black lives all around America and even internationally.

Lastly in this post I will talk about Malcolm X. This man is an incredibly controversial guy, viewed by King as a little too violent and racist, and viewed by others as an influencer that dutifully and justifiably described the horrible actions of whites during the Civil Rights Movement.

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Malcolm X preached the opposite of MLK, yet was just as powerful in the community. Here he is giving a speech during the Civil Rights Movement. Photo contributed by Encyclopedia Britannica.

His father was killed when he was just a boy and shortly after his mom was placed in a mental hospital. He grew up understanding the severity of discrimination and how it affected the African-American community everyday. At age 20, he was put in jail for larceny and breaking and entering, where he changed his name for Malcolm Little to Malcolm X (he chose X because the white slave master typically never even knew their slaves’ names, instead calling them X). He wanted segregation, later coined Pan-Africanism, and obviously opposed the Civil Rights Movement. He was also a member of the Muslim community and embraced the Nation of Islam. He traveled around the world promoting his ideas of how to solve racial inequality, even going on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

 

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